20th Anniversary Year

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Sunday 25 December 2022

A balmy Christmas ride

 Fourteen riders turned up for this, our eleventh Christmas morning ride. Unlike last year's run, when the bitterly cold wind forced people to scurry off early in search of warmth, today's conditions were decidedly pleasant: a balmy 8C with only a moderate breeze. We did see a bit of light rain towards the end of the morning, but not enough to dampen the spirits.

For today's event, we were joined by our friends from EasyCycle, this being the last Sunday of the month, which is the day fixed for their usual monthly run.

Leaving Middle Meadow Walk a little after 10.30, we headed up the Royal Mile for our first stop of the day, at the castle esplanade. We then swooped down Johnston Terrace and across Lothian Road. The Filmhouse was looking very sad, being all boarded up since it closed down in October. We continued through Festival Square, and then into Rutland Square and across Shandwick Place towards the West End.

What came next was something of a new experience for many of us: a chance to cycle on a small part of the east-west bike route which is currently being built through the city centre. This will eventually link Leith Walk with the Roseburn Path. Today we contented ourselves with riding just a fragment of the route, using a segregated bike path along Melville Street and the south side of St. Mary's Cathedral. From Palmerton Place, the official route will proceed westward along Landsdowne Crescent, but we headed north instead for a short distance, and then turned right into Chester Street.

We next weaved through Randolph Place and Charlotte Square (work on this part of the bike route is due to start next month). We then turned into George Street, the entrance to which is currently dominated by a temporary building housing the seasonal ice rink: an enormous structure and, in your scribe's humble opinion, not a particularly beautiful one - though no doubt the patineurs appreciate it.

 For the next leg, we pedalled almost the entire length of Princes Street, this being something of a tradition for our Christmas rides. And then came the only real work of the day: the ascent of Calton Hill. We all reached the summit without too much difficulty, and lingered there a while, taking in the superb views.

At this point – and for reasons too boring to go into – we had a change of leadership, with Jim Cameron taking over from the undersigned. Jim led the remainder of the ride, which included a quick visit to the Stones of Scotland (excellent views of Salisbury Crags and Arthur's Seat), a circuit of Lochend Park and a final leg through Holyrood Park. Those who hadn't peeled off earlier regained the Meadows just after 12:30. It was by no means a long ride, but still an enjoyable one – and a good way to start Christmas Day. 

Leaders: Mike and Jim

Report and photos: Mike

Monday 19 December 2022

Christmas morning ride next Sunday

This is a reminder of our Christmas ride coming up on Sunday (25th). I realise that many of you will have other plans for the day, but those of you who have the morning free will be welcome to join us. We'll leave at 10:30 from our usual spot at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk, and aim to finish the ride near the Meadows by 13:00 at the very latest.

Christmas is one day when there is very little traffic on the roads. We'll take advantage of that by visiting parts of the city centre where we might not otherwise choose to cycle. It won't be a long ride - probably less than ten miles. But there will be a couple of steep-ish hills and some short stretches on cobbles. We'll take it at a gentle pace with plenty of stops.

There will be no café stop of any kind on this ride (and no toilet stop either - take note). Feel free to bring a snack if you wish.

You don't need to book in advance for the ride. If you can join us, just turn up. And if you can't, keep in mind that our "second Saturday" rides continue throughout the winter. The next one will be on 14 January.

Saturday 10 December 2022

December whiteout

For only the fourth time in our 18-year history, today's ride did not go ahead. Conditions were looking good at 7 am. Yesterday's snow had vanished, there were no longer any icy patches on the roads,  and there was only a slight breeze. But within an hour, all that had changed. In a word, it was a whiteout: heavy snow with visibility close to zero. Nevertheless, two hardy cyclists, plus yours truly, turned up at the meeting point. But after a very brief discussion we decided to call it a day. In the interests of safety and warmth, we turned round and headed for home. Let's hope for better conditions next time.

Monday 5 December 2022

December ride this coming Saturday

 We've got our December ride coming up on Saturday (10th). This will be different from most of our runs in that it will only be a half-day ride. We'll start at the usual time, but finish at about 13:00. This is partly in deference to the mid-winter temperatures and short daylight hours, but mainly because of the difficulty of finding a lunch venue in the run-up to the festive season.

Our route will take in bike paths and quiet roads in the north of the city. The total distance will be about 16 miles. I don't expect any particular difficulties: no really steep hills or rough surfaces to worry about.

We'll meet as usual at 10:30 at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk. There will be no official lunch break or coffee break, but we'll aim to have a comfort stop at about the half-way point.

Christmas morning

Looking ahead, we will be having our traditional Christmas morning ride on 25 December. This year we are joining our friends at EasyCycle for this event. We'll all meet at 10:30 at our usual start point, and aim to finish by 13:00 at the latest - possibly a little earlier. We'll not stray far from the city centre, so if you need to peel off early, that should be no problem.

I'll post more details of the Christmas ride nearer the time. And looking further ahead, our first ride of 2023 (14 January) will be our usual full-day run.

If you fancy joining us for any of our rides, just turn up on the day. There's no need to contact us in advance.

Saturday 12 November 2022

It's November? Surely not!

We don't keep a record of temperatures on our rides. We often remember them for either exceptionally good or bad weather. But today must have been the warmest November ride we've ever had. Sunny, barely any wind and 14°C in November was amazing. A lovely day to head to the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena (EICA) at Ratho. Some of the group even sat outside at lunchtime. The weather obviously played a big part, but getting 24 riders in November was very impressive. Great to see a few new faces in the mix as well.

