Saturday, 8 October 2016
Today's ride saw us head out to the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena; the largest indoor climbing wall in the world. The route was not the most direct we could have taken. But that made it all the more interesting. With a lovely sunny morning that was reasonably mild, we were expecting a good turnout. In the end there were only 18 of us which was surprising and slightly disappointing. But in amongst those was one of our regular riders on his recumbent trike and a visitor from across the pond. The visitor from Chicago had decided to stay on for a couple of days after a business trip and try cyling in a city he had never visited before. He hired a bike, found out about the 20 Milers and joined us. We knew we could show him some lesser known parts of Edinburgh that only the most adventurous of tourists would find without local guides. David led us away from the Meadows in one group towards Whitehouse Loan, where we had to negotiate our first set of roadworks. We made our way through the quiet back streets of Morningside; crossed the busy Comiston Road and into the lovely Braidburn Valley Park. Those that hadn't been through it before, were very impressed. Leaving the park behind, we made our way through another one - Colinton Mains Park. From there we made our way past the military houses close to Redford Barracks to join the busy Redford road. We had a brief comfort stop on Colinton Road. From there we made our way onto NCN 75 beside the Water of Leith and headed towards Balerno. Turning off the cycle path, we rode through Riccarton and entered the Heriot Watt University campus by the back entrance. After winding our way through the campus, we crossed the busy A71 Calder Road. From there we followed Hermiston House Road, turning off to join the Union Canal towpath. Just before the Bridge Inn we rode past the relatively new Ratho Marina. This was a lovely little marina that many of the group hadn't seen before. A bit further along the towpath and the leader brought us to a halt at the bottom of a steep flight of steps. The Climbing Arena and lunch was at the top of these steps. Two riders were needed to carry the trike up. One by one, all the bikes were carried to the top. From there a short ride saw us all arrive on the balcony where most of us would eat our lunches. It was like a summer's day. Very warm, sunny and no wind. There were one or two wasps about to annoy us. But everyone enjoyed lunch. We may be well into next year before we have lunch sitting outside in such perfect conditions again.
Photos: Glenn and Mike
Map trace: Jim
Monday, 3 October 2016
Our next ride will be this coming Saturday (8th October). David will be our leader for the day. I don't know the exact route, but I can tell you that it will be about 24 miles, mainly on paths and quiet roads, but with one busy road crossing to negotiate. There will also be a flight of fairly steep steps which we will have to haul our bikes up (and, later, down).
Our lunch stop will be the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena (EICA) - the largest indoor climbing wall in the world. There is lots of seating here, both on the spacious terrace and in the centre itself, with dramatic views over the 25-metre high wall. The snack bar serves a reasonable selection of food, but we have often found the service quite slow, so if you want to avoid a long wait in the queue, consider bringing your own food for a picnic lunch.
As always, we'll set out from the north end of Middle Meadow walk at 10.30. There's no need to let us know whether or not you can make it. Just turn up on the day.
While I have your attention, could I remind you of the importance of bringing a spare inner tube on our rides. Doing so won't prevent you getting a puncture, but it will make it very much easier to get you back on the road if a puncture does strike. If you don't know what size or type of tube to bring, ask at your favourite bike shop. If you don't know how to replace a tube, don't worry: there are usually willing hands available to help.
If your wheels don't have quick-release levers, please also bring a suitable tool for removing the wheel. Again, your local bike shop will advise on this if necessary.
One or two of our members have already asked me if we will be having our usual Christmas morning ride this year. Yes, we will. And because Christmas falls on the last Sunday of the month, this year's event will be a joint venture with EasyCycle. I don't have any further information at this point, but you can be assured that the ride will go ahead.
Saturday, 17 September 2016
Map trace: Jim
Monday, 12 September 2016
|Silvesands Beach. Photo: Sandy Gemmill|
This coming Saturday (17th), we have the last of our Extra rides for this year (our normal rides will continue through the winter, of course).
So far this summer, our Extras have taken us into various parts of West Lothian and East Lothian. This time, we will be heading into Fife. After crossing the Forth Road Bridge, we will head east along the Fife Coastal Path, passing St David's Harbour and Dalgety Bay, and then into Aberdour.
Pace and distance
As you know, our Extra rides are longer than our normal outings. This one will be 35 - 40 miles, and will go at a slightly faster pace than you might be used to. If you haven't cycled much recently, or are unsure about your fitness level, please think carefully before you decide to come on this ride. But if you usually feel comfortable with our longer runs, this one should present no difficulties.
