EDINBURGH 20-MILERS

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Saturday, 13 November 2021

Anything but dull

As a result of the Covid-induced lay-off, today's leader hadn't led a 20 Milers ride for two-and-a-half years. So an easy trouble-free ride to ease him back in would have been ideal. No chance! Today's ride to Inveresk had plenty of incidents to make it anything but dull. One rider was afflicted by two punctures, there were two pannier incidents and a medical emergency. Undoubtedly, the unseasonably mild weather helped, but a turnout of 27 riders was quite impressive for November. The day was reasonably mild, dry and sunny with hardly any wind - great cycling weather. At the customary briefing, the leader promised a ride to Inveresk with some familiar sections mixed in with some that would be new to almost everyone.

We left the Meadows and took the familiar route towards the Innocent Tunnel. But we swept past the tunnel entrance and into Holyrood Park. A glorious descent of Queens Drive, and we were soon leaving the park behind and heading through the quiet backstreets of Willowbrae. One of the many bumps in the area led to a rider having their pannier bounce off. A brief stop, the pannier was re-attached and they were rolling again. A short sharp climb of [the aptly named] Lilyhill Terrace soon had us nicely warmed up. A surprisingly easy crossing of Willowbrae Road and we were soon curving around Mountcastle Crescent. From there it was back onto Mountcastle Drive North, and we turned left at the lights towards Portobello along the segregated cycle lane. Somehow the whole group got through the next set of traffic lights before turning right into Stanley Street. The dreaded shout, "puncture" went up and the group came to a halt. Time ticked on, and despite a number of attempts using tyre levers, brute force and prayers the tyre could not be removed from the rim. Where was Alan Orr when we needed him? Recovering from injury is the answer. It looked as if the unfortunate rider's ride would end there. But no one is ever abandoned on our rides. They were directed to the bike shop in Portobello and the group continued past Portobello Golf Course. Over the bridge, through the backstreets of Joppa, along Milton Road and we were soon back on familiar territory. NCN 1 took us via Newcraighall to Musselburgh station where we joined the new cycle path to join the B6145. A few hundred yards and we turned right and headed down towards the Grove. From there we were soon at Craig House in Inveresk - our lunch stop.

There was a pleasant surprise during our lunch stop. The rider with the puncture had it fixed at the bike shop in Portobello, and had managed to catch up with the group and continue the ride. We headed into Inveresk, turning left into Wedderburn Court. It was merely a loop round that returned us to the main road via Wedderburn Terrace, but it was one of those places that no one had been before and there were some very impressive houses there. Onwards through the village and down past Mussleburgh Grammar School. There was a loud clang and someone shouted, "stop!" It turned out that the bottom had fallen out of a rider's pannier and the clang had been their D-lock hitting the road. The belongings were gathered up, transferred to a backpack and we were on our way again. A cut through beside Tesco, along Mall Avenue, over the main road bridge through Musselburgh, a right turn at the Brunton Hall, a few more twists and turns and we were at Fisherrow Harbour. One final less familiar detour via Newhailes Avenue and Newhailes Crescent and we were heading for the bottom of Milton Road where we joined the Brunstane Burn path. We had just joined the path when a very loud shout of "stop" was heard. We all stopped and waited. Stretched out along the path, Chinese whispers spread along the line and the message suggested there was some sort of kerfuffle. After a while of wondering what sort of kerfuffle had occured, the backmarker rode to the front to brief the leader. It appeared that an elderly couple had been out walking and the man had taken ill. The backmarker had phoned for an ambulance and Iona and Barbara had agreed to leave the ride and wait for the ambulance to arrive. Having done all we could, the group prepared to move off. At that point the rider who had suffered a puncture in the morning, realised they had another in the same tyre. But with discretion being the better part of valour, they decided a walk to the nearest bike shop made more sense than trying again to remove the tyre. This time they headed back towards Musselburgh. The remainder of the group headed back towards town via the Brunstane Burn path, NCN 1 and the Innocent Railway. Without further drama, we arrived at the Meadows where the leader declared a rather eventful ride over.

The weather had been kind to us, most had seen new places, there had been a few dramas along the way; but most importantly of all, everyone appeared to have enjoyed the ride and we all got home safely. Special thanks to Iona, Barbara and Mike for helping with the medical emergency.

Leader: Glenn

Report: Glenn

Photos: Glenn

Tuesday, 9 November 2021

November 20-Milers this coming Saturday

 

We've got our November ride coming up on Saturday (13th). I hope you will be able to join us.

For this ride, Glenn has devised an interesting route through Portobello and Musselburgh. Even if you know that area fairly well, parts of Glenn's route may well be new to you. They certainly were to me when we did a recce last week.

The total distance will be just under 20 miles, mostly on good surfaces. There will be a few moderate hills, as well as one particularly steep climb near the start.