With the leader's route and safety briefing over, we headed to Murrayfield via our familiar route taking in Bruntsfield Links, Leamington Bridge, Fountainbridge and the Telfer Subway. Leaving Murrayfield behind, we crossed Balgreen Road and headed up the side of the distinctive Jenner's Depository to join the cycle path. Quiet back roads took us through Carrick Knowe and Broomhall. We crossed the busy Meadow Place Road and were soon at South Gyle station. A short stretch of quiet path, and soon we were mixing it with the Saturday morning traffic in the Gyle Shopping Centre car park. We cut through to Edinburgh Park, under the tunnel and emerged at Gogar Station Road, before turning onto a quiet minor road past Kellerstain. More quiet roads took us to Ratho. This was a lovely section - it was so quiet and peaceful and great to be out in the lovely weather. It could almost have been a spring day. We climbed out of Ratho and joined the B7030 at Bonnington. Along the road, turn right and we followed the road to the EICA and our lunch stop. Some of the group bagged the two picnic tables for an al fresco lunch, whilst the others headed inside.

There is a rough path behind the centre that we sometimes use on the homeward route; but the recce a few weeks previously had shown it to be very rough and wet. Instead we took the road back to the B7030, turned right and headed towards the bridge carrying the M8. Turning off, we headed up to the Union Canal towpath and began our journey back towards Edinburgh. We passed the steep steps leading up to the EICA and on past the Bridge Inn at Ratho. The group became stretched out along this section. The majority kept up with the leader, but a handful fell back and lost sight of those ahead. That is when the doubt set in. Had a turn off been missed? The decision was taken to phone the leader and check. The reply came back that the leading group was waiting at the next bridge. This was the mythical "hump back bridge" that the leader had been talking about, but no one really knew which bridge he meant. It was Union Canal Bridge number 14, which we had actually ridden over on the outward route. The group was back together. Following some ribbing from the leader like, "how can anyone get lost on the canal?", we retraced our outward route back to Edinburgh Park and onwards to Edinburgh Park station. We followed the cycle path at the top side of Sighthill and Broomhouse, crossed the tram tracks and sped down to the Jenner's Depository on Balgreen Road. From there we retraced our steps back to the Meadows, where the leader declared the ride officially over.

Thanks to Alan for leading us on an interesting route with a good lunch stop, and thanks to Yaz for back marking. A good ride that was enjoyed by all. The unseasonably good weather clearly played its part.

Leader: Alan

Report: Glenn

Photos: Glenn  

Monday 7 November 2022

20-Milers November ride this coming Saturday

We've got our November ride coming up on Saturday (12th). Alan will be leading us on an interesting route through the west of the city, heading out to Ratho. The total distance will be about 24 miles. There will be a couple of short steep hills, and a mile or two on a very rough track which might also be muddy. But apart from that there should be no particular difficulties.

Lunch stop

Our lunch stop will be at the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena. Although there is a cafe there, we advise you to bring a packed lunch. That's because, on our recent visits, the service at the cafe has been very slow, so you could well spend most of the lunch break in the queue. But don't worry: you won't need to picnic in the open air. There is plenty of indoor seating, including an area overlooking the spectacular 30-metre climbing wall (which claims to be the largest of its kind in the world). There are also vending machines serving hot drinks.


As always, we will meet at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk in time for a 10:30 departure. The ride should end well before dark, but it would be advisable to bring lights in case of delay. The ride is, of course, free and open to all. As you know, we don't have a booking system and there is no need to reply to this post.

December rides

Looking ahead, we will once again be organising a short ride for Christmas morning (25 December). This time it will be a joint venture with our friends at EasyCycle. I'll post details once these have been decided, so for now just note the date. This ride will of course be in addition to our normal monthly run, which will be on the 10 December.

Friday 14 October 2022

Alec Mann (1951-2022)

Photo credit: B&SS

I first got to know Alec Mann back in the early 2000s, when he and I were both regular riders on the Spokes Sunday bike rides. When I helped to set up Edinburgh 20-Milers in 2004, Alec was one of our first members and quickly became a familiar figure in the group. His last ride with us was last month's run to South Queensferry. He died a couple of weeks later at the age of 71.

Alec was very much a stalwart of the local cycling community. He frequently cycled with Mellow Velo and organised and led many of their cycling weekends. He was known for his near-encyclopaedic knowledge of local bike routes, and always took care to recce his rides in great detail. He was a long-standing member of Spokes, and served on their planning committee. He helped with the preparation of Spokes' bike maps, and was meticulous in checking their accuracy. As well as cycling, he enjoyed walking, and often went out with the walking group at St Peter’s Church in Lutton Place, where he was an active member of the congregation.

Alec Mann was born in St. Albans in 1951. Because of his father's work, the family frequently moved around the country, so Alec spent his childhood in various places, including Altrincham, Bristol and Edinburgh, amongst others. To avoid having to constantly change schools, he attended Shrewsbury School as a boarder. He then went to Edinburgh University where he developed a deep interest in computer science. This was to become the basis of his career. He remained at the university, working mainly at the King's Buildings as a software developer in the agricultural sector. He was latterly a consultant with Biomathematics & Statistics Scotland where he provided technical and statistical support for various agricultural research projects. He retired a few years before his death.

Alec is survived by his mother (aged 96 and still independent), a sister, brother, nieces and a great-niece. I know that the 20-Milers membership will wish to join me in passing on our condolences to his family. 

Funeral arrangements

Alec's funeral will take place in the Main Chapel at Mortonhall Crematorium, Howdenhall Road, on Thursday 27 October at 14:00. No flowers, please. There will be a collection in aid of Bethany Christian Trust.

