20th Anniversary Year

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Monday 30 April 2018

First 20-Milers Extra for 2018 - this coming Saturday

This coming Saturday (5th May) sees the first of our summer season of Extra rides. These rides are a little longer than our usual "second Saturday" outings, and go at a somewhat faster pace - but always with the same sociable and friendly atmosphere. If you find our normal rides well within your capabilities, you should enjoy this Extra. But anyone who hasn't done much cycling during the winter, or has doubts about their fitness level, might prefer to give this one a miss.

Meeting place and route

For Saturday's run, we will meet at the Sustrans marker at the Craigleith path junction. See here if you are not sure where that is. We will aim to leave promptly at 10.15.

We will head out along NCN1 to South Queensferry, then follow the John Muir Way through the Hopetoun Estate and along the coastal path to Blackness. This part of the route is particularly pleasant, with reasonably good path surfaces, excellent views and no bad hills.

But that will change after our lunch stop, with a killer hill to start the afternoon, followed by a short stretch on a busy road. But things will soon improve, with quiet roads and only few gentle hills as we head inland. We'll take the canal towpath from Philpstoun to Niddry Castle, then return to our start point via Kirkliston and the Carlowrie Road.

The total distance will be about 32 miles. I expect the ride will finish around 4 pm, depending on various factors.

Lunch arrangements

Our lunch stop will be a picnic in the grounds of Blackness Castle. There is no café or pub at the castle, so please bring your own lunch. There is, however, a gift shop where you can buy hot drinks (from a vending machine) and a limited range of confectionery and ice cream. There are toilets there as well.

Since our last visit to Blackness, a small shop has opened in the village (about half a mile from the castle). They sell filled rolls, but the choice might be limited, so it might be wise not to rely on it.

What if the weather is bad?

A slight drizzle or chilly breeze won't put us off. But if the weather is really atrocious, we might do a shorter ride, possibly with a café stop either for coffee or lunch. We will make that decision at the start point.

Remember, all our rides are free and open to all. There is no booking system, and no need to let anyone know in advance whether or not you will be coming..

And whether or not you can make it on Saturday, we have our normal monthly ride the following weekend. I'll post a reminder of that one here nearer the time.

Saturday 14 April 2018

Has spring finally sprung?

The route for today's ride started as an attempt to circumnavigate Edinburgh Airport by the shortest route. Whilst recceing the route, we made a few changes and tweaks such that it should perhaps best be described as a ride to Kirkliston.

We were blessed with spring-like weather. Being warm and dry on the bike was something we hadn't experienced in many a long month. A turnout of twenty riders was reasonable; a few of them just returning after a winter lay off. Following the customary leader's briefing, we headed off towards Bruntsfield Links and to Leamington Bridge where we joined the canal. We stayed beside the canal passing Polwarth, Slateford, Kingsknowe, Wester Hailes and crossed the City Bypass. We had just begun to walk across the Slateford Aqueduct when the leader stopped and told those behind him to back up off the aqueduct. A pram was heading towards us that was almost as wide as the path. There was no way the group and pram could have passed eachother. The group ventured onto the aqueduct again. Very shortly, we were squeezed up against the railings letting a suicide pilot cyclist ride past us. No idea how he avoided ending up in the canal. We had to stop several more times to let pedestrians pass. It was the busiest most of us had ever seen that stretch. We left the canal at Hermiston. This was our first sweetie stop of the day on the bridge over the canal. From there, quiet back roads took us to Ratho where we regrouped. Onwards to Ratho Station. Although there is no longer a station there; a delightful little cut-through for pedestrians and cyclists took us across the railway and down towards the busy A8. The footbridge with steps is far-from-ideal; but much better than the alternative of dashing across four lanes of fast moving traffic! The path beside the A8 took us to Newbridge, one of the busiest roundabouts in Scotland. We soon left the traffic noise behind as we headed onto the path that follows the route of the old railway, and found ourselves in the countryside. A lovely route, but better in summer. Today it was rather muddy in places. The leader missed the point where we should have left the path. But he quickly realised his mistake, meaning only a couple of riders had to turn round before heading up the slope to the road. Once on the road, it took but a couple of minutes to arrive at the Conifox Garden Centre for our lunch stop.

With the group fed and watered, we headed off on a quiet road past the airport radar installation. We then joined a busier road that took us to the Burnshot Bridge. Road closures and diversions remain in place; but there is a lovely new wide and well surfaced path for cyclists. Through the underpass, across the road and we were back on the familiar path beside the A90 heading for Cramond Brig, where we enjoyed our second sweetie stop of the day. We were now back on familiar paths heading back towards town via Barnton, Silverknowes, Craigleith and the Roseburn path. At Fountainpark, we took a minor detour to see the newly opened Boroughmuir High School. Riding down the quiet road beside Leamington Bridge, the lead rider was confronted by a pedestrian walking up the middle of the road looking at his phone and oblivious to all around him. "Watch where you're walking" called out the lead rider. "Watch where you're cycling!" snapped back the pedestrian. Some people really should not be allowed out on their own!

Everyone seemed to have enjoyed the ride. We visited places that were new to many; and of course, how nice it was to have some warm and dry weather. Please let this be the start of some decent weather. It really did feel as if winter would never come to an end.

Leader: Glenn
Report: Glenn
Photos: Glenn

Monday 9 April 2018

20-Milers ride this coming Saturday

We've got our April ride this Saturday (14th). I hope you'll be able to make it.

Glenn will be leading us on an interesting circuit to the west of the city. We'll start out on the canal towpath as far as Hermiston House, then take back roads and bike paths to Ratho Station and Kirkliston. After lunch, we'll head back to town by the Carlowrie Road and NCN 1.

The total distance will be about 23 miles. There will be one steep hill and a few gentle ones. Most of the route will be on firm surfaces except for about a mile on a narrow path which might be muddy.

Our lunch stop will be at a venue which we haven't visited before as a group: the Conifox Garden Centre near Kirkliston. They have a restaurant with an extensive menu, as well as a large picnic area for those who prefer to bring their own food.

The meeting time and place are the same as ever: 10:30 at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk.

Looking ahead

This year's Pedal on Parliament takes place on the 28th of this month (see www.cycling-edinburgh.org.uk for details). I don't yet know if we will be organising a 20-Milers contingent to take part. If we do, I'll post details here.

And on 5th May, we've got our first Extra of the season. These are longer rides which go a little faster than our normal runs. For this first one, we'll be heading to Blackness Castle. I'll post more details here nearer the time.

Finally, Jim will be starting his season of summer evening rides quite soon. Again, I'll post more details as they become available.