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Saturday, 18 June 2022

Return of the Extras

The last 20 Milers Extra ride was back in September 2019. After a gap of nearly three years, it was great to be back. Some riders that joined the group a few months prior to lockdown had never ridden an Extra before. Today saw us head out to the popular destination of Almondell Country Park near Livingston. 

It was pleasant, rather than warm and quite breezy as fourteen riders mustered at the Craigleith junction meeting point. Briefing over, we headed off towards Silverknowes. Our familiar heading-west-route took us through Barnton and onwards to Cramond Brig, where we took our customary pause for a few minutes. The cycle path beside the A90 took us to Burnshot Bridge and along the road to Kirkliston. As ever, we left this road and made our way onto the much nicer railway path to Kirkliston. Following a comfort stop at the sports centre, a quiet back road took us towards Niddry Castle where we joined the Union Canal towpath. After three miles on the towpath, at Broxburn we left the canal behind and took the road to Almondell Country Park where we enjoyed a picnic lunch in the garden behind the visitor centre.

After taking lunch sitting in the warm garden, what better to get the group moving again than a short, sharp climb to exit the park. The NCN75 path was closed due to building works. As a result, we had to take a detour onto a busy main road for a mile. Back on the planned route, and we arrived in Kirknewton which was full of visitors enjoying gala day. Via Dalmahoy we took the back exit into Heriot-Watt University. Through the campus, we were soon on a familiar route home via the Gyle, Broomhouse, Murrayfield, Dalry, the Telfer subway and Fountain Park. Thanks to the Edinburgh Canal Festival and Raft Race, we had to dismount and wheel our bikes through the crowds. At the Leamington bridge, the leader declared the ride officially over.

Everyone enjoyed the ride, the weather had been reasonably kind to us with it being less breezy in the afternoon, and it had been a trouble-free day. Thanks to Mike for leading and kicking off the first Extra ride of the year.

Leader: Mike

Report: Glenn

Photos: Glenn

Tuesday, 14 June 2022

Extra ride this coming Saturday

 I am pleased to announce that our first 20-Milers Extra ride of the year - in fact, the first since September 2019 - will take place this coming Saturday, 18 June.

As you probably know, our Extra rides are somewhat longer and faster than our usual 20-mile runs, with an earlier start and a later finish. But we still aim for the same friendly atmosphere and unpressured pace. You won't need to be super fit to join these rides, but if you haven't cycled for a while, or if you feel that you are below your normal fitness, you may prefer to give this one a miss, and to stick with our usual "second Saturday" runs instead.

This week's route

For Saturday's ride, we will be heading out to one of our more popular destinations: Almondell Country Park. The total distance will be about 32 miles. Most of the route will be on quiet roads and bike paths, including about three miles on the canal towpath. But, because of the closure of the bike path in East Calder, we will need to divert onto a busy main road for a mile or so. There will be a fairly steep climb just after lunch, and a few other moderate hills during the day.

Lunch arrangements

There is no cafe or other food outlet in the country park (the former pop-up cafe is no longer in operation), so be sure to bring food for a picnic. There are vending machines serving hot and cold drinks in the visitor centre, but note that this is closed between 12:30 and 13:00. The toilets are open throughout the day. (We will also have a "comfort break" en route during the morning.)

Time and place

For this ride, we will meet at our alternative meeting point at the Craigleith path junction. If you are not sure where that is, see here for directions. Please be there in time for a 10:15 departure.

Note that we will not be returning to Craigleith. The nearest point to it on the return leg will be Russell Road, which I expect we will reach around 16:00 (but don't hold me to that; it's just a rough estimate). The ride will officially end somewhere near the Meadows.

What if the weather is bad

A stiff breeze or light drizzle won't put us off. But if the weather is really atrocious, we might opt for a shorter route - and perhaps a cafe visit. We'll make that decision at the meeting point.

Other information

As always, we ask that you bring a spare inner tube in case you have a puncture. If your wheels don't have quick-release hubs, please also bring whatever tools you need to remove your wheel. If you are unsure what you need, your favourite bike shop will be pleased to advise.