Mike Lewis

Saturday 8 October 2022

I don't know where we are

Cockenzie House was today's destination. The Meadows, Musselburgh and Cockenzie House - a quite straight forward ride by a well known route then? Not at all. At the briefing, the leader informed the group that whilst much of the route would be on familiar roads and paths, there would be a couple of stretches that would be completely new to most. So the scene was set for an interesting route, with some nice East Lothian scenery thrown in. The weather forecast suggested sunny intervals, pleasant temperatures and no rain. As it turned out, two out of three ain't bad. Good weather and the promise of an interesting route led to a turnout of 28 riders - second highest of the year.

Not long after leaving the Meadows, we came across an obstacle. We couldn't cross St Leaonard's Street at the usual crossing as new tar had been laid a short time before our arrival. A very helpful road worker informed us we would have to go up the pavement and cross further up. This slight detour didn't delay us for long. Safely across, and we were soon through the tunnel and travelling down the Innocent Railway. At Brunstane station, we turned left as if heading for the Brunstane Burn path. But we carried straight on to follow a less familiar path as it threaded through the Gilbertstoun estate. With the first unfamiliar section behind us, we re-joined the usual route to Musselburgh station. Paths, quiet back streets and a footbridge over the River Esk saw us on The Grove for a short distance, before turning onto a path that took us to Inveresk. A left and right and we were on Crookston Road, which peters out to become a path running alongside the A1 slip road. A short pause to regroup beside the site of the Battle of Pinkie, and we were on the road towards Whitecraig which crosses the A1. A left turn, and it looked as if we were heading for the steep climb that is Fa'side Hill. Those that knew where they were, looked worried. There had been no mention of this steep hill at the briefing. The leader then turned left onto a flat strtech of road and stopped. We then had a stop for cake thanks to Iain. Pressing on towards St Clement's Well, there were several comments about how beautiful it was riding past sheep grazing in the fields. The comment, "I don't know where we are" was also heard from many. The road ended and a path lead us on a footbridge over the A1 to emerge amongst the new houses being built on the edge of Wallyford. A track led us between the unfinished houses to emerge at Wallyford Industrial Estate. Down to the traffic lights, turn right and we were heading towards the top side of Prestonpans. We stayed on that familiar road until we turned left and took a path down to the site of the Battle of Prestonpans. Back on the road for a short stretch and we arrived at Cockenzie House for our lunch stop. Most of the group headed to the cafe, but a few opted to picnic in the park across the road where they dined in the warm sunshine.

We left Cockenzie House by the rear entrance. This avoided the main road and took us past Cockenzie harbour. Avoiding the main road, we were soon on the new cycle path. With no shelter, this was where we were hit with a brief but heavy shower. Back onto the coast road, we left Prestonpans and joined the cycle path beside the Firth of Forth. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing flood defence works, a section of the coast path is closed. This meant we had to re-join the road for a while, before turning off and getting back on the coast path. Onwards to Fisherrow Harbour for a comfort stop before joining the road towards Portobello. At the bottom of Milton Road we took the Brunstane Burn path to Brunstane station. The run back into town saw us retrace our outward route from the morning. We had another slight delay at St Leaonard's Street. The tar was now dry, but the crossing was not working and traffic was heavy. Back at the Meadows the leader declared the ride over.

Everyone seemed to have enjoyed the ride. There were no problems and it lived up to expectations about seeing new places. A successful ride. What more can anyone ask for?

Leader: Glenn

Report: Glenn

Photos: Glenn

Monday 3 October 2022

October ride this coming Saturday

 I hope you will be able to join us this coming Saturday (8th) for our October ride.

One of the nice things about our rides is that they provide a chance to discover new and unfamiliar bike routes. This month's run is no exception. Glenn will be leading us into East Lothian, mostly on familiar roads and paths, but with a couple of stretches that I'm sure will be completely new to most of the group. It promises to be an interesting route, with some nice scenery as a bonus.

The ride will be slightly longer than our usual "second Saturday" outings: about 25 miles in all. But there won't be any really nasty hills, and we'll be riding on good surfaces most of the time. There will however be a few rough patches that might be muddy in places. There will also be a couple of stretches on main roads, although with luck these won't be too busy.

Lunch stop

For our lunch stop, we'll head to Cockenzie House. There is a friendly cafe there which offers a good range of snacks and light lunches. For those of us who prefer to bring our own food, there are plenty of places to picnic in the house's grounds or in the park across the street.

Time and place

We'll meet at our usual spot at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk in time for a 10:30 departure.

Looking ahead

Unfortunately, we haven't managed to organise another of our Extra rides this year. There simply wasn't time to arrange this before the autumn weather sets in. But rest assured that they will be back next spring. We did run four very successful Extras this summer, which is four more than in each of the previous two years. I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did.

We will, of course, continue our standard rides throughout the winter. Look out for an announcement of our November outing nearer the time.

Saturday 24 September 2022

On the right track for a lovely ride

For what will probably be the final Extra ride of the year, today saw us head west to Bo'ness Station on the preserved Bo'ness and Kinneil Railway. It was a lovely route, being very quiet and peaceful in many parts. There was one puncture which delayed us slightly; but no one minded as it was in a lovely setting with the warm sun beating down on us. The weather was much better than expected with some lovely warm sunshine at times. Twelve riders turned up. Those that didn't, missed a lovely ride that was enjoyed by all.