Our lunch stop will be at the Craig House Hotel in Whitecraig. Their menu includes a range of burgers and some other light snacks and also a vegetarian soup of the day. There is a spacious eating area, as well as some outside tables for those who like to brave the environment.

As always, we'll meet at the top of Middle Meadow Walk in time for a 10:30 departure. You don't need to let us know in advance that you are  planning to come: just turn up on the day. The ride should end before dark, but you are stongly advised to bring lights in case we are delayed and to light your way home (don't forget to check that the batteries have plenty of juice).

One other point: as with all our rides, the above route and lunch venue should be regarded as provisional. The meeting time and place are written in stone, but the other details might change according to conditions on the day and other factors.

Christmas morning ride

Looking ahead, I'm pleased to announce that we will be resuming our popular Christmas morning rides this year, after last year's Covid-induced break. This will be a short, slow ride, taking advantage of the relatively light traffic in and around the city centre on that day. It will end at or near the Meadows, at 13:00 at the latest.  I'll post further details in due course. For now, just note the date (25 December).

Of course, the Christmas ride will be in addition to our normal "second Saturday" run in December, which will be on the 11th.

 

Saturday, 9 October 2021

"Why did it have to rain on my parade?"

 Having established herself as an integral member of the 20 Milers, today Yaz stepped up to lead her first ride. Her question, "why did it have to rain on my parade?" summed up the weather. It was dry when we started, but within minutes the rain began to fall. It was certainly heavier than the forecasted "light showers". Fortunately, the rain had almost stopped as we arrived in South Queensferry for lunch. The afternoon was just about dry, but we were all back home long before the sun made its first appearance of the day. The 21 riders that arrived at the start made this our highest turn out since our rides recommenced in August. It was a bit of a surprise, especially considering a far from promising weather forecast. Following an impressive maiden leader's speech from Yaz, we rolled away from the Meadows to Leamington Bridge via Toll Cross. Just beyond the bridge, we paused briefly whilst waterproofs were donned. In rain that was heavy enough to be unpleasant, we followed the well worn route to Dalry Road via Fountain Park and the Telfer Subway. Negotiating the roadworks and one way system at Murieston involved a short walk along the pavement. Back on the bikes, we climbed the zig-zags to join the Roseburn Path to Craigleith. The rain wasn't getting any heavier, but neither did it show any sign of easing. We took the Blackhall Path and made our way through Barnton to Cramond Brig. 

The leader held a brief conference with a couple of experienced leaders, and concluded that given the under-wheel conditions, it made sense to abandon the planned route through the Dalmeny Estate. It was an unfortunate, but necessary choice given the conditions. It would have been quite treacherous in places. After informing the group of the change, we headed off following the path alongside the A90 instead. As we headed towards the Chapel Gate entrance to the Dalmeny Estate, a rider fell. Fortunately, it happened at low speed and caused no damage or injury. They picked them self up, brushed themselves down and we were rolling again. Through Dalmeny village and along the path that emerged beside the Co-op and we were in South Queensferry. As we'd arrived at the opposite end of town due to the change of route, we had to make our way through the one way system to Hawes Pier for our lunch stop. Those that got themselves sorted quickly made it to the pub. Those that weren't so quick arrived to find there was no room left, and ended up eating alfresco on the sea front alongside the picnickers. It had just about stopped raining, but there was nowhere to shelter and riders were still wet from the earlier rain. As a result, several riders opted to abandon the ride and head home.

We regrouped after lunch, and with a depleted field, made our way back through town. It's great that the road is one way for motor vehicles [whilst being two way for cycles], but the narrow roads and concern that drivers don't realise this to be the case was a slight worry. The rain had stopped. Although it hadn't got any warmer and the sun hadn't appeared, wet gloves etc. were beginning to dry. Up the steep little hill to the Co-op and we were back on the path to Dalmeny village. Back alongside the A90 and we were soon taking a longer pause at Cramond Brig. As the group got moving again, a couple of riders were dawdling until the backmarker uttered the words, "come on. My tea's getting cold!" At the cycle and footpath link between Barnton Avenue West and Barnton Avenue we were held up by a car exiting the drive of one of the houses. Obviously they have every right to exit their drive (and did allow us to squeeze past); but meeting a car there was a big surprise, even to those that have used that path numerous times. From there we retraced the outward route from the morning. The closer we got to town, the more riders peeled off and headed home. Six of us made it back to the Meadows where the leader announced the ride officially over and heaved a sigh of relief.

Thanks to Yaz for doing such a good job of leading her first ride. The weather did her no favours, but deciding to scrap the route through the Dalmeny Estate was definitely right. Everyone seemed to enjoy the ride, despite the weather and thanked the leader. Thanks to Alan for back marking. A final word from the writer; Ken will be, and Logan would have been so proud of you. Well done! 


