Friday, 25 December 2015
Our first stop was the Castle esplanade, where we enjoyed fine views to the north and south (a dusting of snow was visible on the Pentland summits). We then had a rapid descent of Ramsay Lane (very steep) to Market Street and Waverley Bridge. Next came a double traverse of Princes Street – westward as far as Castle Street, then back the other way to Waterloo Place. There were a few buses and taxis around, as well as a couple of council cleansing vehicles, but almost no other traffic.
In Regent Road, we paused to look at the Stones of Scotland Monument (a circle of 32 stones, one from each of Scotland's local authorities, commemorating the rebirth of the Scottish Parliament). Then came the hard work of the day: the ascent of Calton Hill. At the summit, we lingered to take in the panoramic view. This was our main refreshment stop, with mulled wine, home-made mince pies and chocolate truffles all in evidence.
We left the hill by way of the path-cum-steps that goes down to Greenside Church. We then weaved through the back doubles to St Marks Park and the Water of Leith, then headed west via King George Park, Canonmills, Stockbridge and Dean Village. After the recent rains, the Water of Leith was unusually fast, and the path was muddier than usual.
At Roseburn, several members of the party went their separate ways. The remnants of the company headed back to town via Haymarket Terrace, West Maitland Street and Rutland Square. By the time we reached the Usher Hall, only three riders remained, so we declared the ride officially over. Judging by the feedback along the way, it was another successful event.
Leader, report, photos and map trace: Mike
Monday, 21 December 2015
We've got our traditional Christmas morning ride this coming Friday (25th). You're very welcome to join us if you are free.
One of the advantages of cycling on Christmas Day is that the traffic is relatively light. We will take advantage of that to visit parts of the city centre where we might not otherwise cycle. I can't tell you our exact route just now, but it is likely to include the Castle, Princes Street, Calton Hill, and nearby districts. The total distance will be about ten miles.
Although we'll take the ride our usual relaxed pace, be warned that there will be a couple of steep climbs (including the aforementioned Calton Hill), a number of cobbled streets, and possibly one or two short flights of steps to negotiate.
Time and place
We'll leave at 10.30, from our usual meeting spot at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk. We'll return to the Meadows by 13.00 at the latest. Obviously, there will be no lunch stop, and nowhere to pick up a coffee en route, so you might want to bring a snack to keep the hunger pangs away.
Like all our runs, this one is "just turn up" - no need to book in advance. It's open to all, so feel free to bring your pals or family members.
For those who have better things to do on Christmas morning, our first ride in 2016 will be on 9th January.
Saturday, 12 December 2015
Thanks to Mike for planning a ride that took such a long and meandering route to get us to our lunch stop. Yes, we could have got there much quicker in less miles - but that wasn't the point. A short run back to the finish was also appreciated on a cold and grey December afternoon.
Map trace: Jim
Saturday, 14 November 2015
Thanks to Verity for leading us on an interesting ride. Cleverly mixed in with some very familiar sections were some less familiar and totally new ones.
Map trace: Jim
Saturday, 10 October 2015
Thanks to Jim for leading us on such a pleasant early autumn ride. The weather was typical of what could be expected at this time of year. Not overly warm, but still OK for picnicing. Our friends from Iceland seemed to have enjoyed the ride. Hopefully we showed them some areas that they would not have seen. The flypast by the Vulcan bomber was pure luck. But what a sight.
Map trace: Jim
Tuesday, 6 October 2015
For our ride this coming Saturday, Jim will be leading us on a tour of bike paths and quiet roads in the west of the city. We'll be taking in Dalmeny, South Queensferry, Kirkliston, Ratho Station, Gogar and Edinburgh Park. At 25 miles, the ride will be a little longer than usual, but there will be no particular difficulties: just a few hills, and some paths that might be rough in parts.
We'll take our lunch break in South Queensferry. There is no eating place there large enough to hold us all, so we'll spread out among the several cafés and pubs in the town. For those bringing their own food, there is a nice picnic spot overlooking the harbour.
We'll set out from our usual meeting place, at the top of Middle Meadow Walk, at 10.30.
Saturday, 3 October 2015
Thanks to Julia for devising a varied and interesting route to bring to a close the series of 20 Milers Extra rides for 2015. Roll on 2016. A great shame about the accident. But the fact that we were looking at nothing worse than minors cuts and bruises and a couple of shaken up riders, was a great relief.