Following an in depth route briefing from the leader, we left Craigleith and took the familiar route to Cramond Brig via Silverknowes and Barnton. After the obligatory pause on the bridge, we headed up to the Burnshot Bridge and took the road towards Kirkliston. It was good to leave that busy road behind and wheel our bikes up the rough and rocky path to join the old railway path. Riding through the trees, a few of the group commented on how quiet and peaceful it was. That peace was interrupted by several riders shouting, "turn left!" as three riders sailed past the left turn up to the road. In no time at all, we had regrouped and were riding through Kirkliston. After a comfort stop at the leisure centre, there was a short stretch on the road to Winchburgh. A bridge under the M9 motorway, and we turned left onto a quiet road. Another bridge under the M9 and we were in lovely countryside heading towards Niddry Castle. We left the road and joined the Union Canal towpath for the next 4 miles to Philipstoun. From there more quiet roads led us towards the busy A904. We crossed the M9 for the third time, this time the bridge taking us over it. A very short stretch on the busy A904, a left turn and we were again on a quiet road. There followed a delightful downhill run to Blackness where we joined the lovely coast path towards Bo'ness. Most of the coast path is wide and well surfaced, but there is a stretch through the woods that is rough and unsurfaced. Through Bo'ness, and we arrived for our lunch stop at Bo'ness Station, where we all sat outside to enjoy lunch in the warm sunshine. A few took the opportunity to have a look round and visited the model railway exhibition.

The coast path took us back to Blackness, where we joined NCN 76 through Wester Shore Wood and the Hopetoun Estate. This section was by far the roughest and bumpiest of the day. Perhaps not surprisingly, one unfortunate rider suffered a puncture on this stretch. Is there such a thing as an idyllic setting for a puncture? If so, I think we found it. As a few of the group set about sorting the puncture, the rest of us enjoyed the break with the warm sunshine beating down, the beautiful estate grounds and deer grazing nearby. Puncture fixed, and we were rolling again. We left the estate and made our way into South Queensferry. Skirting the town, we were soon at Dalmeny village. From there, the path beside the B924 and A90 led us back to Cramond Brig, where we paused on the bridge. Back to Craigleith by the same route we had taken out. Here the leader declared the ride over.

Thanks to Alan for leading such a successful ride. There were a number of comments on a lovely route and great scenery, in addition to how quiet and peaceful it was in places. The weather was exceptionally kind to us - much better than expected. Earlier, one rider had turned to the writer and said, "I knew there was something different about this ride, but I couldn't put my finger on it. Then I realised - there was no wind". A conversation ensued on what a windy year it's been. Thanks to Saquib for his maiden outing as backmarker. A job well done.

Leader: Alan

Report: Glenn

Photos: Glenn 

Monday 19 September 2022

20-Milers Extra to Bo'ness this coming Saturday

 We've got the fourth of this summer's Extra rides coming up on Saturday (24th). Details below.

Please remember that these Extra rides are longer and faster than our usual "second Saturday" runs, with fewer stops - and therefore fewer opportunities for stragglers to catch up. This week's ride in particular will be nearly twice as long as our usual runs, with an inevitable increase in speed. Please keep that in mind when deciding whether to join the ride.

Route and destination

Our destination on Saturday will be Bo'ness Station on the preserved Bo'ness and Kinneil Railway. Alan will be our guide. We'll be heading out on a mainly inland route, by way of Kirkliston, Niddry Castle and Philpstoun. This part of the ride will follow a variety of roads and paths, including four miles of canal towpath and a couple of stretches on main roads. Most of the paths will have good surfaces, but there will also be a couple of rough stretches. We'll have some gentle climbing throughout the morning, followed by a nice down-hill run towards lunch time.

For the return leg, we will take a very scenic route along the the Firth of Forth and through the woods of the Hopetoun Estate. This part of the route can best be described as undulating. Again, there will be some rough patches.

The total distance will be 38 - 40 miles.

Lunch arrangements

Bo'ness Station has plenty of picnic tables and a well-stocked cafe. However, because there will be steam trains running on the day of our visit, the cafe is likely to be busy, so you might want to avoid the queue by bringing a packed lunch. Another option would be to pick up a sandwich at the large Tesco next door. Note that, because more than half our mileage will be in the morning, lunch is likely to be on the late side.

Meeting time and place

Our meeting point for this ride will be the path junction at
Craigleith  (see here if you are not sure where that is). We'll set out at the earlier time of 10:15. It's hard to say what time the ride will end, but I think it unlikely that we will get back to Craigleith before about 16:00.

Other information

As always, please bring a spare inner tube, and - if you don't have quick-release hubs - whatever tools are needed to remove your wheel. If you are not sure what you need, your favourite bike shop should be able to advise.

Because this is a particularly long ride, I suggest you also bring plenty of water and some snacks to keep up your energy levels.

There are, of course, toilets at the lunch stop, but we will also have a toilet stop part way through the morning.

Finally, the ride will go ahead even if the weather is bad. Light rain or a stiff breeze won't put us off. But if the conditions are particularly atrocious, we might opt for a shorter ride and perhaps a cafe visit. But the meeting time and place will still be as stated above.

I think that covers everything - except a reminder that our next "second Saturday" run will be on 8 October.

Saturday 10 September 2022

A sunny South Queensferry jaunt

Today's ride saw us head to that ever-popular destination of South Queensferry. The weather forecast suggested we were in for pleasant temperatures and sunny intervals. Given some of the torrential downpours of recent days, we were hoping it was accurate. What we eventually got was blue skies, bright sunshine and higher than expected temperatures. A turnout of 18 riders was acceptable - that seems to be about the figure we expect these days.

