20th Anniversary Year

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Saturday 14 October 2023

How to get lost on the canal

There is a saying in the 20 Milers, "you can't get lost on the canal"; but today's ride to the climbing arena at Ratho saw us do just that. But, in all fairness, it was a matter of missing a turning to leave the canal that caused the problem.

After last Saturday's wall-to-wall heavy rain, it was a relief to see the sunshine today. There was a noticeable breeze and the temperature was below average for mid-October, but the sun stayed with us all day and there wasn't a drop of rain. Following a comprehensive route and safety briefing from the leader, 14 of us left the Meadows to head to the busy Morningside Road via Leamington Walk, Whitehouse Loan and Canaan Lane. The right turn into Balcarres Street at the lights could have been problematic, but we all got across relatively easily. At the end of Craighouse Gardens, we went through the gate in the wall to enter the delightful woods of Easter Craiglockhart Hill. For once, the ground was quite dry. We exited via several steep steps to emerge in Lockharton Crescent. From there we made our way to the busy Colinton Road. We quickly left that behind and were soon joining the Union Canal tow path, which we stayed on for a few miles. It became quieter and more rural as we left the city behind. The trees were beginnig to change colour. With the sunshine and reflections in the water, this was a lovely section of the ride. We left the canal near Ratho Park Golf Club and headed towards the Ratho village. At the back of the group, one unfortunate rider suffered a puncture. The backmarker headed after the group whilst others began to remove the wheel. The backmarker caught the group who were waiting in Ratho village. The group settled down to wait as Alan swapped his leader's hat for his chief mechanic one and headed back down the hill to help. It wasn't quite as straight forward as it might have been, but the puncture was fixed, the group were back together and we were rolling again. We climbed up through Ratho village to join the B7030 at Bonnington. From there, we had some lovely downhill to enjoy, and were soon at the climbing arena. We enjoyed an al fresco lunch at the picnic tables on the terrace, which was a great sun-trap.

Retracing our steps to the B7030, we turned right and just before the bridge carrying the M8, we turned left onto a steep rocky path up to the Union Canal. A couple of riders rode up, but the majority opted to push their bikes up. It was on this stretch that the ride began to unravel. After all, no one gets lost riding beside the canal, do they? The group got stretched out with the front section disappearing out of sight. So, when they left the canal at Ratho's Bridge Inn, those behind sailed past remaining beside the canal. After a while it began to dawn on some of us that the front group were not ahead. So we stopped chasing shadows and decided on our next move. A couple of phone calls later and we were heading back to the Bridge Inn. There we regrouped and began heading back towards the city. We followed quiet back roads, lanes and paths to emerge at Edinburgh Park. Through the Gyle shopping centre, past South Gyle station, through Broomhall and we were soon at Roseburn Park. From there, the familiar route took us back to the Meadows via Russell Road, the Telfer Subway, Fountainpark and the canal.

At the Meadows, the leader declared the ride officially over. There had been a couple of hic-cups along the way, but it had been an enjoyable ride with some lovely scenery and decent weather. Thanks to Alan for leading (and swapping over to become chief mechanic temporarily) and to Mike for back marking with a little help from Yaz.

Leader: Alan

Report: Glenn

Photos: Glenn

Monday 9 October 2023

October ride this coming Saturday

 We've got our October ride coming up next Saturday (14th).

Under Alan's leadership, we will be heading out to Ratho. The route will take us along some nice country lanes (with good views of the Pentland Hills), a couple of stretches on the canal towpath, and a short rough-ish path through some woods (which might be muddy). There will be more than a few hills especially in the morning, but no real killers. The total distance will be about 22 miles.

Our lunch stop will be at the climbing arena in Ratho. This has a café which serves hot and cold drinks and a limited selection of sandwiches and cakes. On past visits, the service there has been very slow, so you might prefer to bring a packed lunch. There are picnic tables on the terrace as well as some indoor seating (with views of the climbing wall). There are also vending machines selling hot and cold drinks.

As always, these details should be regarded as provisional. We sometimes need to vary the route and destination, depending on conditions on the day. But the meeting time and place are the same as ever: 10:30 at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk.

There's no need for you to contact us in advance. If you fancy joining us, just turn up a the meeting point.