20th Anniversary Year

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Saturday 23 March 2024

Across the windy city

Today's additional March ride had overtones of the Christmas day rides as it was shorter than usual, and was concentrated in the city centre. The new city centre cycle route, "City Centre West to East Link" (CCWEL) was officially opened earlier this week. It links the Water of Leith and Roseburn path in the west with Leith Walk in the east. To publicise it, we decided to put an additional ride in the calendar.

After some heavy rain in the previous week, we were hoping it would stay dry. The forecast suggested it would, and it did. But the forecast also warned of strong, gusty winds, and we certainly had those. A turn out of fourteen riders was quite reasonable, and it was good to see a few new faces and some we hadn't seen for some time.

Following a briefing from the leader, we headed towards Roseburn Park via the familiar route of Bruntsfield Links, Leamington Bridge and Fountain Park. We joined the path at Roseburn Terrace following it east along West Coates, past the former Donaldson's School, which looked very impressive in the sunshine. Along Haymarket Terrace, then the quiet Roseberry Crescent before skirting the south side of St Mary's Cathedral. Manor Place and Melville Street followed, before crossing Queensferry Street onto Randolph Place with a cut-through taking us to Charlotte Square. Between there and St Andrew Square, the section along George Street has yet to be completed. The completed path continued on North St David Street, the corner of St Andrew Square and along York Place. Rather than continue to Leith Walk via the Playhouse, we crossed York Place and headed down Broughton Street to join the bike path at King George Park following a comfort stop at Tesco. Via the Goldenacre path to Five Ways, the Ferry Road, Telford and Roseburn paths we arrived at the Russell Road zig-zags. Here the leader declared the ride officially over.

Thanks to Mike for leading and showing us the new path that is definitely a worthwhile addition to Edinburgh's cycle network. Everyone enjoyed the ride, and it was great to be cycling in the city centre on a normal Saturday without having to worry about the traffic. Thanks to Alison for back marking. If just some of today's riders make regular use of the new path, the ride will have been worthwhile.

Leader: Alison

Report: Glenn

Photos: Glenn

Sunday 17 March 2024

Special ride on 23 March

I'm pleased to tell you that we've managed to organise a special half-day ride for this coming Saturday (23 March) to celebrate the long-awaited opening of the City Centre West to East Link (CCWEL).

As you probably know, the CCWEL is a new bike route through Edinburgh city centre. It links the Water of Leith and the Roseburn Path in the west with Leith Walk in the east. Most (not all) of it runs alongside main roads but on completely segregated paths.

Time, place, route

For this ride, we'll meet as usual at 10:30, at our normal spot at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk. We'll head first to Roseburn Park, where we'll pick up the new path as it runs alongside West Coates and Haymarket Terrace and through the West End to Charlotte Square. The route then follows George Street, but this section is not yet segregated so we will be riding in traffic for a short distance. After another segregated section around St Andrew Square, we'll head down to Canonmills and George V Park. The return leg will be via the north Edinburgh bike paths.

The total distance will be about 14 miles. We'll be riding on good surfaces most of the time, with only a few gentle hills.

We'll plan to finish the ride at around 13:00. We won't organise a lunch stop, but there are plenty of cafes, sandwich shops and pubs near the finish for those who want to go for a meal or snack after the ride.

As with all our rides, this one is free and open to all, so feel free to tell your friends. We don't have any kind advance booking system, so just turn up on the day if you fancy joining us.

Official opening ceremony

I understand that there will also be an event to mark the official opening of the CCWEL this coming Wednesday (20 March). I don't have any further information except that it will take place in front of the Four Points hotel in Haymarket Terrace from 11:30 to 14:30

Looking ahead, our next "second Saturday" run will be on 13 April. 

Saturday 9 March 2024

Is this really the way to Roslin?

