EDINBURGH 20-MILERS

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Saturday, 25 February 2017

Fancy Dress Bike Ride - 2nd April


Jenny Tizard has sent us this message:

I am writing to let you know about a special bike ride that I am organising for Sunday 2nd April.

The event is a fancy-dress ride. We will be riding around the centre of Edinburgh, with bikes and/or riders decorated in the most eye-catching way possible - and with prizes for the best.

The ride is in aid of a local charity which I am involved with. It is called Bikes for Refugees. We accept donations of old or damaged bikes, which we refurbish and pass on to refugees and asylum seekers. In this way we are helping a very vulnerable group of people at a time of crisis in their lives - not to mention keeping old bikes out of landfills.

The ride is free but we will be collecting donations for the charity. Any money raised will be used to pay for the repair and storage of bikes, as well as for essential safety equipment such as helmets and lights. All contributions will be very welcome.

Time and place: Gather from 10.30 am, at the usual 20-Milers meeting point at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk. The ride will set out at 11 am and last about 45 minutes.

Route: Grassmarket, Princes Street, St Andrews Square, Royal Mile, Chamber Street, and then back to the Meadows.

Afterwards: At the end of the ride there will be prize-giving and a chance to find out more about the Bikes for Refugees project. You can also talk to some Syrian refugees now living in Edinburgh who have got bikes through the project.

Booking: There's no need to book in advance. Just turn up on the day, with your bike and fancy dress. (If you haven't got a bike, come anyway as a spectator.)

More information: See the event's Facebook page or email me at jennytizard[AT]gmail.com (replace [AT] with the usual @-sign).

I hope to see you on the day.

Jenny

Saturday, 11 February 2017

The dirty dozen ride to Roslin


Today's ride to Roslin was never likely to be cancelled due to the weather, despite a forecast promising heavy rain all day. But with that in mind, previous heavy rain and some muddy paths to contend with, anyone that had previously cleaned their bike must have wondered why they had bothered. It was also very cold, but fortunately not icy. The weather obviously had a big impact. Only 12 riders made the start, all of them hardened regulars. It's been a very long time since we had such a low turn out. No need to worry about two groups or any indepth briefing. We headed off towards the Innocent Tunnel. One rider was heard to say, "I'm wearing every item of clothing I possess". At Duddingston Road West, we cut through Kings Haugh to Peffermill Road. Once across, we took the path through Craigmillar Castle Park and encountered the first mud of the day before emerging beside the Royal Infirmary. We crossed the busy Old Dalkeith Road, pausing to allow an ambulance into the hospital and headed into Moredun. A road closure in the estate diverted us from our usual route. But we were soon back on course and heading for the cycle track that would take us all the way to Roslin. A mixture of mud and slushy snow made the path quite slippery. But a drama-free ride took us to our lunch stop in Roslin. It was lovely to be inside the warm pub eating hot food on such a cold day. Some even shed layers of clothing as they warmed up.

All nice and warm, that inevitable shock hit us on stepping back out into the cold. Despite a few grumbles and someone saying, "I'd rather have an afternoon nap", we were soon rolling again. As we set off, a small boy was heard to say to his mum, "look, an old man on a bike". Oh, from the mouths of babes! Consternation followed as the group tried to determine who he had been referring to! We headed back the way we had come. But we left the path and took the old route via Straiton pond. This stretch was the muddiest of the day and brought us out at Straiton Retail Park. Paths beside busy main roads took us to Burdiehouse, where we joined Burdiehouse Road. From there we headed back towards town via Howden Hall Road, Liberton Gardens, Liberton Road and Craigmillar Park. On Mayfield Gardens we were hit by a gust of wind so strong that it almost stopped us in our tracks. We recovered from that and made our way back to the Meadows where the leader declared the ride over. At just under 20 miles, this had been a shorter ride. But given the weather and mud, no one seemed to mind. Whilst the weather was far from pleasant, it was far from the worst we have endured and was not as bad as forecasted. Thanks to Jim for leading us on an interesting and less familiar route to and from Roslin. Thanks also to Verity on her maiden outing as backmarker. A role she seemed to relish. Something of a natural; we expect to see her bringing up the rear again soon.

Leader: Jim
Report: Glenn
Photos: Michael
Map trace: Jim



Monday, 6 February 2017

20-Milers to Roslin this coming Saturday


This month's 20-Milers ride will take place this coming Saturday (11th). Jim will be leading us out to Roslin. The route is just about 20 miles, with no particular difficulties except for a couple of short stretches on main roads. As always, we'll meet at the top of Middle Meadow Walk, in time for a 10.30 departure.

