20th Anniversary Year

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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.