Come with us and explore Edinburgh's cycle paths at an easy pace.

Saturday, 20 September 2014


To celebrate our tenth birthday, many of our regular riders - including several who have been with us since our early days - met today for lunch at the Cramond Falls café.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

September ride to the EICA

We've had some terrific weather for our rides this summer, and this one was no exception: a real T-shirt and shorts day. Not surprisingly, we had high turnout, with about 26 riders turning up at Middle Meadow Walk. Unfortunately, ten thousand or so other folk had a similar idea. Apparently, the Orange Order had chosen this same spot for the start of their big parade.

With the Meadows seething with humanity, we started discussing alternative routes for our departure. Then the police arrived and asked us to immediately vacate the little corner that we were occupying. We hastily split into two groups. Peter Bennet led the first contingent, who struck out along Lauriston Place, Lauriston Gardens and Bruntsfield Links. The second group, under the leadership of Alan Orr, was delayed slightly be a puncture, but then followed the same route.

Once clear of the Meadows, progress was much smoother. We headed down Whitehouse Loan, across Morningside Road, along Balcarres Street, and through the delightful Craiglockhart Wood. At Allan Park, we joined the canal towpath, which we followed for four miles to Hermiston House Road. This was followed by a few more miles on minor roads - including a few hills - around the edge of Ratho.

Our lunch stop was at the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena (EICA). This huge structure - the largest of its type in the world - was built on the site of a former quarry, with one of the faces being converted to a 25-metre climbing wall. The café area is about half way up the vertical elevation of the wall, and offers a dramatic view of the rock-climbers at work.

The café serves the usual selection of snacks and light meals, but the service can be painfully slow at times (when we did a recce for the ride last week, eight of us had to wait 20 minutes just to have our order taken). Forewarned, many of us had brought our own food today, which we ate at the picnic tables on the sunny terrace.

For the afternoon leg, we took the canal path back to Ratho, and then headed across the Ratho Park Golf Course. We always try to avoid disturbing the golfers when taking this route, which is in any case a right of way for walkers and cyclists. But not all the golfers are happy with that situation, and a couple of them decided to throw some verbal abuse our way rather than concentrating on their game. Well, it's not the first time that's happened, and it won't be the last.

 The rest of the ride was uneventful. We continued through Gogar, Edinburgh Park, The Gyle, and Balgreen, finishing at Roseburn, where several of the group peeled off while the remainder headed back to the Meadows - now quiet again after the turmoil of the morning.

Leaders: Alan and Peter
Report, photos and map: Mike

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Wednesday, 10 September 2014

20-Milers on Pedal for Scotland

A small group of redoubtable 20 Milers, including one of our colonial cousins from down under, headed for Glasgow Green on Sunday morning for the start of the 2014 Pedal for Scotland 47 mile Challenge Ride.

The ride was largely blessed with excellent cycling weather with only a slight drop in temperature and a few spots of rain at the Avonbridge service area where the hot soup on offer was gratefully received and kit removed at the previous service stop hastily put back on again.

The route was well marked with plenty of marshals stationed along the way to guide us through the tricky bits, and police stationed at busy junctions and roundabouts to hold back the traffic and provide us with free passage. All this and a following wind made for a hugely enjoyable ride, with some stunning scenery and cyclists of all ages readily joining in the fun.
At Linlithgow Palace we were treated royally to stacks of food that included soup and packs of sandwiches, pasta salads and an unlimited supply of Tunnocks Caramel Wafers, many of which found their way into our backpacks, back pockets and cycle panniers.

So well fed were we that the group decided to bypass the final service stop at Kirkliston to continue on down to Crammond Brig and hence along familiar cycle paths to Roseburn, and eventually to Murryfield Stadium, where we arrived at the finish line shortly before 4.30pm. Having left the starting point a little after 10am, that made a journey time of just over 6 hours with stops, not a bad time considering, and a tremendous day's cycling.

Report: Michael
Photos: Michael

Monday, 8 September 2014

September ride

Our next ride is this coming Saturday (13th) - a little longer than normal at 26 miles, but without any particular challenges. Mainly on roads or surfaced paths, reasonably flat with just some moderate hills in the morning.

Lunch stop at the Ratho climbing centre - there is a nice cafe but queues can be long so bring your own picnic if you prefer. Excellent views of the largest indoor climbing wall in the world.

Normal start time (10.30am) from the normal place (Middle Meadow Walk).

