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Saturday, 14 May 2022

An old favourite

Today's ride saw us head out to that old favourite, Craigie's Farm. In recent years it's become a regular season opener. We've experienced a variety of weather over the years; everything from an unexpectedly dry and mild day to freezing cold and wet. In 2020, four brave souls set out in torrential rain, but abandoned the ride just beyond Cramond. Last September, on only our second ride after Covid restrictions, we had a pleasant autumnal day. But today we were blessed with good weather - dry, sunny spells and the temperature rose as the day progressed. Given the weather, a turn-out of 25 riders was lower than expected. But it was good to see some new faces mixed in with the regulars.

Following the customary briefing, we mounted up and rolled away. We had barely left the Meadows when the backmarker and another rider stopped to help someone with a mechanical issue. It turned out that rider (although they had ridden with us before) was not part of today's ride. After ensuring the rider could sort their problem, the two of them set off to catch the main group. The usual route via the Leamington Bridge and Telfer Subway took us to Murieston Crescent. As a result of a football match at Tynecastle there was a strong police presence in the area. At the temporary one-way section, we all got off and wheeled our bikes along the pavement. We were surprised to see cars beside us driving the wrong way down the one-way section; and were even more surprised to see the police officers turn a blind eye to it. We remounted and rode to Murrayfield via Russell Road. Round Carrick Knowe golf course, along Traquair Park East, through the quiet back streets of Corstorphine, through The Gyle Park and we were at the busy Glasgow Road. With everyone safely over the crossing, North Gyle Terrace took us to another busy road to cross - Maybury Road. It took a few minutes before everyone was safely across and riding along the much quieter Turnhouse Road. In the West Craigs area there is a large housing development being built. This meant we had to negotiate a long stretch of road controlled by temporary traffic lights. Despite all of us getting through on green, the lights were green for the other traffic before we had time to get through. Quiet roads and a track through the woods at Cammo saw us arrive for a brief stop at the Grotto Bridge over the River Almond. We rode through the rather eerie and deserted army housing estate at Craigiehall. The cycle path beside the busy A90, along the road from Burnshot Bridge and we were soon turning right for the steep climb up to Craigie's Farm and our lunch stop. The majority sat outside in the warm sunshine for lunch. Some with food bought from the cafe, others with their picnics.

Leaving the farm behind, we sped down the steep hill and were soon on the cycle path beside the A90 heading back towards Edinburgh. The tried and tested route took us back to the Meadows via Cramond Brig, Barnton, Silverknowes, Craigleith, the Roseburn Path, Russell Road, the Telfer Subway and the Leamington Bridge. The leader then declared the ride over.

Thanks to Alan for leading us to a familiar place by a slightly different route, and thanks to Yaz for back marking. The weather was kind to us, we had a few new riders and everyone seemed to enjoy the ride. What more can we ask for?

Leader: Alan

Report: Glenn

Photos: Glenn

Monday, 9 May 2022

May ride this coming Saturday

 We've got our May ride coming up on Saturday (14th). I hope you'll be able to join us.


Under Alan's leadership, we will be heading out to western parts of the city, on a mix of bike paths and quiet roads. Most of the route will be on good surfaces, but there will be one stretch that will be rough and possibly muddy. There will be one steep climb (just before lunch) and a number of more moderate hills. Apart from that, I don't foresee any difficulties.

The total distance will be a jot over 20 miles, with more than half the mileage being in the morning, followed by a fairly short run home in the afternoon.


We will stop for a late-ish lunch at Craigie's Farm. The cafe there offers a range of sandwiches, salads and a soup of the day, which you can eat either indoors or on their terrace. There is also a separate picnic area which is suitable for those of us who prefer to bring a packed lunch.


Our meeting time and place are the same as always: 10.30, at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk. I can't say for sure what time the ride will finish, but we will aim to get back to the Meadows around the middle of the afternoon.

Future rides

It was unfortunate that we had to cancel our first Extra ride of the season, which had been planned for last week. This was owing to a number of factors. We are planning to re-schedule this for a Saturday in June, and I will post details here as soon as the date has been fixed.

I think that covers everything. There is no need to contact us in advance. If you fancy joining us on Saturday, just turn up.

Monday, 25 April 2022

First 20-Milers Extra for 2022 - POSTPONED

UPDATE: The ride planned for 7 May has now been postponed. I will post further information when a new date for the ride has been decided. This does not affect our normal 20-mile ride for May, which will take place as planned on the 14th.

 I am pleased to say that we are about to resume our Extra rides. The first of these rides for 2022 will be on Saturday 7 May. I don't have any details yet of the route, destination or meeting time and place, so for now just note the date. I'll post further information early next week.

These Extra rides are longer than our usual 20-mile runs. We start earlier, finish later and cycle a little faster - although still at a "social" pace (not so fast that you can't keep up a conversation). If you normally finish our rides with energy to spare, you should have no difficulty with these Extras. But if you haven't cycled for a while or feel that you are below average fitness, you may prefer to give them a miss, and to stick with our usual "second Saturday" runs instead.