Saturday, 11 June 2022

A Dalkeith Debut

For today's ride, we followed a well-worn route to a familiar destination. But the day was not without incident. It was characterised by a fierce wind that always seemed to be blowing in the wrong direction, and a potentially dangerous situation involving drawing pins, of which more later.

As we assembled at our meeting point, we became aware that something big was happening on the Meadows. That "something" turned out to be a huge gathering for an Orange Order parade involving 35 marching bands. It was later to occupy the whole of Middle Meadow Walk, not to mention completely clogging up Forrest Road and George IV Bridge  (according to a later press report). Fortunately, it didn't really get started until later in the morning, so we weren't greatly affected by it.

Our leader today was Alison, making her debut as a ride leader. Seventeen riders turned up, including a couple of new faces and a few older ones that we hadn't seen for a while. At this point, the day was dry and reasonably sunny, but very windy and with heavy showers forecast for later.

After Alison briefed us on the route and the lunch arrangements, we set off towards the Innocent Tunnel and the familiar NCN route via Brunstane and Newcraighall. All was going well until we were approaching Musselburgh Station, at which point the cry "Puncture!" was heard. For reasons too technical to go into, and despite sterling efforts by Alan and others, the puncture turned out to be unusually difficult to deal with. It was a good 20 minutes before we could continue. But with tasty home-made cakes being distributed while we waited, the time went quickly.

It transpired that the puncture was caused by no fewer than three drawing pins that had become embedded in the victim's front tyre. We later heard that there had been reports of drawing pins being scattered on various bike paths around Edinburgh, including one particularly nasty case in the Barnton area. It's not clear whether this was the result of carelessness on someone's part or (more likely) a deliberate act of mindless vandalism by some idiot with a grudge against cyclists. Either way, it was clearly very dangerous. Fortunately for us, the punctured tyre was the only casualty, but it could have been worse.

Once the puncture was dealt with, we set out again, heading now for the River Esk path, Whitecraig and the railway path to Dalkeith. It was on that path that we hit the first of the day's heavy showers. This continued as we skirted Dalkeith town centre and reached our lunch stop in the King's Park. With the rain now easing off, most of the group opted for a picnic in the park, but a few headed for the comfort of the café in the nearby supermarket.

Lunch over, and with the sun shining again, Alison led us on a twisty route through the woods to the south of the King's Park, emerging just east of the town centre. We then doubled back along a main road before turning into Dalkeith Country Park. We continued northwards through the park – no problem with the locked gate that had caused some difficulty for us on a previous visit here – before reaching Whitecraig. The wind was much stronger and very much in our face as we now retraced our earlier route back to Edinburgh via NCN 1.

As we approached the scene of the morning's puncture, Graham volunteered to ride ahead in search of any remaining drawing pins. He managed to find around 20 of the offending objects, which he dutifully removed from the path. Good work.

On the last section of the Innocent Path, we were hit by another sudden shower. This was heavy but short, and had cleared up by the time we reached the Meadows a few minutes later. Despite the wind, the rain and the other incidents, it was a very pleasant ride, at a comfortable pace and with a good lunch stop – and a successful debut for our leader.

Leader: Alison

Report and photos: Mike

Monday, 6 June 2022

Two rides for June

 We've got two rides coming up this month: our standard "second Saturday" run this coming weekend; and the first of this year's "Extra" rides the following Saturday. Here are the details:

Saturday 11 June

For this week's ride,
Alison will be making her debut as the leader. Our destination will be Dalkeith. It will be a reasonably straightforward route, with just a few moderate hills and no particular difficulties. The total distance will be about 22 miles.

For our lunch break, we will picnic in the King's Park, which is near the centre of Dalkeith. I suggest that you either bring a packed lunch or aim to pick up a sandwich in the Morrison's supermarket, which is just across the road from the park (there are also toilets there). If the weather is bad, or if you prefer to eat indoors, the cafe within the supermarket does a range of hot and cold snacks at reasonable prices.

We will meet at the usual place, that is, the north end of Middle Meadow Walk, in time for a 10:30 departure.