PS note that EasyCycle rides are now on Sundays - next ride 28th September from Peter's Yard on Middle Meadow Walk
PPS our final 2014 "Extra" (longer) 20milers ride is on Saturday 4th October - heading across the bridge to Aberdour.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

August's second Extra ride to Roslin

Despite dire warnings of a steep hill and unforecast showers, 21 riders assembled for the second Extra ride in what has been a busy month for the 20 Milers. Another late arriving rider managed to catch us en route at Whitecraig.

The group headed out along the Innocent Railway to start the day's ride to Roslin. All was going well until we had to stop and repair a puncture near Brunstane Station. With that fixed and brighter skies looming in East Lothian we kept heading out of town.

We looped round towards Dalkeith via Whitecraig, avoiding the High Street by cutting through the back streets to enter Ancrum Wood for our first stop of the day at Newbattle Abbey. There our leader provided chocolate and a short talk on the history of the Abbey before we continued on to “The Hill”. With the threat of no lunch for anyone failing to make it up the hill, everyone made it to the top before the short ride into Roslin. There the group dispersed between the hotel and tea room. The picnicers headed for the peace and quiet of the graveyard which went well with no complaints from the residents.

Following lunch we took the direct route back to town, going over Bilston Glen Viaduct and then tried out the new cycle path under the bypass to Lasswade Road. Hopefully the path will be continued eastward from its current finishing point sometime soon. The group headed back to town via the King’s Buildings and the Grange to return to the start point with several of us enjoying post-ride refreshments at Peter's Yard.

Thanks to David for leading us on an interesting and varied ride taking in the challenge of climbing Roslin Glen, leading us along the new stretch of cycle path, telling us about the history of Newbattle Abbey and most importantly, supplying the chocolates.

Leader: David
Report: David and Glenn
Photos: Michael
Map: Jim

View 20-milers Extra in a larger map

Saturday, 9 August 2014

August ride to Dalkeith

Once again, the weather gods were kind to us. We had a dry, sunny day for this month's "second Saturday" ride, with only a chilly breeze to keep the weather short of perfection. About 22 riders turned up, so we decided to stay together in a single group. Michael (Law) was our leader, with Glenn riding backstop.

Our route took us out of town via Holyrood Park, Willowbrae, Mountcastle and Portobello. At Musselburgh, we took the River Esk path to Whitecraig, and then headed into Dalkeith Country Park at the Smeaton Farm gate. Most of the group had brought their own food for lunch, so we spent a pleasant hour at the picnic tables by the old bandstand (in the company of one of the estate's peacocks). Unfortunately, the friendly Stables Café is now closed because of the refurbishment work in the park, so those who hadn't brought food went in search of lunch in the town centre.

For the afternoon leg, we left Dalkeith by way of Salters Road and the Community Campus. We followed the railway path back to Whitecraig, where we picked up NCN 1. For the remainder of the ride, we followed the familiar route by Queen Margaret University, Newcraighall and Brunstane, finishing at East Parkside, where we went our separate ways.

Leader: Michael
Report: Mike

Sunday, 3 August 2014

A sunny Sunday ride into East Lothian

We had our second Extra ride of the summer today. Glenn led a dozen of us on a nice fast run into East Lothian. The day started hot and sunny, and we had a good breeze behind us for most of the morning.

We started from the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood. Our outward route took us out of Holyrood Park by Duke's Walk, after which we weaved through Willowbrae, Fishwives' Causeway and Portobello, and then on to Musselburgh. At the Prestongrange Mining Museum, we climbed a small hill to the main road, which we followed all the way to Longniddry.

We then joined the coast road for a short stretch. Just before Aberlady, we turned into the Gosford Estate for our lunch break, which was at the farm shop and café. The café has a pleasant balcony overlooking a stream. We spent a leisurely hour there in the warm sunshine.

Heading back to town, we now had the wind in our face, so our progress was a little slower. We took the coast road back through Port Seton and Cockenzie, with a couple of diversions along the waterfront to look at the views over the Firth of Forth.

Throughout the afternoon, a heavy shower seemed to be flirting with us, sometimes catching us up, sometimes drawing back. We stopped a couple of times to put waterproofs on, but would then stop again a few minutes later to reverse the process. In fact, the rain didn't really get underway until we were back in Edinburgh, and even then it wasn't too severe.

At Musselburgh, our leader (who is a resident of the Honest Toun) had to leave us, so I took over the reins for the last few miles into town. More people peeled off along the way, and at East Parkside I declared the ride over. At 32 miles, it was another successful day.

Leader: Glenn
Report: Mike
Map: Alan (Stalker)
Photos: Michael (Law)