Map trace: Jim
Saturday, 12 September 2015
Leader: Alan Orr
Map trace: David
Tuesday, 8 September 2015
We've got our September ride this coming Saturday (12th). We'll be heading into Midlothian. The route will be a straightforward one, but be warned that there will be a couple of long-ish stretches on busy main roads, as well as a few rough paths which might be muddy.
Our lunch stop will be in Roslin. There is a pub and a café there, and also a pleasant spot for a picnic.
We'll meet as usual at the top of Middle Meadow Walk, in time to leave by 10.30. There's no need to contact us in advance; if you can make it, just turn up.
Sunday, 6 September 2015
Team: Christina, Jim, Dawn, Peter, Jenny, Logan, Michael and Glenn
Photos: Michael and Glenn
Saturday, 22 August 2015
Monday, 17 August 2015
We've got the third of our Extra rides this coming Saturday (22nd August). Logan will be leading us on a foray into East Lothian. The lunch stop will be the Merryhatton Garden Centre near East Fortune. There is a spacious cafeteria there offering a good choice of snacks and light meals. As always, you can bring your own food for a picnic if you prefer.
For this ride, there will be a choice of meeting points:
- Either: 09.45, at the side entrance to Scottish Widows in Holyrood Park Road. This is across the road from the Commonwealth Pool car park. Note that other cycling groups often meet at the front of the Commonwealth Pool, so don't join the wrong group by mistake.
- Or: 10.30, in front of the Harbour Café, at Fisherrow Harbour in Musselburgh.
Logan has worked out a very pleasant route for this outing. We'll be heading out along the coast, and returning by a more inland route. There will be a few moderate hills, but nothing too demanding. But there will also be several stretches along main roads, which might be busy with traffic.
The total distance will be about 36 miles for those starting from Musselburgh, or 50 miles for the Edinbugh contingent.
Remember, our Extra rides are faster than our usual second-Saturday runs, with fewer stops. Please bear that in mind when deciding if this ride will be suitable for you.
There's no need to let anyone know if you are planning to come. Just turn up at your preferred meeting point.
Saturday, 8 August 2015
From there we took a less familiar route through Musselburgh to join the Grove near Tesco for our run towards Whitecraig. At Whitecraig we joined the busy A6094 to reach the outskirts of Dalkeith. More twiddling through unfamiliar back streets brought us to the lunchtime pub stop. A small number of the group availed themselves of the pub's facilities, whilst the rest of us headed to the park opposite Morrisons supermarket to enjoy a picnic in the sunshine. This finally felt what summer should be like. Suitably replenished, we regrouped and headed off towards more new cycle paths through a new housing estate. The paths were great, but a difficult-to-negotiate gate delayed us as 25 riders had to get through it. Not really what you'd expect on NCN 1. All through, and the unfamiliar paths led us back to Dalkeith High School and the familiar path towards Whitecraig. Yet another detour through an housing estate cut off a stretch of busy road and we were soon back on the path to Musselburgh. Instead of following it back into town, we turned off for Musselburgh railway station. From there we made our way through Newcriaghall and Brunstane to join the Innocent Railway to return to our starting point.
Tuesday, 4 August 2015
Just a quick reminder of this Saturday's ride. Under the guidance of Michael (Law), we will be heading out to Dalkeith. The route is a straightforward one: paths and quiet roads, but with a couple of stretches on busy roads; moderate hills, no killers. Total distance: about 22 miles.
There will be a couple of options for lunch. Some of us will have a picnic in Kings Park near the town centre. If you don't want to bring your own food, you can pick up a sandwich across the street in Morrisons. Those who prefer a hot meal will make for a nearby pub.
As always, we'll muster at the top of Middle Meadow Walk in time to leave at 10.30.
Saturday, 18 July 2015
About 18 of us set off from the Craigleith path junction. For the first few miles, the route was so familiar that our bikes could probably have found their way on their own: along NCN 1 to Cramond Brig, then via the Carlowrie Road to the Kirkliston railway path. On leaving Kirkliston, we paused at the leisure centre, which provided a handy comfort stop. Then came a short stretch on the main road, followed by a pleasant mile and a half on the back road to Niddry Castle.