Saturday 18 June

The following Saturday will see our first Extra of the season. This is the ride that we had planned for last month but which we were obliged to postpone. As you probably know, our Extra rides are somewhat longer than our standard runs - usually 30-35 miles. We start earlier, finish later, and ride a little faster,
although we still aim for a "sociable" pace (not so fast that you can't keep up a conversation).

I'll post details of the arrangements for this ride a bit nearer the time, so for now just note the date. 

More rides

The summer cycling season is now well under way. CTC Lothian have resumed their Tuesday evening runs; our own Jim Cameron is organising an evening ride every Thursday; Mellow Velo have several multi-day rides in the pipeline; and there is a big Glasgow to Edinburgh charity run planned for September. Details of all these events, and other organised bike rides, can found here.

That's all for now. I hope to see you on one or more of our forthcoming rides. In the meantime, happy pedalling.

Saturday, 14 May 2022

An old favourite

Today's ride saw us head out to that old favourite, Craigie's Farm. In recent years it's become a regular season opener. We've experienced a variety of weather over the years; everything from an unexpectedly dry and mild day to freezing cold and wet. In 2020, four brave souls set out in torrential rain, but abandoned the ride just beyond Cramond. Last September, on only our second ride after Covid restrictions, we had a pleasant autumnal day. But today we were blessed with good weather - dry, sunny spells and the temperature rose as the day progressed. Given the weather, a turn-out of 25 riders was lower than expected. But it was good to see some new faces mixed in with the regulars.

Following the customary briefing, we mounted up and rolled away. We had barely left the Meadows when the backmarker and another rider stopped to help someone with a mechanical issue. It turned out that rider (although they had ridden with us before) was not part of today's ride. After ensuring the rider could sort their problem, the two of them set off to catch the main group. The usual route via the Leamington Bridge and Telfer Subway took us to Murieston Crescent. As a result of a football match at Tynecastle there was a strong police presence in the area. At the temporary one-way section, we all got off and wheeled our bikes along the pavement. We were surprised to see cars beside us driving the wrong way down the one-way section; and were even more surprised to see the police officers turn a blind eye to it. We remounted and rode to Murrayfield via Russell Road. Round Carrick Knowe golf course, along Traquair Park East, through the quiet back streets of Corstorphine, through The Gyle Park and we were at the busy Glasgow Road. With everyone safely over the crossing, North Gyle Terrace took us to another busy road to cross - Maybury Road. It took a few minutes before everyone was safely across and riding along the much quieter Turnhouse Road. In the West Craigs area there is a large housing development being built. This meant we had to negotiate a long stretch of road controlled by temporary traffic lights. Despite all of us getting through on green, the lights were green for the other traffic before we had time to get through. Quiet roads and a track through the woods at Cammo saw us arrive for a brief stop at the Grotto Bridge over the River Almond. We rode through the rather eerie and deserted army housing estate at Craigiehall. The cycle path beside the busy A90, along the road from Burnshot Bridge and we were soon turning right for the steep climb up to Craigie's Farm and our lunch stop. The majority sat outside in the warm sunshine for lunch. Some with food bought from the cafe, others with their picnics.

Leaving the farm behind, we sped down the steep hill and were soon on the cycle path beside the A90 heading back towards Edinburgh. The tried and tested route took us back to the Meadows via Cramond Brig, Barnton, Silverknowes, Craigleith, the Roseburn Path, Russell Road, the Telfer Subway and the Leamington Bridge. The leader then declared the ride over.

Thanks to Alan for leading us to a familiar place by a slightly different route, and thanks to Yaz for back marking. The weather was kind to us, we had a few new riders and everyone seemed to enjoy the ride. What more can we ask for?

Leader: Alan

Report: Glenn

Photos: Glenn

Monday, 9 May 2022

May ride this coming Saturday

 We've got our May ride coming up on Saturday (14th). I hope you'll be able to join us.


Under Alan's leadership, we will be heading out to western parts of the city, on a mix of bike paths and quiet roads. Most of the route will be on good surfaces, but there will be one stretch that will be rough and possibly muddy. There will be one steep climb (just before lunch) and a number of more moderate hills. Apart from that, I don't foresee any difficulties.