Leader: Yaz

Report: Glenn

Photos: Glenn

Sunday, 3 October 2021

October ride this coming Saturday

 We've got our next ride coming up on Saturday (9 October). I hope you will be able to join us.

For this ride, Yaz will be charge. She will be leading us on a scenic circuit via Cramond Brig and the Dalmeny Estate, returning by way of Dalmeny Village and NCN 1. The total distance will be about 22 miles. Most of the route will be on quiet roads and well-surfaced paths, but there will also be a couple of rough paths, as well as two places where we will need to dismount and push because of road works. There will be just a few hills, none of them particularly difficult.

Lunch arrangements

Our lunch stop will be in the shadow of the Forth Bridge, at Hawes. There are two sit-in restaurants there (the Hawes Inn and the Three Bridges), but because of Covid, they are both operating with restricted access. When we went there for a recce recently, people were queuing up to go in. To avoid a long wait, please consider bringing a packed lunch instead.

There is also a snack bar which does take-away sandwiches and hot drinks. There are seats overlooking the Forth where you can eat your lunch, and public toilets nearby.

Time and place

We will meet at our usual spot at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk, in time for a 10:30 departure. We will aim to be back at the Meadows around mid-afternoon. The ride is free, of course, and you are welcome to bring your friends. We don't operate a booking system, so just turn up on the day.

Saturday, 11 September 2021

Heading towards autumn

Today's ride had a feeling of autumn about it. No, the trees hadn't begun to change colour. There wasn't that autumnal nip in the air - the weather was nothing special; it was pleasant, not too hot or too cold, there was a short spell of light drizzle that came to nothing and it was overcast with a light wind. Wasps! It was the number of wasps affecting the outdoor diners at lunchtime. It was good to eat outdoors at Craigie Farm, but we were plagued with numerous annoying wasps. Sixteen riders made the start. We were given one of the most detailed briefings ever from the leader. It seemed as if every road we would travel on, was named and every turn described. All very commendable, but somewhat wasted as phrases like, "he lost me after the Leamington Bridge" were overheard.

Fully briefed we headed off to the Leamington Bridge via the usual Bruntsfield Links route. We left the canal and were soon on Dundee Street. Due to roadworks and a one way system, we deviated from our usual route to Murrayfield via the Telfer Subway. Instead we went down Henderson Terrace and along Gorgie Road before turning right down Mcleod Street to get to Russell Road. This detour was unfamiliar to many, but got us to where we needed to be. Past Murrayfield, through Carrick Knowe, the quiet backstreets of Broomhouse, Gyle Park and we emerged beside the busy Glasgow Road. All safely across and we were on the quiet Dechmont Road. We had to negotiate six steps, but were soon speeding past Craigmount School. The quiet Craigs Road took us to the busy Maybury Road. As there is no crossing and a very narrow central reservation this can be a difficult road to get a group safely across. But today the temporary traffic lights [that probably annoyed the drivers] made it a doddle to get across. We continued along Craigs Road with Edinburgh Airport to our left. This area is a huge building site with numerous houses due to be built. Temporary traffic lights delayed us slightly, but we were soon on peaceful country roads just a stone's throw from the airport. We turned off and a rough track through the woods took us down to the delightful Grotto Bridge which crosses the River Almond. After a brief stop to admire the view, we pressed on through the eerily deserted Craigiehall army housing estate. A cycle path beside the A90 took us to the Kirkliston road. A short stretch on this road and we were soon turning right for the steep climb to Craigie Farm, which would be our lunch stop.

Despite the wasps, everyone seemed to enjoy their lunch and fortunately no one got stung. For some unknown reason, lunch stops often seem to be followed by a steep climb. Today it was the opposite - a lovely steep descent. At the bottom of the hill we joined the cycle path beside the A90 and began our journey back towards Edinburgh. A familiar route via Cramond Brig, Barnton, Davidson's Mains, the Blackhall and Roseburn paths, the zig-zags, Russell Road and the Telfer Subway saw us back at the Meadows where the leader declared the ride over.

It may be only the second 20 Milers ride in fifteen months, but it's good to feel that we might just be heading in the direction of some sort of return to normality. Another good ride that seemed to be enjoyed by all. The weather was pleasant, if nothing special; but considerably warmer than in January when this route is usually ridden. Thanks to Alan for leading, finding a way around the roadworks and giving one of the most in depth briefings of all time. Thanks to Mike for back marking. Fingers crossed that this is the 20 Milers back in business.


Leader: Alan

Report: Glenn

Photos: Glenn 

Monday, 6 September 2021

Next ride: Saturday 11 September

 

It was a pleasure to see many familiar faces on our first post-lockdown ride last month. This was a limited ride with some Covid precautions still in place. In order to keep the numbers manageable, we decided not to publicise it widely. And we made a point of staying out of doors the whole time. Thank you all for your cooperation in that respect.

