20th Anniversary Year

You are welcome to join our easy-paced bike rides. Click here for all the information you need.


Monday 27 May 2019

Extra ride this coming Saturday

We've got our first Extra ride of the year this coming Saturday (1st June). These Extra rides are longer and faster than our usual runs, but we try to maintain the same friendly and unpressured atmosphere. If you are comfortable with our usual pace, you should enjoy these longer outings. But if you sometimes struggle to keep up, or haven't cycled for a while, you might prefer to give them a miss.

This week's ride

For our ride on Saturday, we will be heading to somewhere that we have never visited before as a group: the historic Bo'ness and Kinneil Railway. Apart from its historical interest, the station there promises to be a good place for our lunch stop. It has picnic tables for those who like to bring a packed lunch (or you can pick up a sandwich in the Tesco next door). There is also a large café that serves soup, sandwiches, baked potatoes and home-made cakes and scones.

The ride itself will be about 38 miles. We'll head out via Kirkliston, Niddry Castle and a short stretch on the canal, then drop down to Blackness and a new coastal path that will take us into Bo'ness. For the return, we'll keep to the coast, via the Hopetoun Estate and South Queensferry. Most of the route will be on well-surfaced tracks and roads, with just a few stretches that might be a bit rough. There will be a few hills, but no killers.

Note that most of the mileage will be in the morning, with a late lunch stop, so adjust your appetites accordingly.

Meeting time and place

For this ride, we'll meet at our alternative meeting point at the Craigleigh path junction (see here if you need directions). We'll set out at the earlier time of 10:15. As this is quite a long ride, we'll aim to leave punctually. It's difficult to know exactly when the ride will finish, but I think we should be back at the start point some time between 4 and 5 pm.

What if the weather is bad?

An occasional shower or a light drizzle won't put us off. But if the weather is particularly bad, we might opt for a shorter ride (but the meeting time and place will remain the same).

As with all our rides, this one is free and open to all. Just turn up if you would like to join us.

Friday 17 May 2019

Advance notice of rides in June

Here is an overview of the rides planned for June 2019. I'll post more information about each of these nearer the time.

Saturday 1st June. Our first Extra of the summer. These rides are longer and faster than our usual runs. We start a little earlier, finish a little later, and go at a slightly faster pace - but always with the same sociable atmosphere. For this first ride, we'll be heading west, starting at 10:15 from the Craigleith path junction.

Saturday 8th June. Our normal "second Saturday" run, starting as usual at 10:30 from Middle Meadow Walk. We'll be heading to Dalkeith.

Friday 21st June. An evening ride to celebrate the summer solstice. Meet at 19:00 at Middle Meadow Walk.

Saturday 29th June. Our second Extra of the season, heading east. We'll let you know the meeting time and place nearer the time.

In addition, the Edinburgh Festival of Cycling takes place in June. This consists of around 40 cycling-related events, including talks, workshops, cultural events, film shows and several rides. I've posted details of a few of these on www.cycling-edinburgh.org.uk. You can pick up a copy of the full printed programme from local bike shops, leisure centres and public libraries.

Saturday 11 May 2019

Where is everyone?

The question, "where is everyone?" summed up today's ride. It's late enough in the year for riders and bikes to have come out of winter hibernation; the sun was shining - we even got to eat lunch sitting outside in the pub beer garden and an interestingly different route was on the cards. But we still had a low turnout for a ride in May. Perhaps the fact that a couple of climbs and a reasonable amount of off-road riding lie ahead had kept some riders away. One rider was unfortunate to have a chain snap and one fell after hitting an hidden grate cover. The chain was repaired and the faller was shaken up, but uninjured.