We then joined the canal towpath for about three miles, apparently heading back to town, which seemed counter-intuitive. But this was the part of the canal that makes a big loop around three sides of Broxburn, so in fact we were heading more south than east. After leaving the towpath at Bridge 23 (no other place names shown on the map), we enjoyed a delightful stretch along a country lane which took us through the Strathbock and Kirkhill woods, and so through the north gate of Almondell Country Park.
The country park is an excellent place for a bike ride. It has good paths and traffic-free roads, with dramatic views of the River Almond flowing through a deep wooded gorge. It was also our planned luch stop. But just as we arrived at the picnic tables - can you guess? - the sky darkened and some splodges of rain appeared. About a dozen of us headed for the shelter of the visitor centre. The friendly attendant allowed us to invade the centre's diminutive conservatory, where we somehow managed to squeeze around three tiny tables (with apologies to the family that was trying to enjoy their own quiet lunch there). However, a few moments later the rain stopped and the sky cleared, so some of us decamped to the centre's walled garden.
For the afternoon leg, we picked up NCN 75, which skirts East Calder and heads south east to Kirknewton and Long Dalmahoy. The wind was behind us now, and much of the route was slightly downhill, so we were making very good time. We paused for a few moments at a junction which is known in 20-Milers folklore as Yaz's Corner (after a memorable puncture there a year or so ago; I'll say no more). At the point where NCN 75 turns right for a long climb to Balerno, our leader wisely took us straight ahead on a gentler gradient towards the Curriehill road.
We ended the ride by pedalling through the Riccarton campus, Edinburgh Park, the Gyle and Corstorphine. By the time we reached Roseburn, several riders had peeled off. The rest of us took the Roseburn Path back to our starting point. At 30 miles, it was a very enjoyable ride.
Saturday, 11 July 2015
Thursday, 2 July 2015
Once again we have two rides this month. Please treat this post as your official reminder for both of them.
Normal monthly ride: 11th July
|Photo: Michael Law|
Our route will be just under 20 miles. Most of it will be on well-surfaced paths and quiet roads, although there will be a couple of rough stretches that might be muddy. Be warned that there will be a fair amount of climbing, especially in the morning, with one particularly steep hill just before lunch. But we'll be rewarded with a lot of nice free-wheeling in the afternoon.
There is no café or pub at the reservoir, so you are advised to bring a picnic. There is a mobile snack bar there, but this offers only a limited range of food (and sometimes has a long queue), so it might be sensible not to rely on it.
There is a single toilet at the reservoir. We will have an additional comfort stop about 40 minutes before lunch.
Depending on numbers and progress, we might stop for a coffee near the end of the ride.
Time and place
As usual, we'll leave at 10.30 from our standard meeting place at the top of Middle Meadow Walk.
We'll go ahead with the picnic even if the day is chilly, or if there is a light drizzle or an occasional shower. But if the weather is really bad, we'll do a shorter ride, probably with a café stop at lunch time.
20-Milers Extra: 18th July
Our second ride this month will be on the following Saturday. This will be one of our "Extra" rides. At about 30 miles, it will be somewhat longer and faster than our usual runs - but still at a sociable pace.
For this ride we'll be heading out to West Lothian. The route will be mainly on quiet roads, but with a couple of short stretches on main roads which might be busy with traffic. Thre will also be about three miles on the canal towpath, and this might be a little rough in parts. There will be a few moderate hills, but no killers this time.
For our lunch stop, we'll aim for Almondell Country Park. There are toilets there, and you can buy hot drinks at the visitor centre, but there is no food service, so you should again bring your own food for a picnic. If the weather is particularly bad, we'll divert to a nearby garden centre where there is a café.
Time and place
The ride will start at our alternative meeting point: the three-way path junction at Craigleith. If you are not sure where that is, see this blog post.
Remember, this ride will start half an hour earlier than usual, at 10.00. It will probably finish around 16.00, depending on our progress.
As with all our rides, there is no need to tell us in advance whether or not you are coming. Just turn up on the day.
Friday, 19 June 2015
Our route was an interesting one. We first headed south west through Marchmont, Morningside and Craiglockhart, to reach the canal at Allan Park. On passing Harrison Park, Logan once again kindly tolerated us invading his house for liquid refreshments – very welcome. We then resumed the canal path to Fountainbridge.