I am pleased to say that our September ride (details below) will be much more like a normal ride. We are not placing a firm limit on numbers, so feel free to invite your friends. If a large number turn up, we will split into two groups, with ten minutes or so between them. We still encourage you to bring a picnic lunch, but there will be a cafe option for those who prefer.

Details


The ride will take place next Saturday, 11 September. We will meet at our usual spot at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk, near the junction of Lauriston Place, in time for a 10.30 start.

For this ride, our leader, Alan, has plotted an interesting and unusual route through the west of the city. Most of the route is on well-surfaced paths and quiet roads, although there will also be one or two rough paths, as well as a couple of short stretches on main roads that might be busy with traffic. There will some gentle hills, and one fairly steep climb just before lunch. The total distance will be about 22 miles. Most of the mileage will be in the morning, with a fairly short run home in the afternoon.

Lunch stop

Our lunch stop will be at Craigie's Farm. The cafe there is now open again, but there have been some changes since our last visit. They now only do table service with a reduced menu, and there is a limit on the number of people sitting at each table. This means that the service is likely to be slower than before. For that reason, you may prefer to bring a packed lunch. There are picnic tables outside the cafe.

Covid precautions

Please keep in mind that the pandemic is not yet over. We will continue to maintain a measure of social distancing where possible, even though this is no longer a legal requirement (out of doors). And of course you should not join the ride if you or any members of your household have Covid symptoms, have recently received a positive result from a Covid test or have been told to self-isolate or go into quarantine.

I think that covers everything. I'll look forward to seeing as many of you as possible on Saturday.


Saturday, 14 August 2021

Back on the road again

After an hiatus of 16 months, it was fantastic to have the 20 Milers rolling again. To see familiar faces and be out riding in a group again was priceless. We headed to Dalkeith Country Park by a less familiar route, overcame a locked gate, and except for the briefest of showers, enjoyed reasonable weather. It felt like a 20 Milers ride should - a much-needed touch of normality after the last year-and-a-half.

All credit to Mike who had meticulously studied the ever changing Covid-19 regulations to see when it may be possible to resume our rides. Following a few false starts, we settled for August. On the assumption that we might get 30 riders, we had two leaders and two backmarkers lined up to deal with two groups. A pleasant day dawned; not too warm, slightly overcast, a light breeze and no rain in the forecast. So it was a bit of a surprise that only 15 riders turned up. Still, only those on the mailing list were invited and the ride wasn't publicised more widely. There were no new faces, but it was great to see familiar ones and catch up.

Following a briefing from the leader, which covered Covid-19 and road safety; for the first time in 16 months, we rolled away from our starting point as a group. The Innocent Railway is currently closed due to danger of rock falls. Yes, a large number of people are using it; but in the interests of everyone's safety we were not going to risk it. This resulted in us taking an interesting and unfamiliar detour via the Grange, Mayfield, Prestonfield and the Peffermill Industrial Estate to re-join the path at Duddingston Road West. As we were leaving the Meadows, we were hit with a brief shower of light rain. The leader stopped so riders could don waterproofs. A few minutes later, the rain was gone and there was no more for the rest of the ride. Back on the familiar route, we made our way to Musselburgh and onwards to Whitecraig. From there we made our way to Dalkeith via NCN 1. Heavy traffic on Dalkeith High Street briefly delayed our entry into Dalkeith Country Park. But once through the gates, we sped downhill to our lunch stop. On the recce a couple of weeks earlier, we had our picnic lunch on the grass beside the orangery. This area was now closed. A quick scout round and we found a grassy area across the road.

Picnic lunch over, we headed past the new Go Ape facility towards the east gate at Smeaton. We were soon brought to a halt by a locked gate across the road. Options were considered including lifting the bikes over; but a couple of heavy electric bikes in the group made that an unappealing option. The possibility of making our way through the cattle pens alongside the road was being explored when a cyclist approached from the opposite side of the gate. She explained she had ridden out that way earlier and with a deft move the gate was open. How had she done it? Although the chain was padlocked, she had noticed a carabiner link which released it easily. As they say, "it's easy when you know how". Well worth remembering when next confronted by a locked gate. We thanked the cyclist, made our way to the park exit and joined the busy A6094 for the short run into Whitecraig. From there, we retraced the morning's outward route. With the exception of a thrown chain (which was quickly sorted), the return leg was trouble-free. At the Meadows, the leader declared the ride over.

That was it, the first 20 Milers ride of 2021 was over. An enjoyable ride, bit of less familiar territory, reasonable weather, good lunch stop and a hint of excitement - what more could anyone ask for? And of course, the joy of being back riding socially in good company. Thanks to Mike for leading and Yaz for back marking. Already looking forward to September's ride. Perhaps we'll get a larger turnout.





Leader: Mike

Report: Glenn

Photos: Glenn