As the name suggests, the Extra rides are in addition to our standard 20-mile runs, the next of which will take place as usual on 14 May.

Saturday, 9 April 2022

Three bridges in the distance

 Today's ride saw us head to South Queensferry with a minor detour to visit the Forth bridges viewpoint. After a cool start the temperature rose gradually, such that on the homeward stretch, riders were shedding their jackets. But there was an occurrence at the lunch stop that made us shiver. It's finally beginning to feel as if spring and warmer weather is just around the corner. We also had sunshine for most of the ride and not a drop of rain.

An impressive turnout of 33 riders gathered at the start. There was a good mix of regulars, new faces and riders we hadn't seen in quite a while. Following the leader's route and safety briefing, the large single group headed towards the Leamington Bridge via familiar paths and roads. Pausing at times to regroup, we left the Telfer Subway, Dalry Road and Russell Road behind and headed up the Telford Path. The sunshine had brought out a large number of cyclists, most of who were faster than our long, meandering group. Many didn't have bells which made getting through more difficult. They would get past two or three of our group, little realising that a further 30 would have to be passed before a clear path lie ahead. At Craigleith we took the left fork onto the Blackhall Path. Through Silverknowes, and we were on the quiet roads of leafy Barnton. A solo cyclist caught up with the back of the group on the narrow path that links Barnton Avenue and Barnton Avenue West. Accepting he was going nowhere fast, he took his place at the back of the group and smiled as he said, "it's like the M6 here", before adding, "not that I've ever cycled on a motorway". Emerging onto Barnton Avenue West, he wished us an enjoyable ride and headed off. We took the obligatory pause on the bridge at Cramond Brig before heading up the path beside the A90. We regrouped at the Chapel Gate entrance to the Dalmeny Estate, before crossing the road and heading to Dalmeny village. We didn't take the usual path that leads to the Co-op in South Queensferry. Instead we cut through the new housing estate and rode onwards to arrive at the Forth bridges viewpoint. 

On such a bright clear day, the three bridges looked stunning. After a few minutes to enjoy the view and take photos, the leader rounded everyone up and we rode the short distance into South Queensferry. Just before the high street, the leader turned left down a narrow lane that looked as if it led only to a car park. This wasn't the case. A path took us to the harbour, along another quiet lane and up a short steep hill to emerge in the high street. Another of those unexpected, but delightful discoveries. Whether eating their own picnics or food bought in nearby cafes, most of the group sat at the top of the steps enjoying a great view of the Forth Rail Bridge. It was during lunch that we witnessed something that made us all shiver. A solitary swimmer tip-toed into the cold waters of the Forth for a brief swim, wearing nothing more than swimming trunks. Wrapped in a robe, he climbed the steps and we gave him a well-deserved round of applause which he appreciated. Having finished their lunch quickly, one of our group opted to fill their time with a 4K run! Someone quipped that if they had also gone for a swim, today's ride would have counted as a triathlon for them.

Lunch over, we mounted up and made our way over the bumpy cobbles through the town's one-way system. Just past Hawes Pier, we took the track that led us towards the Dalmeny Estate. It was beginning to feel pleasantly warm as we rode through the estate on a mixture of smooth tarmac, rough paths and a couple of steep hills to emerge at Cramond Brig. There were a few confused faces as we rode across the bridge without stopping. From there, we headed back via the route we had taken out earlier. Once back at the Meadows, the leader declared the ride officially over.

Thanks to Yaz for leading a ride that was enjoyed by all. It was good to have the bonus of visiting the Forth bridges viewpoint, and that little cut-through by the harbour was a delightful discovery. Thanks to Alison for back marking.

Leader: Yaz

Report: Glenn

Photos: Glenn

Tuesday, 5 April 2022

April ride this coming Saturday

 We've got our April ride coming up on Saturday. Yaz will be our leader and guide. As I write this, the forecast is for a sunny day with only a slight breeze, so we can look forward to a good day out.

Our destination will be South Queensferry. But, as a variation on the normal route, we will head first to the viewing platform at the south end of the road bridge. From here there are stunning views of the three bridges over the Forth (and a good place to take photos). We will then proceed to the old part of the town, where there are picnic spots and cafės for our lunch break (also toilets). The return leg will be via the scenic Dalmeny Estate.

The total distance will be about 22 miles. Most of the route will be on firm surfaces, although there will be a few rough patches in the afternoon, not to mention the notorious Queensferry cobbles. There will be some moderate hills, none of them particularly difficult.

The meeting time and place are as ever: the north end of Middle Meadow Walk at 10.30. Remember, there is no booking system for our rides, and no need to contact us in advance.

More rides

With summer on the doorstep, other local cycling groups will be organising rides in the weeks ahead. EasyCycle are running their short rides on the last Sunday of every month; Mellow Velo will be offering their programme of cycling weekends; and the usual evening rides will be starting up again soon. You can find details of all these events on my website: www.cycling-edinburgh.org.uk.