Most of the route will be on roads and well-surfaced paths, with only one or two short stretches on rough tracks. There will only be a few hills - none of them particularly demanding.
For our lunch stop, we will make for the very attractive Silversands Bay. This is a particularly nice spot for a picnic. It has a pleasant park and a beautiful beach, with extensive views over the Firth of Forth. There are plenty of picnic tables. There is also a café nearby for those who prefer a hot lunch, as well as a snack bar where you can get a tea or coffee.
A point to note. The above-mentioned café has been known to refuse to top up cyclists' water bottles - something that most cafés and pubs are happy to do. As far as I know, there is nowhere else nearby where you can take on water, so be sure to bring an adequate supply with you.
Meeting time and place
The ride will leave from our alternative meeting point at the path junction in Craigleith (see here for directions). As usual with our Extra rides, we will set out at the earlier start time of 10.00.
I can't say for sure what time the ride will end, but I think it's likely that we will be back at Craigleith around 4 pm or soon after.
Saturday, 10 September 2016
Suitably replenished after a good lunch, we rolled away from Craig House and made our way to the pleasant village of Inveresk. By St Michael's kirk we negotiated a gate and made our way down to the path beside the River Esk which took us back to Tesco in Musselburgh. We crossed the busy Mall Avenue and made our way towards Fisherrow Harbour via Eskside West; remembering to duck as we rode under the bridge which carries the aptly named Bridge Street. After a brief pause at Fisherrow, one final detour took us up Newhailes Avenue and Newhailes Crescent to emerge on the busy Edinburgh Road through a gate set into the wall. A few hundred yards on this road and we turned left through another hole in the wall to join the Brunstane path. This lovely path which hugs the Brunstane Burn brought us out at Brunstane station. From there we joined the familiar NCN 1 for our run back into town. It was on this path at Jewel Park that we had our only puncture of the day. Thanks to Alan Orr for ensuring the unfortunate rider was back under way with minimal delay. Positive feedback suggested that everyone enjoyed the day's ride. Good weather, some unfamiliar territory, a short stretch of challenging off-road riding, good company - what more could anyone want from a 20 Milers outing? Ah, of course; the chance to ascend a very tough hill with minimal climbing.
Photos: Glenn and Michael
Map trace: David
Monday, 5 September 2016
We've got an interesting ride planned for next Saturday - see below for full details. We've also got one of our Extra rides scheduled for the following weekend; there are brief details of that at the end of this post.
Monthly ride: 10th September
For our September run, Glenn will be leading us into East Lothian, on a route that takes in parts of the River Esk Walkway, the Peniciuk Railway Path and the Pencaitland Path. The high point of the morning will be the summit of Falside Hill (144 metres above sea level). Now, if you've ever cycled up Falside, you'll know that it is a long steep slog to the summit from Tranent or Prestonpans, and even more of a grind from Whitecraig. But don't worry. Glenn has come up with an interesting route that will get us close to the top with only a very gentle ascent. I recently cycled the route myself, and can assure you that it works as advertised.
But be warned. While much of the route will be on tarmac, there will also be some sections that are very much off-road. These include a mile or two on rough paths that might also be muddy, and a particularly narrow stretch where some riders might prefer to dismount and walk. There will also be a short flight of steps to negotiate.
The total length of the ride will be about 26 miles.
For lunch, we'll head to one of our regular stops: the Premier Inn near Whitecraig. This offers basic pub food at reasonable prices. It's by no means gourmet fare, but it should provide us with the calories we need. As always, you have the option of bringing your own food for a picnic lunch.
Because most of the mileage for the ride will be in the morning, with a relatively short afternoon leg, the lunch stop might be on the late side. So adjust your appetite accordingly.
The ride will start from our usual meeting place at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk. As the route will be a little longer than usual, we'll aim to set out sharp at 10.30. We'll probably arrive back at the Meadows some time between 3.30 and 4.00 pm (but don't hold me to that).
Remember, all our rides are free and open to all. You don't need to book in advance - just turn up on the day.
20-Milers Extra: 17th September
For our second ride this month, Julia (Richardson) will be taking us on a rare excursion into Fife. This will be one of our longer and faster runs. I'll post more details nearer the time, but for now, note the date, and also that we will be starting at 10 am (half an hour earlier than usual), from our alternative meeting point in Craigleith.