Following the obligatory route and safety briefing from the leader, we headed to Leamington Bridge via Bruntsfield Links. From there we continued to the well known zig-zags at Russell Road via Fountainbridge and the Telfer subway. One rider struggled up the zig-zags and stopped at the top with gear problems. Alan, our resident mechanic was on hand to help, and following a slight delay we were all back together and on our way via Craigleith, Silverknowes and Barnton to Cramond Brig. We stopped on the bridge whilst two riders offered round cake. A few lucky riders also saw a kingfisher darting about above the river below. A short sharp climb and we were on the path beside the busy A90. Up beside the B924 and we paused at the entrance to the Dalmeny estate to regroup. Through Dalmeny village and on to the path that brought us out at the Co-op in South Queensferry. Down the hill, right at the new traffic lights and we were on South Queensferry High Street. We parked up at the steps leading down to the beach. On such a lovely sunny day, most of the group stayed there to enjoy their picnic lunches.

Lunch over, we mounted up and rode along the cobbled High Street through the town, turning off to head under the Forth Rail Bridge and into the Dalmeny estate. The path varied between smooth tarmac and rough unsurfaced track with a few climbs and descents to contend with. Despite the heavy rain in the last few days, mud wasn't a problem. We emerged just above Cramond Brig, where again we paused before heading back towards town. Our route back being the same as we had taken out in the morning. At the Cramond Road South / Silverknowes Terrace cut-through we came across several dog walkers who believed 18 cyclists had no right to be on this recognised shared cycle and foot path. The backmarker stopped to politely debate the matter with them. Not sure if it will make any difference. From there we had a relatively trouble-free ride back to the Meadows, making a couple of detours to avoid road works. Here the leader declared the ride officially over. 

All seemed to have enjoyed the ride. One comment summed it up perfectly, "I've been to South Queensferry many times; but this was a lovely route and it's so much nicer when riding in a group. Thanks to Yaz for leading, Neil for back marking and the weather for being so kind to us.

Leader: Yaz

Report: Glenn

Photos: Glenn

Monday 5 September 2022

September ride this coming Saturday

 We've got our September ride coming up on Saturday (10th). I hope you will be able to join us.

For this ride, Yaz will be leading us on one of our ever-popular routes. We'll be heading out of town via NCN 1 to South Queensferry, then returning by way of the scenic Dalmeny Estate. There will be some moderate hills, but nothing too demanding. The cycle path through the Dalmeny Estate has several rough patches, but apart from that we will be on reasonable surfaces most of the time. The total distance will be 22 miles.

The meeting time and place are the same as ever: 10:30 at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk. As always, the ride is open to all, with no advance booking.

There are one or two nice picnic spots at South Queensferry for those who like to bring their own lunch. For the rest, there are a number of cafes to choose from.

Looking ahead

We are hoping squeeze a couple more of our Extra rides into this summer's programme. We've pencilled in 24 September for the next of these. I'll confirm the date, and post details, as soon as these have been finalised.

Saturday 20 August 2022

In the wheel tracks of Logan

Although it was a week earlier on this occasion, the 20 Milers Extra ride to the Merryhatton Garden Centre has become a regular fixture for the last Saturday in August. As mentioned at the briefing, this ride remains as a lasting legacy to the stalwart of the group, Logan Strang. Can it really be five years since he passed away? It's a lovely route that meanders through the delightful East Lothian countryside. As Logan used to say with a wry smile, with the exception of one hill, it's relatively flat. Despite a weather forecast suggesting light rain until early afternoon, it was good to see a turn out of 18 riders. In the end, there were only a few spots of rain; but it was quite windy which was most noticeable on the return leg.

With the briefing over we left Fisherrow Harbour, crossed the River Esk by the Electric Bridge and headed to the track beside the sea wall. The track remains open, but the views are obscured by the fencing in the area - all part of the ongoing work on the flood defences. As a result, we had to nip onto the coast road and back onto the path to reach Prestonpans. The main road and new shared use path took us to Cockenzie Harbour and through quiet back streets and paths to avoid the main road as far as Seton Sands. The coast road wasn't too busy, and with a helping tail wind we were soon approaching Aberlady. The leader stopped at a gateway and gave the riders a choice - stay on the main road or take the unsurfaced path that winds through the trees alongside the road. The majority took the latter option, and we were soon on a quiet back road that bypassed Aberlady's busy high street. We were now on quiet roads passing typical East Lothian farm land. The county is one of contrasts. Many think only of its coastline and lovely beaches. But head inland (as we were doing) and there is delightful rolling farmland. It is then topped off by the bleak wilderness of the Lammermuir Hills. A further stretch of main road took us to Drem station, where we turned off and quiet roads took us to Merryhatton and our lunch stop. All but three of the group went to the garden centre café. The remaining three continued a short distance up the road and picnicked in the peace of the New Athelstaneford cemetery.

Despite grey skies and a spot or two of rain, the picnickers remained dry. We regrouped and headed past the Museum of Flight onwards to Athelstaneford. Pausing beside the church, we read the notice board explaining the supposed origin of the Scottish flag. Leaving the village behind, we were confronted by the obligatory headwind that seems to go with that stretch of road. We pressed on past the Hopetoun monument to be confronted with the only real climb of the day. Fortunately, the wind was now from the side.  A brief pause, a short stretch of flat road and it was payback time as we zoomed down a steep hill. Relatively straight and flat roads took us to the level crossing beyond Longniddry. The barriers were down, so we had to wait a few minutes before the train passed and they went up. Across the dual carriageway and onto the cycle path. We realised we were four riders down. It turned out they had taken the road into Longniddry rather than to the level crossing. A few minutes of waiting and they re-joined us. A short while later we were zooming down another hill to the sea in Port Seton, where we had a comfort stop. Our route back was the reverse of out outward one, but with a detour to pass the Prestongrange Museum. At the Electric Bridge, the leader declared the ride over. Some headed away for tea and cake, whilst the rest headed back to Fisherrow for the return journey to Edinburgh.