You might also like to know that Pedal on Parliament will take place on 23rd April. This mass bike ride usually attracts several thousand cyclists. It is a light-hearted family-friendly event, not a confrontational demo. More details on the above website.

Sunday, 13 March 2022

A Roslin ramble

Today's ride saw a welcome return to our traditional format: a full-day run of twenty or so miles with a proper lunch stop. This was after two months in which, because of Covid restrictions, we limited each ride to half a day with no cafe or pub stop. It was gratifying to see 24 riders, including many of our regulars, turn up for today's event.

The ride was led by Iain Pearce, making his debut as a 20-Milers ride leader. Our destination was Roslin, but because the direct route to that village is only about 16 miles round trip, Iain decided to add a few interesting wiggles to make up the length. It's always good when we can find unfamiliar bike routes, and today's ride succeeded in doing just that.

After the usual briefing and safety advice, we headed down Middle Meadow Walk and across Bruntsfield Links before tackling the stiff climb up to Hermitage Drive. A bit more climbing took us up to northern flank of the Braid Hills, where we paused for a few moments to take in the view over the city. The weather at this point was uncertain, with a weak sun struggling to emerge from the clouds, and while it was not actually raining, the air had a definite dampness to it.

Almost immediately after reaching Alnwickhill Road, we cut through a diminutive gap between some houses to emerge on a path running alongside Liberton Park and what used to be the Alnwickhill Reservoir, now a housing development. This was the first of several parts of today's route which were new to me, and I suspect to many others in the group.

Back doubles

After crossing Liberton Gardens, we continued on a wiggly route through the back doubles of Gracemount and Gilmerton Dykes – again, unfamiliar territory for many of us - before reaching the City Bypass at Gilmerton Station Road. From here, the route followed the more familiar Roslin bike path, which uses the old railway line through Loanhead and across the Bilston Glen viaduct. We reached Roslin a few minutes after noon. About a third of the group found some nice spots for a picnic, with most of the others heading for Dolly's Tea Shop.

For the return leg, we retraced our steps as far as Gilmerton Station Road. The bike path here is well-surfaced and almost completely flat, and with the wind behind us it made a pleasant start to the afternoon. After crossing back over the bypass, we stayed on the path for another four miles or so, heading towards Shawfair (lots of new housing) and Newton Village. Until a few years ago, this path was little more than a muddy track alongside a field, but it has been upgraded into a wide, well-surfaced path with good lighting. As a bonus, this part of our route was gently downhill the whole way.

Leaving the path, we followed the road through Danderhall, and then through Little France Park and Craigmillar Castle Park. At this point, we were hit by two minor inconveniences: a sudden heavy rain shower, and a mechanical problem involving a recalcitrant chain. Fortunately, the rain stopped almost as quickly as it started. The mechanical problem took a little longer to sort out, but before too long we were on our way again.

The final leg took us across Peffermill Road, through the Peffermill Industrial Estate and on to the Innocent Path. After heading up the Innocent Tunnel, we made our way back to the Meadows. At 21 miles, it was a very pleasant run, with several innovative sections of route, a good lunch stop and a successful debut for the leader.

Leader: Iain

Report: Mike

Photos: Glenn


Monday, 7 March 2022

Full-day ride this coming Saturday

 We've got our March ride coming up on Saturday (12th). I'm pleased to say that, with the Covid situation improving, we can now resume our usual full-day rides. I hope you'll be able to join us.

The route

Iain (Pearce) will be leading this ride. Iain has come up with an attractive (and unusual) route to Roslin. The outward leg, which will mainly be on quiet roads, will involve a certain amount of climbing, especially near the start. But we will be rewarded with some nice downhill runs
in the afternoon, almost entirely on well-surfaced bike paths. The total distance will be about 21 miles.

Lunch arrangements

Despite the easing of of Covid restrictions, we would still prefer not to take a large party into a cafe or pub. We will therefore ask the group to divide between the two lunch venues in Roslin. Please bear with us if you don't get your first choice of eating place.

Dolly's Tea Room offers a range of soup, sandwiches, toasties and panini, at reasonable prices. If you haven't visited Dolly's since before the pandemic, you will be agreeably surprised by the recent improvements in the service, food and decor there. The Original Rosslyn Inn also offers a good selection. It is somewhat more up-market (and more expensive) than the tea room, but might be a better choice if you want a more substantial cooked lunch.

A third option is to bring a packed lunch. There are some pleasant picnic spots near the chapel and castle. You can also pick up a take-away sandwich and hot drink from Dolly's.

Time and place

As always, we will set off at 10:30 from our usual spot at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk. We should get back to the Meadows around the middle of the afternoon.

And as always, the ride is open to all, and is free of charge. There's no need to let us know in advance that are coming. If you would like to join us, just turn up at the above time and place.

One last thing: Please do bring a spare inner tube if at all possible. It really makes a difference if you get hit by a puncture. If you don't know what size or type of tube is right for your bike, you local bike shop will be pleased to advise. And if your bike doesn't have quick-release hubs, please also bring whatever tools are needed to remove the wheel.