Our March ride saw us head out to Roslin in weather that would not have been out-of-place in January. The leader had devised an interesting route that took us through areas that few of us had visited before. We also had a journalist join the ride. He is writing an article about cycling in Edinburgh and decided that joining our ride would give him a good insight. He went away better informed, had enjoyed the ride and complimented the group for making him welcome. He also appreciated the informality and friendliness of the group. We're looking forward to reading the article in the "Financial Times" when published.

Despite it being a chilly, damp and overcast day, we managed to muster seventeen riders at the start. Quite impressive given the weather, and a forecast that promised no improvement.

Briefing over, the group headed off via Bruntsfield Links and Whitehouse Loan. We got split up at Streathearn Road where the traffic lights looked as if they would never change in our favour. On the brink of us all walking across at the green man, the lights finally changed. Just along the road, we regrouped and set off again. Through the quiet backstreets of Morningside and we were on Braid Road where we took the path through Hermitage of Braid. As ever, the path was busy with walkers and dogs. It was a bit muddy, but not as bad as it sometimes is. Through the traffic lights at Blackford Glen Road, a short sharp climb up Kirkbrae and we were on Double Hedges Road. We then cut through the back streets of Mount Vernon, before coming to a halt due to the dreaded shout of "puncture!" Alan helped the stricken rider as the rest of us hung around and waited. The delay was longer than expected due to the first tube getting nicked whilst refitting the tyre. Not a day for standing around in the cold, we were pleased to be on our way again. On entering Moredun Woods, the leader stopped and went round the group offering out his home baking. With everyone replenished, it was time to press on towards Roslin and lunch. Through Gilmerton and we were soon on the cycle track that would take us to lunch. In Roslin most of the group headed for the café, one or two made for the pub whilst three hardy souls headed to that popular picnic spot near Rosslyn Chapel - the grave yard.

Lunch over, we headed back to the cycle path to begin our homeward leg. This time we rode the full length of the path back to Danderhall. A mix of roads and paths saw us cross the Wisp and wiggle our way behind the Jack Kane Centre. On leaving the road and heading onto an indistinct grassy path, one rider was unlucky to fall. Fortunately, they were soon on their feet and able to continue. Emerging near to the Bingham bus terminus, we rode straight across the Innocent railway, which led to some puzzled looks on rider's faces. The less familiar route approach was going to continue, even as we neared the end of the ride. The route back to the Meadows took us behind Duddingston House, through Duddingston village and on the road through Holyrood Park. Before leaving the park, we had our final incident of the day. A rider's chain came off. Quick as a flash, the group's chain refitting guru - Yaz was on the case. Within a few minutes, we were on our way back to the Meadows where the leader declared the ride officially over.

Thanks to Iain for leading us on an interesting and unfamiliar route which was enjoyed by all. Thanks to Alan for backmarking and helping fix the morning's puncture. And begrudgingly, we need to thank the weather. Despite being very dull, damp and quite chilly - at least it didn't rain.

Leader: Iain

Report: Glenn

Photos: Glenn

Monday 4 March 2024

March ride this coming Saturday


We've got our March ride this coming Saturday (9th), when Iain will be leading us to Roslin. I hope you'll be able to join us.

Iain has led us to that particular destination several times before, and each time he has managed to find a different route. This month's ride will be no exception. We'll be using a mixture of quiet roads and off-road paths, with just a few not-too-difficult hills. But there will also be at least one rough stretch that is likely to be muddy. The total distance will between 20 and 22 miles.

As always with our rides, please regard the above details as provisional. The meeting time and place are always the same (see below), but we occasionally need to vary the route or destination, depending on circumstances on the day. This doesn't happen very often, but it is something to keep in mind.

Lunch choices

At Roslin, there is a nice quiet spot near the chapel and castle where we can eat our picnics. For those who prefer to have lunch indoors, Dolly's Tea Room offers a range of soup, sandwiches, toasties and panini at reasonable prices. A third option is the Original Rosslyn Inn, although this is somewhat more up-market (and more expensive) than the tea room.

Time and place

We'll set out from our standard meeting point at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk at the usual time of 10:30.

As you know by now, you don't need to tell us in advance if you plan to join us. Just turn up on the day.