The total distance will be a jot over 20 miles, with more than half the mileage being in the morning, followed by a fairly short run home in the afternoon.


We will stop for a late-ish lunch at Craigie's Farm. The cafe there offers a range of sandwiches, salads and a soup of the day, which you can eat either indoors or on their terrace. There is also a separate picnic area which is suitable for those of us who prefer to bring a packed lunch.


Our 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 we will aim to get back to the Meadows around the middle of the afternoon.

Future rides

It was unfortunate that we had to cancel our first Extra ride of the season, which had been planned for last week. This was owing to a number of factors. We are planning to re-schedule this for a Saturday in June, and I will post details here as soon as the date has been fixed.

I think that covers everything. There is no need to contact us in advance. If you fancy joining us on Saturday, just turn up.

Monday, 25 April 2022

First 20-Milers Extra for 2022 - POSTPONED

UPDATE: The ride planned for 7 May has now been postponed. I will post further information when a new date for the ride has been decided. This does not affect our normal 20-mile ride for May, which will take place as planned on the 14th.

 I am pleased to say that we are about to resume our Extra rides. The first of these rides for 2022 will be on Saturday 7 May. I don't have any details yet of the route, destination or meeting time and place, so for now just note the date. I'll post further information early next week.

These Extra rides are longer than our usual 20-mile runs. We start earlier, finish later and cycle a little faster - although still at a "social" pace (not so fast that you can't keep up a conversation). If you normally finish our rides with energy to spare, you should have no difficulty with these Extras. But if you haven't cycled for a while or feel that you are below average fitness, you may prefer to give them a miss, and to stick with our usual "second Saturday" runs instead.

As the name suggests, the Extra rides are in addition to our standard 20-mile runs, the next of which will take place as usual on 14 May.

Saturday, 9 April 2022

Three bridges in the distance

 Today's ride saw us head to South Queensferry with a minor detour to visit the Forth bridges viewpoint. After a cool start the temperature rose gradually, such that on the homeward stretch, riders were shedding their jackets. But there was an occurrence at the lunch stop that made us shiver. It's finally beginning to feel as if spring and warmer weather is just around the corner. We also had sunshine for most of the ride and not a drop of rain.

An impressive turnout of 33 riders gathered at the start. There was a good mix of regulars, new faces and riders we hadn't seen in quite a while. Following the leader's route and safety briefing, the large single group headed towards the Leamington Bridge via familiar paths and roads. Pausing at times to regroup, we left the Telfer Subway, Dalry Road and Russell Road behind and headed up the Telford Path. The sunshine had brought out a large number of cyclists, most of who were faster than our long, meandering group. Many didn't have bells which made getting through more difficult. They would get past two or three of our group, little realising that a further 30 would have to be passed before a clear path lie ahead. At Craigleith we took the left fork onto the Blackhall Path. Through Silverknowes, and we were on the quiet roads of leafy Barnton. A solo cyclist caught up with the back of the group on the narrow path that links Barnton Avenue and Barnton Avenue West. Accepting he was going nowhere fast, he took his place at the back of the group and smiled as he said, "it's like the M6 here", before adding, "not that I've ever cycled on a motorway". Emerging onto Barnton Avenue West, he wished us an enjoyable ride and headed off. We took the obligatory pause on the bridge at Cramond Brig before heading up the path beside the A90. We regrouped at the Chapel Gate entrance to the Dalmeny Estate, before crossing the road and heading to Dalmeny village. We didn't take the usual path that leads to the Co-op in South Queensferry. Instead we cut through the new housing estate and rode onwards to arrive at the Forth bridges viewpoint. 

On such a bright clear day, the three bridges looked stunning. After a few minutes to enjoy the view and take photos, the leader rounded everyone up and we rode the short distance into South Queensferry. Just before the high street, the leader turned left down a narrow lane that looked as if it led only to a car park. This wasn't the case. A path took us to the harbour, along another quiet lane and up a short steep hill to emerge in the high street. Another of those unexpected, but delightful discoveries. Whether eating their own picnics or food bought in nearby cafes, most of the group sat at the top of the steps enjoying a great view of the Forth Rail Bridge. It was during lunch that we witnessed something that made us all shiver. A solitary swimmer tip-toed into the cold waters of the Forth for a brief swim, wearing nothing more than swimming trunks. Wrapped in a robe, he climbed the steps and we gave him a well-deserved round of applause which he appreciated. Having finished their lunch quickly, one of our group opted to fill their time with a 4K run! Someone quipped that if they had also gone for a swim, today's ride would have counted as a triathlon for them.