The next stage took us through the city centre. We weaved past the EICC and Usher Hall, then down the Grassmarket and Cowgate to Holyrood. We paused at the Burns Monument, and again at the Stones of Scotland, where there is a fine view of Salisbury Crags and Arthur's Seat. Next came the only hard work of the evening: an ascent of Calton Hill. We lingered at the top for a while, enjoying the atmosphere and the panoramic views (see photo).
After freewheeling off the hill, we headed north along Easter Road. At Thorntreeside, we turned onto the Restalrig Path, which took us quickly to Leith Links and the Shore. For the final leg, we followed the Water of Leith path to Goldenacre, where some of the party peeled off. The rest of us continued to Fiveways, Craigleith and Roseburn.
On arriving back at Fountainbridge a little after 10 pm, Jim declared the ride officially finished. It was another excellent run. Those who were still present went off in various directions; some made a desultory search for a pub; and Logan went home to wash up the beer glasses.
Report and photos: Mike
Tuesday, 16 June 2015
A reminder of our evening ride this coming Friday (19th June). It will be about 15 to 20 miles, taken at our usual sociable pace. Friday is very close to the summer solstice, so we should be in daylight most of the way, but we are likely to finish after dark, so be sure to bring lights.
We'll meet at our usual spot at the top of Middle Meadow Walk, ready to set off at 6.30 pm. I'm not sure what time we'll finish. It might be as late as 10.30, although I expect some of us will peel off earlier than that.
We might have a short coffee stop during the evening, but we are not planning to stop for a meal break. You might like to grab a bite to eat before we start, or bring a snack to keep you going along the way.
As always, everyone is welcome. There's no need to book in advance; just turn up on the night.
Our next normal monthly ride will be on Saturday 11th July; I'll post more details of that nearer the time.
Saturday, 13 June 2015
Monday, 8 June 2015
Our lunch stop will be at Port Seton. There is no café there big enough to hold us all, so those who want a hot snack should be prepared to split up among the available eating places. Alternatively, please consider bringing a picnic, as this will help avoid a long wait for your lunch. There are some particularly nice picnic spots overlooking the harbour.
As always, we'll leave from the top of Middle Meadow Walk at 10.30. Remember, all our rides are free, and there is no need to book in advance.
Saturday, 23 May 2015
The Extra rides usually have a lower turnout than the main 20 milers. The lovely weather obviously helped as an impressive 30 riders assembled at the Criagleith meeting point. It was great to see some newcomers in amongst the familiar faces. Lets hope they enjoyed the ride and will return. Opting to keep in one group, we headed off along the familiar NCN 1 route through Barnton before making our customary stop on the Old Toll Bridge at Cramond. We then pressed on to South Queensferry for a comfort stop at the Co-op. From there we followed the shore and made our way into the Hopetoun Estate. The views of the existing road and rail bridges, the new Forth crossing and the Forth itself were stunning bathed in bright sunlight with a backdrop of blue sky. Today these views were in vivid colour. So often they seem to be available only in monochrome. This led us on to our lunch stop at the impressive Blackness Castle. There was a minor diversion on the way to lunch when two of the group nipped into a deserted children's playpark to have a shot on a rocking horse they remembered from their childhoods.
We spread out across a number of picnic tables beside the castle. How nice to enjoy a picnic lunch in the warm sunshine for a change. Our departure was delayed whilst one of the rider's needed to have their brakes repaired. Some wag suggeted they wouldn't need their brakes for a while as the first section after lunch was uphill. This was certainly the case as two quite stiff climbs greeted us as we hit the road again. We made our way to Philipstoun where we climbed up to join the Union Canal. We followed the towpath for four miles, before leaving the canal at Niddrie Castle. Quiet roads, paths and a stretch of main road took us to Kirkliston from where we returned to the Old Toll Bridge at Cramond. A brief stop to admire the River Almond in the sunlight, before retracing our steps back to the start point at Criagleith.
Monday, 18 May 2015
Route and destination
For this week's ride, we will heading out along the John Muir Way. We'll take in South Queensferry, the Hopetoun Estate and Blackness. The return leg will consist of a longish stretch on the canal towpath, then back to town via Winchburgh and Kirkliston.