We only managed to muster eighteen riders. A few regulars were missing. But amongst those that did make the start, it was good to see some new faces, some we hadn't seen for a while and a couple of riders on electric bikes. At least we only needed one group; something that always makes the logistics easier. The familiar route via the Innocent Railway led us to Musselburgh station. We stopped a couple of times to regroup as we became spread out courtesy of road crossing points. Leaving the station we threaded through the Stoneybank estate. This was unfamiliar to most, but presented no problem for the leader, it being a stone's throw from home for him. The group emerged intact beside the more familiar River Esk. A duck beneath the low bridge that carries the main road into Musselburgh, along the road, across the River Esk on the footbridge and we were heading down Goose Green. A pause for a local history lesson about the blue arrow beside the Air Cadets hut and we were on the path towards the race course. On this occasion, we turned left before the BMX track and made our way up to the ash lagoons. As they are no longer used (since the demise of Port Seton power station), vegetation is reclaiming them and they look much more attractive than the other-worldly moonscape they used to be. A bit more easily manageable off-road riding and we were on the smooth path that runs parallel to the sea wall. Heading inland, disaster struck one unfortunate rider when their chain snapped. Such an occurrence can often be a ride-ender. Following a lengthy halt, the chain was repaired and we were rolling again thanks to the mechanical skills of Alan S. Onwards to Prestonpans for a welcome sweetie stop and comfort break. Up the hill and just before Prestonpans station, Mike gave us another local history lesson about Sir John Cope and the Battle of Prestonpans. We took the road bridge across the A1, before turning left onto a grassy track. The leader was looking for a small grate cover hidden by a clump of grass in the centre of the track that had nearly brought him down on the recce a couple of weeks earlier. As soon as he spotted it, he pointed it out, but the rider behind him clattered into it. Fortunately, the rider remained upright; but another was less fortunate and went down. Badly shaken, but uninjured they opted to abandon the ride. Having ensured they were OK to get back, and were not alone, the rest of the group carried on. We took the cycle path to the edge of Tranent and joined the road for the climb towards Elphinstone. It's not a steep climb, but it does drag on for a bit. Leaving the road behind, we headed onto a dirt track for the most substantial off-road section of the day. It was a bit rough and bumpy in parts, but it was dry and presented no real problems for the group. We were now at the top of Fa'side Hill. We had climbed a bit to get there; but that was very gentle compared to the hard way up - the route that we were about to take down. After a quick safety briefing from the leader, we were on our way down. As ever, the descent was glorious; more so since the recent resurfacing - no more potholes and loose slippery gravel to contend with. Big smiles all round suggested that everyone had enjoyed that. A short run along the main road and we were at our lunch stop. It was warm and sunny, so lunch was taken in the beer garden.

With everyone suitably replenished, we headed off towards Inveresk. A stretch of fast smooth off-road track and we were back beside the River Esk and the bridge carrying the East Coast main line. A footbridge got us across the Esk, through some housing estates on quiet roads and paths, and we were back at Musselburgh station. From there we headed back towards Edinburgh, retracing our route from earlier. But, by the Jewel, the leader led the group off in a different direction. Just to keep it interesting, we threaded through more back streets and headed towards Duddingston House. One final short off-road section, a run down the road and we re-joined the Innocent Railway to take us back to the Meadows. There the leader declared the ride officially over. Whilst it would have been good to have had an higher turnout, everyone seemed to enjoy their day. Most of the group had been to new places they hadn't been before, the weather had been kind to us, there had been a bit of drama - but nothing too serious. Overall - a good day's cycling. Everyone is welcome; there's no need to book - just turn up and have what should be an enjoyable day's cycling in good company. That's what the 20 Milers is all about. Finally, thanks to Alec for back marking for the first time.

Leader: Glenn
Report: Glenn
Photos: Glenn
Map trace: Sorry, none this time

Monday 6 May 2019

Next ride this coming Saturday

Glenn will be leading our ride this coming Saturday (11th). We'll be heading east, taking in Musselburgh, Prestonpans, Tranent and Falside.

Please note that this ride will be a little longer and more difficult than our usual "second Saturday" outings. It will be about 26 miles, including a couple of steep hills and a few stretches on rough tracks. It should be perfectly do-able for most of us, but please keep this warning in mind.

Our lunch stop will be the Craig House hotel in Whitecraig. This is a Brewers Fayre pub, offering a basic menu of hot and cold dishes. The pub has a large garden, and there are also one or two places nearby suitable for those of us who prefer to bring our own food. Note that most of our mileage will be in the morning, with the lunch stop on the late side.

The 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, given its length, it is likely to be a little later than usual.

More rides

We've now fixed the dates of our first two Extras of the summer. These will take place on 1st June and 29th June. I'll send you details of each of these events nearer the time.

The evening rides season has now started. CTC have a ride every Tuesday evening, while our own Jim Cameron has one every Thursday evening. See www.cycling-edinburgh.org.uk for details. We have also pencilled in a ride for the evening of 21st June to coincide with the summer solstice.

Finally, please note that Lepra's annual Edinburgh to St Andrews ride will not take place this year. I don't have an further information about this. Lepra says that the event will return in 2020.