Once again the Extra ride to Merryhatton was a success. The weather stayed dry and was pleasant; shame about the wind, but it could have been a lot worse. Everyone seemed to enjoy the ride - which is what it's all about. Thank you Logan for leaving such a great ride as your legacy to the group.

Leader: Glenn

Report: Glenn

Photos: Glenn

Tuesday 16 August 2022

Merryhatton Extra this coming Saturday

We promised you two rides this month. We had the first of these last Saturday (see our previous post on this blog). The second one takes place this coming Saturday (20th). This will be one of our Extra rides, which are longer and faster than our usual runs.

For this ride, we will meet at Fisherrow Harbour in Musselburgh. Please be there in time for a 10:30 departure.

Glenn will be leading us into East Lothian, with a lunch stop at Merryhatton. The round-trip distance from the meeting point will be about 36 miles. Musselburgh is some seven miles from the city centre, so if you are coming from
central Edinburgh, your total mileage will be nearer 50. Please keep that in mind if you are more accustomed to our usual 20-mile runs. Inevitably, Saturday's ride will go at a faster pace, will have fewer stops and will finish later in the afternoon (probably towards 5 pm, but don't hold me to that).

The route

For much of the outward leg, we will follow the East Lothian coast road, which is an A-road and therefore possibly busy with traffic. But it has the advantage of being reasonably flat - not to mention having excellent views over the Firth of Forth. We'll turn inland at Aberlady, after which the roads will be quieter with just a few gentle hills.

The return leg will take us through Athelstaneford and past the Hopetoun Monument. This will also be on quiet roads, with a couple of moderately steep hills, before re-joining the coast road near Seton Sands. 

Lunch arrangements

Our lunch stop will be at the garden centre at Merryhatton. The restaurant there (which is now table service) offers a range of sandwiches, baked potatoes, a soup of the day and other snacks. The eating area is entirely under cover: there is no terrace or other open-air eating space.

For those of us who prefer to bring a packed lunch, we have identified a quiet spot for a picnic about half a mile from the garden centre. Note that there is limited seating there, so be prepared to sit on the grass if necessary. Picnickers can use the toilets at Merryhatton (there are also toilets at the meeting point, and we will have an additional comfort stop on the way home).

I think that covers everything - except to remind you to bring a spare inner tube in case of a puncture, as well as any tools needed to remove your wheel. And because it will be a long ride and with the recent high temperatures in mind, I advise you also bring plenty of water or other drink.

Sunday 14 August 2022

Meandering to Mortonhall

Today's outing was our second try at a route that we attempted in February 2020 but which we were forced to abandon because of the dangerous winds of Storm Clara. No such worries this time. The day was bright and sunny with just a gentle breeze. By the afternoon, the thermometer had reached a pleasant mid-twenties – thankfully escaping the ridiculously high temperatures being experienced elsewhere in the UK.

Seventeen of us assembled at the Meadows. Our leader, Alison, gave a comprehensive briefing, with warnings of several hills along the way. And then we set off, starting out on the familiar route over Bruntsfield Links and up to Hermitage Drive, and then through Braidburn Valley Park to Greenbank. This involved a fair bit of climbing: a taster for what was to come.

On leaving the park, we made a sharp left turn onto the Cockmylane Path. This is part of a traditional route known as "Robert Louis Stevenson's Road to Swanston and the Pentlands". Stevenson was born and brought up in the New Town, but his parents rented a holiday cottage in the old village of Swanston at the foot of the Pentland Hills. Our route today was the route that RLS supposedly took when travelling between home and cottage. Clearly Stevenson didn't use a bike; the steep rough path is more suited to walkers than cyclists. 

After a substantial climb, we emerged into Caiystane Drive, and then across Oxgangs Road and up Swanston Road to Swanston village. Although still heading up hill, we were now on a well-surfaced road. We stopped for a long-ish rest stop at the top of the village, amid the thatched cottages that give the area its picturesque appearance. (According to one source, these are now the only inhabited thatched buildings in the Lothians.) Some of the group wanted to know where RLS's cottage was. Unfortunately, this is not visible from the village, being at the end of a track on the far side of the farm steadings.

The rest stop over, we headed eastward along another track – very rough but at least it was level - which emerged at the main road at Lothianburn. We now had to deal with two tricky road crossings, these being the busy slip roads leading onto and off the City Bypass. Our leader did a good job of shepherding us across these without incident. 

Our next leg took us through the Winton Estate. This has no connection with the estate of Winton Castle near Pencaitland (which we sometimes pass through when cycling in East Lothian), but is a modern housing estate named for the family of the wife of the owner of the land in the 1930s. We paused briefly to look at a much older house on the edge of the estate. Thanks to some instant on-line research by one of the group, we discovered that this was the 18th Century Morton House, part of the Mortonhall Estate. 

Speaking of which, after a nice downhill run along Frogston Road, we were soon at our lunch stop at the Mortonhall Garden Centre. A few of the group headed for the restaurant inside the centre, while others elected to picnic outside in the sun. 


After lunch, we regained Frogston Road, where it was obvious that something was very wrong with the traffic, with cars backed up in both directions as far as the eye could see. It turned out that this was the result of wildfires on the City Bypass at Straiton. (Wildfires in Edinburgh? Whatever next?) Of course, traffic jams don't bother us. With a certain amount of schadenfreude we were able to whiz past the stationary cars to quickly reach the traffic lights at Burdiehouse Road and Captain's Road.