The total distance will be about 35 miles. A lot of the route will be on paths, and these may be rough and muddy in places. There will also be a couple of stretches on busy main roads. There will be one killer hill, just after lunch.
For lunch, we will have a picnic at Blackness Castle. You can buy drinks and confectionery at the castle shop, but there are no cafés or pubs in the vicinity, so be sure to bring your own food.
If the day is slightly wet or showery, we'll go ahead as planned. But if the weather is really foul, we'll do a different, shorter run, with a café for lunch.
Meeting time and place
For this ride, we'll meet at our alternative meeting point: the junction of the Roseburn, Telford and Blackhall paths in Craigleith. If you're not sure where that is, see this blog post for detailed directions.
We'll start at 10 am, which is half an hour earlier than usual. The ride will probably end a little later than usual - about 4 pm or so, depending on progress.
So, to summarise the important points:
- Meet at Craigleith, not the Meadows.
- Meet at 10 am, not 10.30.
- Bring a picnic.
Sunday, 17 May 2015
The second annual 20 Milers weekend away ride saw 13 riders gather on a cool, damp and breezy morning that felt more like March than May. Someone once said May is the best month of the year if you're after good weather in Scotland. There was a theory to test. The leader handed out encapsulated (oh ye of little faith) route cards, gave the customary briefing and we were off.
On reaching the busy A72 into Peebles the leader gave the group a choice of two routes into town. After such attrition, it wasn't surprising that ten opted for the more direct route along the main road whilst only three agreed to stick to the planned route. A trouble free run saw the group of ten quickly get into town. The intrpid three now headed on the more scenic, but longer route. Only at this point did the leader admit he wasn't totally sure of the route! A promising start led through some lovely countryside. But it all went wrong when they arrived at the main road they had been trying to avoid. Damn! If it wasn't for tiredness, the fact that time was getting on and the allure of the pub there may have been some retracing of steps and serious studying of maps. Instead it was a case of, "stuff it! We'll take the main road." The group met up again in the pub for a well-deserved post-ride pint before heading off to find their accomodation. Was there ever a harder earned beer? Following the luxury of a shower and change of clothes, we all met up for a lovely pub meal to round off what many were claiming to be their toughest day on a bike ever! We had ridden 43 miles, but for most of us it felt like 20 more.
So there ended the second annual 20 Milers weekend away ride. A thoroughly enjoyable trip that had been made more challenging by the weather conditions. For those that completed the first day or [especially for those] that completed both, give yourself a big pat on the back for completing ninety-five challenging miles. Where to next year?
Wednesday, 13 May 2015
Saturday, 9 May 2015
Today's ride took us through fourteen Edinburgh parks and the touch of culture was provided by visits to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and the Craigentinny Marbles.
A chilly, damp start to the day resulted in a [relatively] low turnout of 22 riders. A very rare occurence for recent rides; this meant we only needed one group instead of two. We left the Meadows and threaded our way through the backstreets of Morningside and on through Braidburn Valley Park. We carried on through Colinton Mains Park, Spylaw Park and bypassed Colinton village. We rode through the curved Colinton Tunnel and onto the Water of Leith Path. Having crossed the busy Slateford Road, we paused briefly at the Water of Leith Visitor Centre before pressing on past Murrayfield Stadium and through Roseburn Park. The Water of Leith Path and Belford Road took us to our first culture stop and lunch at the Gallery of modern Art. Many of the group were more interested in lunch than the art. It was even suggested that one of the sculptures would be ideal for locking bikes to! You can take a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. We partook in a very pleasant lunch from the cafe. By now the weather had improved. Sitting outside, the sun came out and for a while it felt quite warm.
Sufficiently fed and watered, we made our way through Ravelston Dykes before taking the Roseburn, Telford and Ferry Road Paths to head towards The Shore at Leith. Just before we left the path, we stopped to admire a cormorant sitting on a log in the middle of the Water of Leith.
The paths across Leith Links, through Lochend and Lochend Park took us to Craigentinny. Tucked away down Craigentinny Crescent, an unassuming suburban street is a most impressive mausoleum - the Craigentinny Marbles. David, ably assisted by Jim gave us an interesting talk about it. It is well worth a visit if you're ever in the area.