For lunch, there is a choice between a pub and a café, both in the centre of the village. There is also a nice picnic spot a short distance away for those who prefer to bring their own food.

I hope you can make it. Remember, you don't need to let anyone know that you are coming. Just turn up on the day.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Back to Basics in Musselburgh


Today's ride was something of a one-off. Referred to as a Back to Basics ride; it came about to address comments raised by a number of regular riders that some of our rides were becoming too long, too fast and too arduous. The ethos of the 20 Milers has always been, "most rides are around 20 miles, and are taken at a "sociable" pace (8 - 9 mph over the day, which is not so fast that you can't keep up a conversation). For whatever reasons, we were concerned that this ethos was coming under threat - hence the need for today's ride.

The temperature was just above freezing, but it was bright and sunny as the riders began to assemble. Despite the temperature, there were no icy patches on any of the roads or paths to catch anyone out. We ended up with a roll call of 18. In amongst the regular faces were several riders we hadn't seen for a while and two on their maiden outing with the group. Following the obligatory leader's briefing (where the reason for this additional ride was explained), we headed off towards Musselburgh in one group. We took the tried-and-tested route along the cycle path to the Innocent Tunnel. We whizzed through the tunnel which felt exceptionally cold today. Despite one of the group being convinced that Death eaters live in the tunnel, we didn't see any. Perhaps someone had watched too many Harry Potter films over Christmas! We followed the Innocent Railway path as far as the Range (formerly Big W), where we stopped in the car park as cakes and sweets were passed around by some of the group. Full of cake and sweets, we headed off. Major road woks on Milton Road meant the cycle path was narrower than usual. But the group negotiated it without any problem. At least it was open, unlike the main road to Musselburgh. Through the housing estate, which seemed very busy with traffic and back on the cycle path to Newcraighall. We faced further heavy traffic heading towards Fort Kinnaird. It was nice to turn off into a quiet back street and join the path to Musselburgh station. A path we had to ourselves. A brief stop beside the station to regroup before heading through another housing estate. On reaching the main road, a few of us were confused when a car already on the roundabout stopped to wave the 18 cyclists across. Whilst very kind of the driver, such actions often lead to confusion due to being so unexpected. From there we made our way onto the delightful path beside the River Esk, known locally as the Grove. This brought us out beside Tesco. A further short stretch of busy road, and we took to the path, ducked our heads and nipped under Musselburgh's main road bridge. A ride down the cobbles of Mill Hill, along Kerrs Wynd and we emerged at the bottom end of the High Street. We made use of the new bike racks and headed off for lunch. A few went elsewhere, but most of the group headed to the Cafe on the Corner. Both the service and food were exceptional. Having received such a warm welcome, that is somewhere we will definitely return to.

Lunch over; we reconvened at the bike racks. One rider had a problem with his lock. Fortunately it was soon resolved and we headed off. Except for two at the back. One rider suffered a mechanical issue and had to stop and fix it. As ever, the back marker stayed with the stricken rider. The tools came out, adjustments were made and the two were rolling again. The remainder of the group realised they were two short, so stopped and waited. After a few minutes, two riders were sent back to see what the problem was; arriving just as the two set off again. A very effective demonstration that no one ever gets left behind on our rides. If only all cycling groups took that attitude! All together again, we took the prom as far as Fisherrow Harbour. From there we took the main road to Joppa. The group streamed onto Portobello prom only to be confronted with a "Cyclists Dismount" sign and a severely restricted width of prom due to the laying of new gas mains. Muttering something about, "it wasn't like this when I recce'ed the route two weeks ago", the leader was forced to turn round and took us back to the main road. We weren't on it long before we turned left and made our way over the bridge crossing Sir Harry Lauder Road and the railway yards. Rather than take the road up to Milton Road, we were able to make use of the excellent new cycle path that now exists courtesy of the new Portobello High School. Across Milton Road, through the Magdalenes and we were back on the Innocent Railway. A trouble free run saw us return to the Meadows where the leader declared the ride officially over. Well done to Jim for doing a great job of leading the first Back to Basics ride. At just over 17 miles, it was shorter than usual. Feedback suggests it was a great success. The pace was right. It wasn't too hard and the distance was right. There is a possibility there will be another of these rides as spring approaches. Details will be on the website. The usual 20 Milers rides will continue on the second Saturday of each month as before, and there will be the usual series of 20 Milers Extra rides during the summer.

Leader: Jim
Report: Glenn
Photos: Glenn
Map trace: Jim



Tuesday, 17 January 2017

"Basics" ride this coming Saturday


We've got an additional ride this coming Saturday (21st) - something of a new venture for the group.