Lunch over, we mounted up and made our way over the bumpy cobbles through the town's one-way system. Just past Hawes Pier, we took the track that led us towards the Dalmeny Estate. It was beginning to feel pleasantly warm as we rode through the estate on a mixture of smooth tarmac, rough paths and a couple of steep hills to emerge at Cramond Brig. There were a few confused faces as we rode across the bridge without stopping. From there, we headed back via the route we had taken out earlier. Once back at the Meadows, the leader declared the ride officially over.

Thanks to Yaz for leading a ride that was enjoyed by all. It was good to have the bonus of visiting the Forth bridges viewpoint, and that little cut-through by the harbour was a delightful discovery. Thanks to Alison for back marking.

Leader: Yaz

Report: Glenn

Photos: Glenn

Tuesday, 5 April 2022

April ride this coming Saturday

 We've got our April ride coming up on Saturday. Yaz will be our leader and guide. As I write this, the forecast is for a sunny day with only a slight breeze, so we can look forward to a good day out.

Our destination will be South Queensferry. But, as a variation on the normal route, we will head first to the viewing platform at the south end of the road bridge. From here there are stunning views of the three bridges over the Forth (and a good place to take photos). We will then proceed to the old part of the town, where there are picnic spots and cafės for our lunch break (also toilets). The return leg will be via the scenic Dalmeny Estate.

The total distance will be about 22 miles. Most of the route will be on firm surfaces, although there will be a few rough patches in the afternoon, not to mention the notorious Queensferry cobbles. There will be some moderate hills, none of them particularly difficult.

The meeting time and place are as ever: the north end of Middle Meadow Walk at 10.30. Remember, there is no booking system for our rides, and no need to contact us in advance.

More rides

With summer on the doorstep, other local cycling groups will be organising rides in the weeks ahead. EasyCycle are running their short rides on the last Sunday of every month; Mellow Velo will be offering their programme of cycling weekends; and the usual evening rides will be starting up again soon. You can find details of all these events on my website: www.cycling-edinburgh.org.uk.

You might also like to know that Pedal on Parliament will take place on 23rd April. This mass bike ride usually attracts several thousand cyclists. It is a light-hearted family-friendly event, not a confrontational demo. More details on the above website.

Sunday, 13 March 2022

A Roslin ramble

Today's ride saw a welcome return to our traditional format: a full-day run of twenty or so miles with a proper lunch stop. This was after two months in which, because of Covid restrictions, we limited each ride to half a day with no cafe or pub stop. It was gratifying to see 24 riders, including many of our regulars, turn up for today's event.

The ride was led by Iain Pearce, making his debut as a 20-Milers ride leader. Our destination was Roslin, but because the direct route to that village is only about 16 miles round trip, Iain decided to add a few interesting wiggles to make up the length. It's always good when we can find unfamiliar bike routes, and today's ride succeeded in doing just that.

After the usual briefing and safety advice, we headed down Middle Meadow Walk and across Bruntsfield Links before tackling the stiff climb up to Hermitage Drive. A bit more climbing took us up to northern flank of the Braid Hills, where we paused for a few moments to take in the view over the city. The weather at this point was uncertain, with a weak sun struggling to emerge from the clouds, and while it was not actually raining, the air had a definite dampness to it.

Almost immediately after reaching Alnwickhill Road, we cut through a diminutive gap between some houses to emerge on a path running alongside Liberton Park and what used to be the Alnwickhill Reservoir, now a housing development. This was the first of several parts of today's route which were new to me, and I suspect to many others in the group.

