20th Anniversary Year

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Saturday 13 May 2023

Gogarburn and the case of the missing keys

Today's ride had a new leader, new destination, the largest turnout for several years, the best weather so far this year and some drama thrown in for good measure. The weather clearly helped, but a turnout of 32 riders was impressive. From those that remembered the days when large numbers of riders were the norm, there was even talk of having to split into two groups to keep the ride manageable. Fortunately, that wasn't necessary on this occasion. An interesting and unusual route through the west of the city led us to our lunch stop at Gogarburn Golf Club near the airport.

Beneath blue skies and with warm sunshine, we left The Meadows and headed to the Russell Road zig-zags via the Leamington Bridge, Fountain Park and the Telfer Subway. At the Craigleith junction we headed towards Barnton and on to Cramond Brig where we had the obligatory stop. Turning left to take the subway under the A90, we were soon riding through the eerie abandoned housing estate once used for the military and their families at Craigiehall. After a stop at Grotto Bridge when Iain went round the group with homemade cakes, we continued through the woods before joining the road that took us to the Edinburgh Airport perimeter. Heading towards Maybury, a rider towards the back of the group suffered a puncture. Fortunately, Alan was on hand to assist. But when it was realised that the tyre was tubeless, he declared it, "game over!" Philip kindly agreed to accompany the unfortunate rider. The tyre was pumped up, fingers were crossed and the two abandoned the ride and headed off in search of a taxi or bike shop. The delay meant that half a dozen riders were now a considerable distance behind the rest of the group who were unaware of what had happened, and had continued on towards the lunch stop. From Maybury the group continued alongside the A8, crossed the bridge beside the Royal Bank of Scotland HQ and arrived at the Gogarburn Golf Club to find the rest of the group already tucking into lunch.

The golf club did us proud. A really good lunch stop. With lunch over, we were beginning to get ourselves ready to depart when the main drama of the day occurred. A rider had lost their keys. On the bunch was the key to unlock their bike which was fastened to another. Collectively we all searched high and low for the keys without success. Someone suggested we all checked pockets and bags in case they had been picked up by mistake - still nothing. Time was getting on. The hapless rider made a phone call and was going to have to wait for someone to arrive with a spare key. The rest of the group was just about to leave when a rider rather sheepishly said, "are these the keys?" retrieving them from their bag. Fortunately they were. The group gave a sigh of relief and we were soon on our way home. We headed towards Gogarbank Farm, turning off onto a track past Kellerstain. We had a long wait for the traffic lights at a bridge over the railway. It was then that we realised that half a dozen riders at the back were missing. We cut through by the chicken farm to emerge at Edinburgh Park. Despite waiting and sending a rider back to investigate, there was no sign of the others. As Alan was one of those missing, we knew if there was a mechanical issue or they had to make their own way back, they were in capable hands. As a result, we reluctantly pressed on without them. It turned out that the second puncture of the day explained their delay. We made our way back to The Meadows via Sighthill, Broomhouse, Murrayfield, Russell Road and the route we had taken out in the morning. Back at The Meadows, the leader declared [to the depleted field] that the ride was officially over.

Thanks to Graham for leading such a drama-filled ride. A baptism of fire for his first as leader. Also, thanks to him for an interesting route and arranging the great lunch stop. Thanks also to Alan for back marking and dealing with the two punctures.

Leader: Graham (Thompson)

Report: Glenn

Photos: Glenn

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