20th Anniversary Year

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Saturday 24 June 2023

In the heat of Midlothian


In all these years, the group has never been to Penicuik. On what must have been one of the warmest days of the year, our second Extra ride of 2023 saw us head to the Midlothian town. The skies were overcast with the occasional spell of bright sunshine, but boy was it warm. There was a noticeable breeze, but even that was warm. We mustered just thirteen riders at the Fisherrow Harbour starting point, which was a little surprising given the weather and the promise of a new destination. The leader had a good idea of how to get from there to the Grove until he spoke to the writer, who told him of a better way to avoid busy roads. As a result, the writer doubled up as temporary leader to guide the group on a twisty route through the quiet backstreets of Musselburgh. Once at the Grove, the reigns were handed back to the leader. At Whitecraig the leader surprised the writer by taking a new route to join the usual cycle path towards Dalkeith. We whizzed through Dalkeith's parks in the opposite direction to usual, over the Maiden Bridge and through the familiar kissing gate. Past the police station and Eskbank station before a comfort stop at Tesco. At this point, Iain kindly went round with homemade cakes. Leaving Tesco behind, we joined the cycle path which took us to Rosewell. There we joined NCN 73 for a delightful ride through the lovely Midlothian countryside to Penicuik, where most of us headed to Montgomery Park for a picnic, whilst a few opted to find somewhere to eat in town.

The group came back together and we left Penicuik on the A701 - the main road to Edinburgh. A combination of inconsiderate and near-psychopathic drivers, heavy traffic, poor road surface and laughable excuses for cycle lanes made that by far the least enjoyable part of the ride. Just before the Gowkley Moss Roundabout, with great relief, we left the road and joined a shared use cycle and foot path to negotiate our way onto the road for Roslin, where we joined the cycle path towards Shawfair. Leaving the path at Lasswade Road, a number of twists and turns on cycle paths and quiet roads took us to a comfort stop at Morrisons on Gilmerton Road. Through the backstreets of Moredun, along Old Dalkeith Road, through Craigmillar Castle Park and Peffermill and we were at the Innocent Railway. The coolness in the Innocent Tunnel was very welcome on the way back to town.

At the Meadows, the leader declared the ride officially over. Despite the heat and the very unpleasant road out of Penicuik, everyone enjoyed the ride. Thanks to Mike for leading and Alan for backmarker duties. It is very likely that we'll head to Penicuik again for an Extra ride; but we'll need to find a better route out of the town.

Leader: Mike

Report: Glenn

Photos: Glenn

Monday 19 June 2023

20-Milers Extra ride to Penicuik this coming Saturday

 We've got the second of this year's Extra rides fixed for this coming Saturday (24th). This time we will be heading into the depths of Midlothian with a lunch stop in Penicuik. This is a route which we have not done before as a group. Details below.

As you know, these Extra rides are longer than our usual runs, and go at a somewhat faster pace with fewer stops. Please keep that in mind when deciding whether this ride will be appropriate for your fitness level.

Saturday's route

For this ride, we'll start from Musselburgh, picking up the Dalkeith to Penicuik railway path just beyond Whitecraig. This is a delightful path through a deep wooded valley, often with dramatic views over the River Esk. On the return leg, the first mile or so will be on a busy main road, but we'll soon branch off onto a quieter route into Roslin and then via the bike path to Gilmerton. The last few miles will take us through quiet back streets in the south of the city, to finish at or near the top of the Innocent tunnel.

There will be some gentle hills throughout the day plus one fairly steep climb just before lunch. The total distance (Musselburgh - Penicuik - Edinburgh) will be about 32 miles.
Lunch arrangements

Those of us who like to bring a picnic will head to Montgomery Park in Penicuik. This is next to a leisure centre where there are toilets and vending machines selling hot and cold drinks. There is also some indoor seating in the centre where we can eat our sandwiches if the weather turns bad.

For those who prefer a café lunch, the Storehouse is a friendly community café which serves soup, filled rolls and  home-made cakes at very reasonable prices.

Time and place

For this ride, we'll meet at Fisherrow Harbour in Musselburgh. Please aim to be there in time for a punctual 10:30 departure. Note that Fisherrow is about seven miles from central Edinburgh, so depending on where you set out from, your total mileage could be nearer 40 than 30. Obviously there is no way of knowing for sure what time the ride will finish, but my guess is that we will back in town by about 4 pm or soon afterwards.

There are toilets at Fisherrow, and we will have an additional toilet stop about half way through the morning.

As with all our rides, the above information should be regarded as provisional. The meeting time and place are fixed, but we reserve the right to vary the route or the lunch venue according to conditions on the day. In particular, if the weather is really bad, we might opt for a shorter ride and perhaps more time in a café.

Whether or not we see you on Saturday, our next 20-mile run will be on 8 July. In the meantime, enjoy your cycling.