Back doubles

After crossing Liberton Gardens, we continued on a wiggly route through the back doubles of Gracemount and Gilmerton Dykes – again, unfamiliar territory for many of us - before reaching the City Bypass at Gilmerton Station Road. From here, the route followed the more familiar Roslin bike path, which uses the old railway line through Loanhead and across the Bilston Glen viaduct. We reached Roslin a few minutes after noon. About a third of the group found some nice spots for a picnic, with most of the others heading for Dolly's Tea Shop.

For the return leg, we retraced our steps as far as Gilmerton Station Road. The bike path here is well-surfaced and almost completely flat, and with the wind behind us it made a pleasant start to the afternoon. After crossing back over the bypass, we stayed on the path for another four miles or so, heading towards Shawfair (lots of new housing) and Newton Village. Until a few years ago, this path was little more than a muddy track alongside a field, but it has been upgraded into a wide, well-surfaced path with good lighting. As a bonus, this part of our route was gently downhill the whole way.

Leaving the path, we followed the road through Danderhall, and then through Little France Park and Craigmillar Castle Park. At this point, we were hit by two minor inconveniences: a sudden heavy rain shower, and a mechanical problem involving a recalcitrant chain. Fortunately, the rain stopped almost as quickly as it started. The mechanical problem took a little longer to sort out, but before too long we were on our way again.

The final leg took us across Peffermill Road, through the Peffermill Industrial Estate and on to the Innocent Path. After heading up the Innocent Tunnel, we made our way back to the Meadows. At 21 miles, it was a very pleasant run, with several innovative sections of route, a good lunch stop and a successful debut for the leader.

Leader: Iain

Report: Mike

Photos: Glenn


Monday, 7 March 2022

Full-day ride this coming Saturday

 We've got our March ride coming up on Saturday (12th). I'm pleased to say that, with the Covid situation improving, we can now resume our usual full-day rides. I hope you'll be able to join us.

The route

Iain (Pearce) will be leading this ride. Iain has come up with an attractive (and unusual) route to Roslin. The outward leg, which will mainly be on quiet roads, will involve a certain amount of climbing, especially near the start. But we will be rewarded with some nice downhill runs
in the afternoon, almost entirely on well-surfaced bike paths. The total distance will be about 21 miles.

Lunch arrangements

Despite the easing of of Covid restrictions, we would still prefer not to take a large party into a cafe or pub. We will therefore ask the group to divide between the two lunch venues in Roslin. Please bear with us if you don't get your first choice of eating place.

Dolly's Tea Room offers a range of soup, sandwiches, toasties and panini, at reasonable prices. If you haven't visited Dolly's since before the pandemic, you will be agreeably surprised by the recent improvements in the service, food and decor there. The Original Rosslyn Inn also offers a good selection. It is somewhat more up-market (and more expensive) than the tea room, but might be a better choice if you want a more substantial cooked lunch.

A third option is to bring a packed lunch. There are some pleasant picnic spots near the chapel and castle. You can also pick up a take-away sandwich and hot drink from Dolly's.

Time and place

As always, we will set off at 10:30 from our usual spot at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk. We should get back to the Meadows around the middle of the afternoon.

And as always, the ride is open to all, and is free of charge. There's no need to let us know in advance that are coming. If you would like to join us, just turn up at the above time and place.

One last thing: Please do bring a spare inner tube if at all possible. It really makes a difference if you get hit by a puncture. If you don't know what size or type of tube is right for your bike, you local bike shop will be pleased to advise. And if your bike doesn't have quick-release hubs, please also bring whatever tools are needed to remove the wheel.

Saturday, 12 February 2022

Corstorphine delight

Just like last month, it was decided that today's ride would go ahead without a pub or café lunch stop. Instead, it would take the form of a half-day ride aiming to finish by 1300. The leader plotted a route of 13 miles to fit the format. But within that relatively short distance, we were promised some unfamiliar locations and ways of getting to them. The highlight of the ride was visiting a walled garden that few of the riders even knew existed.

The day dawned dry and quite windy, but nothing like as bad as earlier in the week. That was the way it remained for the duration of the ride, except for a couple of very brief light showers. A turnout of 17 riders was quite good for a windy February day following a rather unsettled week. It was great to see a smattering of new faces for a ride so early in the year.

