EDINBURGH 20-MILERS

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Saturday 9 December 2023

A short wet cycle

For today's ride we departed from our usual format with a shorter than usual half-day ride finishing around lunch time. Given the weather, no one seemed bothered. The leader had devised an interesting and unusual route to Musselburgh involving some little-known back streets of Portobello, a newly surfaced path near the Honest Toun's station, and some quiet paths through the Gilbertstoun estate. Even our habitual riders found that there were parts of this route that they had never cycled before. It was a wet ride; but the rain wasn't heavy, there was hardly any wind and it was milder than it has been for a while. We did have a bizarre incident with a nimby in Portobello - more of which later.

Given that the day dawned wet from the start and the forecast was for heavy rain later, a turnout of 13 riders was quite good. Following the customary leader's briefing, we headed off to Holyrood Park and on to Duddingston village. Down Duddingston Road, across Milton Road, we waited at Hamilton Terrace to regroup. It was here that the bizarre nimby incident occurred. The leader/writer/photographer (one and the same) was taking photos of the riders on the segregated cycle lane when a local resident appeared telling him not to take photos of lots of riders on the cycle lane, as very few cyclists used it. He didn't want the photos to be used as part of a campaign suggesting the cycle lane was well used. A strange conversation followed where it was explained to him that the photos were being taken for a report on today's 20 Milers ride. The conversation became quite strange and the leader was rescued by Mike who told him politely that we were on a schedule and had to go. Fortunately he didn't run down the road after us trying to continue the conversation, but if he had, few of us would have been surprised. It was a relief to escape from the bizarre conversation. We continued down Brighton Place and onto Portobello prom. Just past the Portobello Swim Centre, we turned up Pittville Street Lane to begin our discovery of the delightful little lanes that exist so close to the prom. To avoid a deep puddle across the width of John Street Lane, we made a detour back to the prom and back up to James Street Lane. Here we found a second wide, deep puddle that stopped us in our tracks. This had not been there on the recce two weeks earlier. More backtracking to the prom followed, along Bedford Terrace and the narrow and cobbled Joppa Park to emerge on Joppa Road. Following that road to Musselburgh would have been the preferred choice; but our recce had flagged a hold up further along due to temporary traffic lights. So a steep little climb up Colliesdene Drive, a twiddle through more quiet back streets and we were on Milton Road. From there, it was an easy run to Fisherrow Harbour for a comfort stop. Ian kindly went round the group handing out lovely homemade mince pies. 

Suitably replenished, we pressed on to the river, ducked under Musselburgh's main road bridge and were soon crossing Olive Bank Road. From there, we joined the Grove to run alongside the River Esk, before crossing it on the footbridge. At Monktonhall, we nipped under the railway bridge on the path which had recently been resurfaced. So much better than the wet muddy mess it used to be, especially on a day like today. Up the lovely new cycle path to the station and back on the familiar territory that is the path to Newcraighall. At Gilbertstoun, we took the last less-familiar part of the route to twist through the estate and emerge at Brunstane station. The familiar Innocent Railway then took us back to the Meadows where the leader declared the ride officially over. He thought a round of applause was beginning, until the rider explained that he was simply trying to warm his cold hands. Perhaps next time. Despite that and the weather, everyone seemed to have enjoyed the ride, and no one seemed upset to have had a shorter route and earlier finish.


Leader: Glenn

Report: Glenn

Photos: Glenn

Monday 4 December 2023

Half-day ride this coming Saturday

As you might know, our rides take place right through the year, including during these winter months. However, for this month and next, we will be departing from our usual format. In December and January, our runs will be shorter than usual: just half-day rides, finishing around lunch time. This is partly in deference to the winter weather and the short daylight hours; and partly (in the case of December) because of the difficulty of finding lunch venues during the festive season.

With that in mind, here are the details of our next ride, which takes place this coming Saturday (9 December).

For this ride, Glenn has devised an interesting and unusual route, involving the back doubles of Portobello, the Musselburgh waterfront and a delightful stretch of the River Esk walkway. Even if you are one of our habitual riders, you might find that there are parts of this route that you have never cycled before.

The total distance will be about 16 miles. It should be a straightforward run, with no difficult hills and with generally good surfaces - apart from a couple of short cobbled stretches.

Time and place

The ride will start as usual at 10:30 form the north end of Middle Meadow Walk.

We will aim to get back to the Meadows by 13:00 at the latest. There will be no official lunch stop, but given the large number of pubs, sandwich shops and cafés near the finish, some of you may wish to get together for a meal or snack after the ride. But if you do, it won't be part of the official event.

Looking ahead

For various reasons, we have decided not to run our customary Christmas morning ride this year. It's possible that someone else will organise a ride for that day. If so, I will let you know.

Our January ride will follow the same half-day format as in December. From February, we will return to our usual full-day runs.

One more thing ...

As some of you will know, 2024 will be a momentous year in the history of the 20-Milers: our 20th anniversary. Our first ever ride took place on 11 September 2004. I would very much welcome any suggestions you might have for how we might mark this important milestone. Please get in touch if you have any ideas.