Saturday 10 June 2023

Carberry by a route less travelled

For today's ride, the leader promised us that whilst we would probably know the places we passed through, the route we would take would be unfamiliar to most. Following that rationale, we headed to Carberry via Musselburgh before returning to town. We were blessed with lovely weather. The sun shone down from a blue sky for the whole ride. If only the easterly breeze hadn't had a slight coolness to it, the day would have been a scorcher. It's early June, so perhaps even warmer days lie ahead. Given the weather and the promise of an unfamiliar route, we were expecting a particularly good turnout. With a couple of minutes to go we had a quite disappointing 13 riders. A last minute surge resulted in 20 starters. It was good to see new faces and returnees mixed in with the regulars There followed the customary briefing when the leader explained that just before lunch, we would split into two groups with one lot going to the pub, and the others to the chosen picnic site.

We headed away from the Meadows towards the Innocent Tunnel; but this time we swept past and into Holyrood Park. We zoomed down Queen's Drive (or is that now King's Drive?), past the Parliament, out of the park, along Meadowbank Crescent and up the stiff little climb that is Lilyhill Terrace. After a pause to catch our breath, a few left-right-left turns and we arrived at Willowbrae Road. Arriving at just the right time, we crossed it quickly and easily as we did with Northfield Broadway. We took quiet roads through Mountcastle, down Duddingston Road, past Portobello Golf Course and over the Baileyfield Bridge. More twists and turns through the backstreets of Joppa and we emerged on Milton Road. Right and left turns took us to Brunstane station. Instead of heading down the Brunstane Burn path, we took paths through the estate to emerge in Newcraighall. Across the road and we were on the path towards Musselburgh. This path has recently been upgraded and the temporary one has gone. A lovely ride followed to Musselburgh station, where we paused as Iain kindly passed round homemade cake. Suitably refuelled, we headed to The Grove and took the path to Inveresk. From there we made our way to the site of the Battle of Pinkie. Turning right on the A6094 seemed to take forever. The leader who has ridden that road numerous times, had never seen it so busy. Eventually, we all made the right turn before stopping at the left turn towards the dreaded Fa'side Hill. This is where the lunchtime split occurred. The leader took a group of seven to the Craig House pub for lunch, whilst Mike led the larger group on an extra loop taking in St Clement's Wells and the new housing development on the edge of Wallyford, before pressing on to the picnic stop in the churchyard at Inveresk. Both groups made the most of the weather to dine al fresco.

Mike and the leader had agreed to regroup at the end of the road leading up to Inveresk Church at 1330. With pinpoint accuracy, the leader and group of pub-goers arrived exactly as the clock struck 1330. A quick downhill stretch and we were at Tesco Musselburgh for a comfort break for those that had been picnicking. Over the main road bridge through the town, behind the Brunton Theatre and we were soon at Fisherrow Harbour. Another little twiddle took us Along Newhailes Avenue and Crescent to emerge on the road towards Portobello. At the bottom of Milton Road, we joined the Brunstane Burn path which via Daiches Brae took us to Brunstane station. From there, it was the familiar route back to the Meadows via the Innocent Railway with no more surprises. Once there, the leader declared the ride officially over. Everyone said how much they had enjoyed the ride. There was even a ripple of applause, much to the surprise and embarassment of the leader. A number of riders had said throughout the day that whist they knew the places they had been to, they had never been to them via today's route. They also admitted how hard they would find it to retrace the route due to the number of turns in quick succession.

Another successful ride which everyone seemed to enjoy and with lovely weather - what more can anyone wish for? Thanks to Mike for back marking and taking on the role of second leader just before lunch for the extra loop.

Leader: Glenn

Report: Glenn

Photos: Glenn

Monday 5 June 2023

Two 20-Milers rides for June

 We've got two 20-Milers runs planned for the coming weeks: our standard monthly ride this coming Saturday (10th), and one of our longer Extra rides two weeks later (24th). Here are the details.

10th June

For the first of this month's rides, Glenn will be leading us on an interesting route through the east of the city and into East Lothian. We will be using a mixture of bike paths and quiet roads, mostly with good surfaces. There will be a few hills, including a particularly steep one near the start, but we will take them at our usual steady pace and cheerfully wait for stragglers. The total distance will be a little over 20 miles.

For lunch, we will divide into two groups. Those who prefer to eat indoors will head to the Craig House Hotel in Whitecraig. This has a standard Brewer's Fayre restaurant which serves burgers, baked potatoes and the like. It's not gourmet cuisine, but should prove adequate.

Understandably, the folk at the hotel don't like people consuming their own food on the premises, so those of  us who prefer to bring a packed lunch will head to a nice picnic spot at nearby Inveresk. The two groups will meet up again after lunch. Note that there are no toilets at Inveresk, so we will have a comfort break about 15 minutes after leaving the lunch spot.

The meeting time and place are, I hope, ingrained in your brains: 10.30 at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk. Remember, there are no formalities for any of our rides: you just turn if you want to join us, or stay away if you don't.

24th June

The second ride this month will be an Extra. As you know, these Extra rides are longer than our usual 20-mile runs with a somewhat faster pace and fewer breaks. I'll post details of the meeting place, route and lunch arrangements for this ride nearer the time. For now, just note the date.

I hope you'll be able to join us for one or other of these rides. In the meantime, happy cycling.