Following the customary route-details and safety briefing, we rolled away from Middle Meadow Walk and headed for the Leamington Bridge via the familiar route taking in Bruntsfield Links and Leamington Terrace. After a brief pause at the bridge, more familiar paths and roads took us onto the Roseburn Path at the zig-zags. At Craigleith we took the Blackhall Path and what seemed like the familiar route to Cramond Brig via Barnton. But a surprise left turn took us along East Barnton Avenue and through Davidsons Mains Park to emerge beside the busy-as-ever Queensferry Road. With everyone safely across, we headed through the quiet backstreets of Clermiston and cut across Clermiston Park. After a bit of climbing, we paused briefly outside St Andrew's Church before continuing. Soon we were on a cycle path alongside Clermiston Road. Crossing the road, we climbed a dirt track and we were at the delightful Corstorphine Hill Walled Garden. Most of us didn't even know this community garden existed. Leaning our bikes against the wall, we trooped in. There is something special about walled gardens, and this one certainly didn't disappoint - it was lovely. February may not have been the best time to visit, but it made many of us vow to return. In spring and summer it will be an absolute treat. Having explored the garden, we headed back down the dirt track to the road. From there, cycle paths weaved between the houses and quiet roads saw us arrive at the busy St John's Road. We crossed the road and left it behind as we rode along Corstorphine High Street and made our way through St Margaret's Park. More quiet roads and we were soon on the path that runs behind Silvan House on Corstorphine Road. The path took us to Balgreen Road, we crossed the Water of Leith and rode alongside it past Murrayfield Stadium and through Roseburn Park. From there we made our way to the zig-zags, before retracing our outbound route back to the Meadows where the leader declared the ride officially over.

For the old stagers of the group, it's very easy to think we've been everywhere. So it is great to be led somewhere completely new. All credit to Graham for doing that, especially in a shorter-than-usual ride, and to take us to somewhere so delightful. 

Hopefully our March ride will return to the usual format to include a lunch stop and be around 20 miles in length. It would be nice if we could have some spring-like weather, but we'll have to wait and see.

Leader: Graham

Report: Glenn

Photos: Glenn 

Monday, 7 February 2022

Half-day ride this coming Saturday

 We've got our February ride coming up on Saturday (12th). Like last month's run, this will be a half-day ride, finishing by 13:00. But unlike last month, we won't try to squeeze a full-day's mileage into the morning. This time we will be doing just 13 miles. There will be a couple of stiff climbs around the middle of the morning, but no other difficulties of any kind.

For this ride, Graham has come up with what looks like an interesting and attractive route. We'll be heading out on NCN 1 as far as Davidson's Mains, then looping back round the western slopes of Corstorphine Hill before returning to town via Carrick Knowe and the Pinkhill railway path. The ride will include a short stop at the delightful walled garden on Corstorphine Hill (twice featured in BBC Scotland's The Beechgrove Garden).

Time and place

As always, we will set out from the north end of Middle Meadow Walk at 10:30. And as always, the ride is free and open to all. There is no booking system and no need to let anyone know in advance that you are planning to come.

Keep in mind that with all our rides, the advertised route is subject to change, depending on conditions on the day. But the meeting time and place are always the same.

Why only half a day?

Since our January ride, Covid restrictions have been relaxed and the "three household" rule no longer applies. Despite that, we feel that it would still be unwise to take a large group into a pub or cafe for lunch
. Nor is the idea of a February picnic likely to be popular. Hence the decision to finish the ride by lunch time.

All being well - and assuming no new Covid outbreak - we hope to return to our normal full-day format in March.

Other bike rides

If you like the idea of a short, sociable ride, you might also consider joining EasyCycle's ride on Sunday 27 February. This will be a half-day run, leaving at 10:30 from in front of the Söderberg café in Middle Meadow Walk. As with our own rides, there is no advance booking, so just turn up on the day.

For those who prefer a more substantial outing, Spokes have a run on the first Sunday of every month, leaving from the Usher Hall in Lothian Road at 10:00. Spokes rides tend to be around 45 miles, finishing towards the end of the afternoon.

You can find further details of these and other local bike rides on my website: www.cycling-edinburgh.org.uk.

