Thursday 28 June 2012
20-Milers Evening Ride (27th June)
This Wednesday, we tried something new for our group: an evening ride. Devised and led by Andy Hunter, eight of us enjoyed a pleasant run to Portobello, returning by way of Holyrood Park. We set out at 7 pm, and as the summer solstice had only just passed, we were able to finish the ride comfortably before dark.
We started by heading down the Royal Mile to the Parliament, then along Abbeyhill and up Regent Terrace. From Regent Road, we climbed to the top of Calton Hill. On a good day, this has some of the finest views in the city, but this evening, it was grey and overcast, and even the Castle was hidden by cloud (as you can see in the photo).
We then enjoyed a dramatic descent to London Road, followed by a stretch through quiet back streets before emerging in the northern reaches of Easter Road. Here we joined the excellent bike path that goes through Quarryhole Park and on to Seafield. The section of this path east of Lochend has been greatly improved recently, and provides some superb traffic-free cycling. The only difficulty is the very narrow and often muddy descent from the end of the path down to Seafield Street.
On arriving at Portobello Promenade, Andy (who is a professional story teller) told us how the district got is name. (Short version: Robert Jenkins gets his ear cut off; Britain declares war on Spain; Britain captures Spanish town of Porto Bello on the Panama coast; much celebration back home; several places around the world are named or re-named in honour of the event; Edinburgh's seaside suburb is one of them.)
We left the prom by way of Bridge Street (passing Sir Harry Lauder's birth place), then via Fishwives Causeway, Mountcastle Drive and Abercorn Avenue, before entering the east end of Holyrood Park by Duke's Walk.
At this point, I was just reflecting on what a pleasant, gentle ride it had been, and how I would be home in a few minutes. But then we made a sharp left turn onto Queen's Drive. As we started the long, slow slog up to Dunsapie Loch and the back of Arthur's Seat, I could see the riders in front of me disappear into the clouds. After a lot of slow pedalling, we all made it to the top. Of course, we then had a lovely freewheel down the other side to the park gate.
We were back at the Meadows a little after 9 pm. The total distance was just over 12 miles. It was an excellent route, and, despite the cloud, the weather had stayed dry and reasonably warm. All in all, a very pleasant way of spending an evening.
Report by: Mike
Photo by: Andy