The next stage was a very pleasant mile or so through Burdiehouse Burn Valley Park, along a well-surfaced path with just a few gentle ups and downs. This was followed by a short stretch though Ellen's Glen and into Gilmerton Road. We continued past the Inch Park, then along the edge of Craigmillar Castle Park and on to the familiar Innocent Path and so back to the Meadows. 

Thanks to Alison for leading us on such a delightful route. Thanks also to Ken for stepping up to back mark at short notice. At 16 miles, it was not exactly a long ride, but with the initial hills and the rough paths it was just enough of a challenge to make it a worthwhile day out – and a most enjoyable one.

Leader: Alison 

Report and photos: Mike

Monday 8 August 2022

Two rides for August


We've got two rides in the pipeline for the next couple of weeks: one short and one long. Here are the details.

Saturday 13 August: Southern outskirts

For this coming Saturday, Alison will be leading us on an attractive route through the southern outskirts of the city. Our route will include the Cockmylane path, the old village of Swanston, the Winton Estate and Burdiehouse Burn Valley Park.

The mileage will be a little less than the nominal twenty miles. But be warned that there will be several hills, including a couple of fairly steep ones. There will also be several stretches on rough tracks. But we will take these difficulties at our usual steady pace, and cheerfully wait for stragglers.

Our lunch stop will be in the Mortonhall Estate, This is a good spot for a picnic, so feel free to bring a packed lunch. Toilets are available in the garden centre. If you prefer to eat indoors, the Topiary Restaurant offers a good selection of soup, sandwiches and light meals.

The ride will start at our usual meeting point at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk. We will set out at 10:30, and aim to arrive back at the Meadows around mid-afternoon.

Saturday 20 August: East Lothian

The following Saturday will see our third Extra of the season. These rides are faster than our usual "second Saturday" runs and have fewer stops. For this run, we will meet in Musselburgh, then head into East Lothian, with a lunch stop at the Merryhatton garden centre. The round trip distance from Musselburgh will be 36 miles (but keep in mind that Musselburgh is about seven miles from the city centre, so if you are starting from town, your total distance will be closer to 50 miles).

I'll post more details of this ride's meeting time and place, route and lunch arrangements early next week.

Please keep in mind ...

... that any information that we circulate in advance about any of our rides should be regarded as provisional. We occasionally need to make last-minute changes to the route or the lunch arrangements according to conditions on the day and other factors. However, the meeting time and place will always remain as advertised.

That's all for now. I hope to see you on one or more of our rides.

Saturday 23 July 2022

Across the water to Fife

Our second 20 Milers Extra ride of the year saw us head across the water to Fife. Following a week which saw the record for the warmest day in Scotland broken, we were expecting good weather. We had a bit of drizzle at the lunch stop and it was pleasantly warm; but it was nothing compared to the stifling heat seen earlier in the week. Good summer cycling weather.

A reasonable turnout of 18 riders listened to the leader's customary route and safety briefing before we headed off from Craigleith towards Silverknowes. The familiar route took us through Barnton and on to our obligatory pause at Cramond Brig. From there NCN 1 took us up the path beside the A90 to the Dalmeny estate's Chapel Gate, where we crossed the B924 and headed to Dalmeny village. Through the new housing development and more of South Queensferry's quiet back streets saw us emerge at the Forth Bridges viewing area for a comfort stop. The foot and cycle path on the east side of the Forth Road Bridge is currently closed. As a result, we had to go down and up the service road to get onto the west side. Crossing the bridge, there was little wind, it was pleasantly warm and far below, there was barely a ripple on the water. Not surprisingly, several rides commented on how there remains a magical quality to crossing the bridge - no matter how many times you've done it before.

One rider was delayed when their chain came off on the bridge. The group waited, and we were soon back together and on the good cycle path leading towards Rosyth. Unfortunately, it finishes abruptly forcing riders onto the B981. It's a narrow, twisting road with blind brows. Add to that several psychopathic drivers, and this was the least enjoyable part of the whole route. Leaving that nasty stretch of road behind, Hilton Road took us past the MOD Caledonia military base. There followed a mile on the busy A985 Admiralty Road. The leader had warned us about this road at the briefing. But with it being a wide, flat, straight road and having considerate drivers on it, there were no problems. A left at the roundabout, along Bankholm Brae and Grange Road, left at the traffic lights and we arrived at the entrance to Dunfermline's Pittencrief Park. Up the hill through the park to the Glen Pavillion, and we were at our lunch stop. Some riders headed for the cafe, others sat on the grass to eat their picnics, whilst a few bagged a picnic table under the trees.

There was some light drizzle as we finished our lunch and began our return leg; but it soon petered out. With one exception, our return saw us retrace our outward route. The exception being when Dawn led us on a path off the busy A985 across a field, and through an housing estate. This took us into Rosyth avoiding a section of the busy main road. Unfortunately, we still had to endure the unpleasant B981 and an even more psychopathic driver. Pleased to have survived that stretch of road unscathed, the remainder of the homeward route passed without incident until we were almost back at Craigleith. On the final stretch of the cycle path, a wobble or lapse of concentration led to two of the group colliding and ending up on the deck. Others helped them untangle themselves. Fortunately, there was no damage or injury, so we continued back to the start where the leader declared the ride officially over.

Thanks to Alan for leading us on an interesting ride which was enjoyed by all, and thanks to Dawn for leading us on the detour on the way back. If only we could find an alternative to the B891 - there's a challenge before our next excursion to Dunfermline.

Leader: Alan

Report: Glenn

Photos: Glenn

Monday 18 July 2022

20-Milers Extra to Dunfermline this coming Saturday

We've got the second of this year's Extra rides coming up on Saturday (23rd). Alan will be leading us on an excursion over the Forth Road Bridge and into Fife, with a lunch stop in Dunfermline. The route will be on a variety of roads and paths, and that includes a couple of stretches on main roads that might be busy with traffic. The total distance will be about 35 miles.