That's all for now. I hope to see you on Saturday, or whenever.

Saturday, 8 January 2022

A half day January meander

Despite the rapid increase in Covid cases, it was decided it would be safe for today's ride to go ahead, but without a cafe or pub lunch stop. Instead, it would take the form of a half-day ride aiming to finish by 1300. Given this is January in Edinburgh, a picnic outdoors lunch option was quickly discounted. The leader decided to plot a route that would be quite meandering, but never too far from the centre of town for those wishing to peel off early. He also opted to stick with the full 20 miles distance and see how that panned out.

Given the change in format and forecast of changeable weather, a turnout of eleven riders was not overly surprising. As it happened, the weather was kinder than we had dared hope. It remained dry, was cool rather than cold and we even had some pleasant winter sunshine. Following the customary briefing, we took the familiar route to the Leamington Bridge via Bruntsfield Links. We remained on the canal, leaving at Ashley Terrace. We passed George Watson's College Recreation Ground on Myreside Road before turning left into Craighouse Gardens. Apart from the leader and back marker, no one else was familiar with the route. Making good progress on a flat stretch of road was fine until we turned off and were confronted with a stiff little climb into Morningside Park. Many were caught out being in too high a gear. We pressed on through Greenbank and the new housing development built on the site of the former City Hospital. At this point, a senior member of the group said, "I know all the places we've been to, but don't think I could easily thread them together into one ride". We joined the path through Colinton Mains Park, before heading through Oxgangs and finding ourselves on the quiet residential roads of Swanston. After crossing of the busy Biggar Road, quiet roads and muddy paths saw us emerge onto Frogston Road West. A fast downhill run and we were at the Mortonhall Garden Centre. 

What would have been our lunch stop became a comfort stop instead. Past the caravan site, and we had some muddy and icy stretches of path to contend with before emerging on Braid Hills Drive. A right turn on Braid Farm Road, down Braid Hills Avenue and we arrived at the familiar Braidburn Terrace. Through Braidburn Valley Park and we joined the paths we had ridden earlier, but now in the opposite direction. At his point the back marker said, "we're now on the second loop". Someone was heard to say, "what? We're doing the whole ride again?" We made our way through Colinton to join the Water of Leith path. Onwards through Colinton Tunnel with its lovely murals, past the Water of Leith Visitor Centre, through Saughton Park, past Murrayfield and Roseburn Park and we were at the Russell Road zig-zags. A few riders peeled off there, with the remainder heading back to the Leamington Bridge. There the leader declared the ride officially over at just after 1330.

Thanks to Neil for leading us on a meandering, varied and interesting route that never ventured too far from town. And well done for adapting it at short notice to fit the half day format. Thanks also to Alison for her first stint as back marker.

Leader: Neil

Report: Glenn

Photos: Glenn

Tuesday, 4 January 2022

Half-day ride this coming Saturday

We've got our January ride coming up on Saturday (8th). But because of the Covid situation, it will be slightly different than usual. Let me explain.

Half-day ride

In the light of the rapid increase in Covid cases, we have been considering our options for this ride. We believe that it will be safe for the ride to go ahead, given that we will be out of doors and able to maintain good social distancing. But we think it would be unwise for the group to go into a cafe or pub for lunch. We considered asking everyone to bring a packed lunch, but eating in the open air on a Scottish January morning doesn't seem like a good option.

Instead, we have decided that this will be a half-day ride. There will be no lunch break, and we will finish by 1 pm at the latest. I'm sorry we can't offer you a full day out, but I'm sure you will appreciate the reason.

The details

Neil (Miller) will be our leader. At the time of writing, Neil is still planning the route, but I know we can rely on him to come up with something interesting. Details of the route will be announced at the meeting point.

As always, we will leave
at 10.30 from the north end of Middle Meadow Walk. And as always, the ride is free and open to all, with no advance booking.

Looking ahead

It's too early to say what form our February ride will take. Obviously, it will depend on the Covid situation at the time and on any new restrictions that might have come into force. I will of course keep you informed.

I hope we'll see you on Saturday. After all, half a day's cycling is better than none.