If you haven't done much cycling this winter, or if you are feeling below your normal fitness level, this ride is for you. It will go a little slower than on our normal runs; take slightly longer breaks; and try especially hard to avoid nasty hills.

The route hasn't been finalised yet, but it's likely we'll be heading to Musselburgh. The distance will be approximately 18 miles.

The ride starts at 10.30, from our usual meeting point at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk. We should be back in town by early- to mid-afternoon. As always, the ride is free, with no need to book in advance: just turn up on the day.

Thanks to Jim for his initiative in organising this ride. Depending on your feedback, it might become a regular item on our calendar.

Final point: the ride is open to all. Even if you have been cycling all winter, and you are above your normal fitness level, you will still be welcome to join us - provided you are happy with the slower pace.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

A modern start to 2017


The 20 Milers opened their account for 2017 with today's ride to the Gallery of Modern Art. Despite the sunshine, it was cold and there were a few icy stretchs on some paths to watch out for. Despite a run there being a tried and tested one, Mike added to the interest by changing the route in places. The section between Holyrood Park and Lochend Park had a number of our regular riders unsure as to where they were. There were 19 riders at the start. A reasonable turnout given the cold and icy conditions. But we have had higher January turnouts in the past. Surely those "I'm going to get fit in 2017" new year resolutions couldn't have been abandoned less than half way through January? It's always good to have new riders turn up. This time there was only one. But we hope they enjoyed it enough to come back. The group rolled away from the Meadows and took the familiar route towards the Innocent tunnel. One of our regulars was so used to going through the tunnel, he headed that way and had to be called back. On this ocassion, we continued past the tunnel entrance and made our way into Holyrood Park and whizzed down Queen's Drive. We turned off the road at the car park and made our way towards London Road. Via paths and quiet roads we made our way to Clockmill Lane. A cut-through between flats and a few more quiet back streets left many in the group wondering where they were. It's always nice to discover new parts of what you consider to be familiar territory. Arriving on Lower London Road, the majority knew where they were once again. A left turn was followed by a short spell on the very busy London Road. A right turn, more unfamiliar back streets and we found ourselves on a path that took us through Lochend Park to emerge beind the Hibs football stadium. We crossed Easter Road, and via Brunswick Road and Macdonald Road joined the path that took us into St Mark's Park where we stopped in the sunshine. So many snacks appeared that it was reminiscent of the Christmas Day ride. Suitably replenished, we made our way onwards past the Royal Botanic Gardens and into Inverleith Park. We passed the impressive Fettes College and made our way through the backstreets of Craigleith to the retail park. From there we made our way through the grounds of Mary Erskine School, along Ravelston Dykes Road and Ravelston Park to arrive for our lunch stop at the Gallery of Modern Art in Belford Road.

After a pleasant warm, and lunch in the cafe, we set off for what promised to be a relatively short run back into town. Before leaving the grounds of the gallery, there was some debate as to whether something there was a picnic table, fancy bike stand or a work of art! Cultural experience over; we retraced our steps to Ravelston Dykes Road. From there we made our way through the grounds of St George's School and on to the Roseburn Path. From the zig-zags via the Telfer subway, Fountainpark, the canal, Leamington Bridge and a twiddle through the backstreets of Bruntsfield, we returned to the Meadows. At barely 15 miles, this was one of the shortest rides for a while. The sunshine linked with the fact it wasn't quite as cold as earlier and it being quite early, had some riders feeling they should stay out longer. But it had been a good ride and finishing early after a shorter ride is more acceptable in January than July.


Leader: Mike
Report: Glenn
Photos: Michael
Map trace: Jim


Sunday, 8 January 2017

January ride this coming Saturday


For our first ride of 2017 this coming Saturday (14th), we will be taking a tour of bike paths in the north of the city. Our route will include Holyrood, Lochend Park, Inverleith Park and Craigleith. The ride will be a little shorter than usual, and should end fairly early (probably between 2 pm and 3 pm - but don't hold me that). There will be one steep climb (just before lunch), and a couple of busy main roads to cross, but no other difficulties of any kind.

Our lunch stop will be at the cafe at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Belford Road. The food there is usually very good, but be warned that it can be crowded and we might not all get a seat straight away. For those who prefer to bring their own food, there are places suitable for a picnic.

We will leave from our habitual spot at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk, at 10.30.

The ride is planned to end well before dark, but it would be prudent to bring lights in case we get delayed, and also to see you home if you live some distance from the end point.

As always, please regard the above information as provisional. Depending on various factors, there is always the possibility that we might change the route at the last minute.

Remember, you don't need to tell us in advance that you will, or will not, be joining a ride. Just turn up on the day.