As you might know, Dunfermline was built on high ground. That means that there will be some long-ish climbs in the morning, and some nice free-wheeling after lunch - but no real killers.

Please remember that these Extras go at a somewhat faster pace than our normal rides, with fewer stops. They are suitable for those of our riders who find our usual runs well within their capabilities. Those who are less fit or who haven't cycled for a while will probably prefer to skip this one.

Lunch arrangements

Our lunch stop will be in the delightful Pittencrieff Park in the centre of Dunfermline. This is an ideal spot for a picnic, so either bring some lunch with you or aim to pick up a sandwich at the nearby Tesco. There's also a cafe in the park that serves a good range of snacks and hot drinks.

Meeting time and place

For this ride, we'll meet at the Sustrans marker at the Craigleith path junction (see here if you need directions). Please aim to get there in time to leave promptly at 10:15.

As always, please bring a spare inner tube in case you are hit by a puncture, as well as whatever tools you need (if any) to remove your wheels. And given the current hot weather, be sure to bring plenty to drink, to avoid dehydration.

I hope to see you on Saturday. If you can't make it (and even if you can), our next standard 20-miler ride will be on 13 August.

Saturday 9 July 2022

Three reservoirs and plenty of sun

If today wasn't the warmest day of the year, it must have been very close. Our ride saw us head up to Harlaw Reservoir in the Pentland Hills. We had a slight delay due to a mechanical issue early on, and there was a minor incident with some cows. But overall an interesting route and glorious scenery made for a great day out, with the leader receiving numerous compliments at the end.

We had a reasonable turnout of 21 riders. Amongst the regulars there were a couple of new faces and a rider we hadn't seen since pre-Covid days. It was already pleasantly warm with the sun shining down from a blue sky, with a gentle breeze as the leader gave the customary briefing. With the briefing over, we headed off to the Leamington Bridge. A rider was having a mechanical issue. Quick as a flash, Alan was there to help. A quick adjustment and we were on our way. Unfortunately, the issue wasn't cured, so another stop ensued. This time the tools came out and the delay was longer. As this occurred at the back, the leader and rest of the group were oblivious and pushed on. Stopping to regroup at the entrance to Roseburn Park, the leader was informed of the situation. After a wait and a phone call, the missing riders appeared and we set off to Edinburgh Park via Broomhall and South Gyle. Travelling in the opposite direction to usual, we took the familiar route to the Heriot Watt University campus where we stopped for a comfort break. Leaving the campus behind, we made our way through Riccarton and Currie, emerging from the new housing estate for a short stretch on the busy Lanark Road West. Leaving Balerno behind, we began the long steady climb up Bavelaw Road and Mansfield Road.  Pausing to regroup at the top of the climb, we then headed up to the Harlaw visitor centre for our lunch stop. Some riders opted for the picnic tables in the garden, whilst the rest enjoyed their picnic lunch sitting on the banks of the reservoir.

Lunch over, we headed away from the reservoir retracing our route to the road. Here we turned right  towards Currie. At the sharp left hander we went straight on rather than take the steep hill down into Currie. Shortly, the surfaced road came to an end and we were on a rough stony path for our descent past Clubbiedean and Torduff reservoirs. Before arriving at the first reservoir, following riders saw the leader stop, dismount and wheel his bike off the track and onto a wide stretch of grass. All riders followed his lead. Those at the back wondered what was happening; but as the drew closer, all became clear. A number of cows accompanied by their calves had decided to lie down in the middle of the path. To avoid disturbing or spooking them, the leader decided to give them a wide berth, especially as they had calves with them. Safely past and the lovely descent began in earnest. This was the most scenic part of the whole ride. The reservoirs and surrounding countryside look lovely at any time; but bathed in sunshine shining down from a clear blue sky looked absolutely stunning. Down off the hill and we were in the quiet back streets of Bonaly. The writer commented on how nice and colourful the houses looked. On too many previous occasions he had seen them on dull, grey and wet winter days. We headed on through Colinton, the estate behind Redford Barracks, Colinton Mains Park and Braidburn Valley Park. A short hop through the back streets of Morningside and we were on Whitehouse Loan. Here the leader declared the ride over. Thanks to Mike for leading an interesting and enjoyable ride. The numerous compliments he received were well deserved. Thanks to Alan for back marking and wielding the spanners.

Leader: Mike

Report: Glenn

Photos: Glenn 

Monday 4 July 2022

July ride this coming Saturday

We've got our July ride this coming Saturday (9th). It will be a particularly scenic route through some nice countryside, so I hope you'll be able to join us.

For this ride, we will be heading up to the edge of the Pentlands, with a picnic lunch at the Harlaw Reservoir. There will be a fair amount of climbing in the morning (it is the Pentland Hills, after all), but we will be rewarded with some nice downhills on the return leg. Most of the route will be on quiet roads and well-surfaced paths, with just a mile or two on rough tracks.

The total distance will be about 22 miles. About two thirds of the mileage will be in the morning, which means that we will have a late lunch followed by a relatively short run in the afternoon.

There is no catering of any kind at the reservoir, so be sure to bring food and drink for a picnic. If the weather is bad, bring a packed lunch anyway, as there is the possibility of an alternative lunch venue under cover.

There are toilets (portable loos) at the reservoir. We will also stop for a comfort break about half way through the morning.   

The meeting time and place are as constant as the North Star: 10:30 at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk. As always, the ride is free and open to all. You don't need to contact us in advance. Just turn up if you fancy joining us.

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