We made our way via Mountcastle into Figgate Park where we rode round the pond. After donning waterproofs due to a heavy shower, we left the park and headed through Duddingston before returning to the Meadows via the Innocent Railway Path. This final stretch was where we had our only puncture of the day.
Monday, 4 May 2015
Our lunch break will be at the Gallery of Modern Art in Belford Road (see photo). If the weather is good, we'll sit outside, so bring food for a picnic lunch. Alternatively, you can get a snack at the café.
The arrangements are the same as ever. We'll meet at the top of Middle Meadow Walk, and set out at 10.30.
Saturday, 11 April 2015
Following a week of weather that made us all think that spring had finally arrived; today we ended up with another day that suggested otherwise. A good turnout of 32 riders gathered at the start. It was good to see several new faces in amongst them. On her first ride as leader, Verity turned tradition on its head by letting the second group head off first. With Julia leading the second group with typical Teutonic efficiency; this reversal of roles was a good idea and avoided the potential embarassment that would have resulted had the second group caught up with the first.
With the strong wind behind us, we zoomed out of town via the Innocent Railway towards Brunstane. A short stretch on the very busy Milton Road was followed by a more relaxed ride to the edge of Portobello via the cycle path and bridge over Sir Harry Lauder Road. Following a ride along the busy Portobello High Street, we made our way onto the promenade where the wind whipped up a sand storm. It now began to rain and the colour of the sky [in the direction we were heading] looked as if it would be more substantial than a passing shower. With waterproofs on we pressed on along the prom towards Leith. We took the cycle path through Restalrig, snaked around the back streets of Bonnington and came out on the Warriston Path. We went up the Goldenacre Path to Five Ways where we turned back and headed in the direction we had come from. This led to a little confusion in the group with questions of, "isn't this the direction we just came from?" To add to the confusion, the two groups met at one point travelling in opposite directions. We cut through and crossed the very busy Commercial Street and made our way to Ocean Terminal for lunch. Given the cold, wind and hail shower it was little surprise that no one wanted to picnic outside.
We had a couple of mechanical issues, one puncture and a bag that needed extracting from a rear wheel. We also endured cold, wind, rain, hail showers and a sand storm. One of the group blamed the weather on the geostrophic wind. No idea what it means, but it sounds impressive. Let's hope May's ride is blessed with better weather.
Monday, 6 April 2015
For this month's ride, Verity and Julia will be taking us on a circuit of bike paths in the Portobello / Leith area. Our lunch stop will be the Ocean Terminal, where there are some nice picnic tables overlooking the harbour. For those who prefer not to bring their own food, there are several cafés and sandwich shops in the shopping centre where you can pick up a snack.
We'll meet at our habitual starting point, at the top of Middle Meadow Walk, ready to leave by 10.30.
The ride will end mid-afternoon - perhaps between 3 and 4 pm.
Saturday, 14 March 2015
Who would have thought that a dry but chilly and overcast March day would have resulted in an all-time record turnout for a 20 Milers ride? The previous record turnout of 38 in June 2013 was beaten as 43 turned up for today's ride. Other Edinburgh cycle groups must be wondering how we do it. There's no secret formula. We simply arrange interesting rides with good company and make sure everyone feels welcome. The unsung heros of the group are those that put in the effort behind the scenes planning and recce-ing the routes and deciding on suitable lunch stops to ensure everything runs smoothly on the day.
You could see the leader, Michael's jaw drop as more and more riders arrived. We split into the customary two groups and headed down to cross the canal at the Leamington bridge, before carrying on down through the Telfer subway. Russell Road was closed to traffic for bridge repairs; but fortunately not to cyclists. We pressed on through Roseburn Park and past Murrayfield Stadium to join the Water of Leith path which we stayed on until Curriehill. The leading five of the second group missed the turning and ended up in Balerno, whilst the remainder of the group were paying attention and took the correct turning. A minor detour via the busy Lanark Road West got them back on the right route and we all headed into the back entrance of the Heriot Watt Riccarton campus for our lunch stop.
Considering the record turnout, the ride went smoothly. The only mechanical issue of the day was a thrown chain which was quickly fixed. Leading a large group is quite a challenge. So all credit to Michael on a job well done. I wonder how long until this record is broken?