EDINBURGH 20-MILERS

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Saturday, 14 May 2016

Spring is in the air - at last!

 
For today's ride we headed out to Craigie Farm by a somewhat less familiar route. Bright and sunny weather at the start was most welcome and must have influenced the fact that 38 riders turned up. This was the biggest turn out so far this year. Good to see a smattering of new faces and the welcome return of one of the group's stalwarts; who had been out of action for quite a few months. We had almost forgotten what it was like to split into two groups. A slight moment of panic set in when it was realised that only the leader and one other had been on the recce. Panic over. We had a leader and a second group leader, and two back markers were nominated and given a quick briefing of the route. One of the regulars realised they had a puncture just as we were preparing to leave. As ever, there were plenty offers of help. So that rider became a second group member by default. The first group set off. Puncture fixed, the second group rolled away from the start a few minutes later. We left the Meadows and headed to Leamington Bridge and the canal via Bruntsfield Links. After a very short stretch beside the canal, we headed to Fountain Park and down the Telfer subway, through Gorgie and up the zig-zags to join the Roseburn path to Craigleith. We joined the Telford path and made our way to Granton. We paused briefly beside the Granton gasometer. Even that managed to look impressive in the sunshine and it was beginning to get pleasently warm. We made our way along the busy Silverknowes Esplanade, stopping for a comfort break and ice creams at Cramond. Standing in the warm sun and looking out to Cramond Island, there was a slightly surreal moment when one of the group handed out Christmas cake. It seemed a bit strange, but the cake was lovely and greatly appreciated. The first group probably lingered longer than they realised. The second group had caught them up. This was their cue to mount up and head off. We passed the harbour and headed up the steep School Brae. Most of our rides see us whizzing down this road, so it came as something of a shock to have to climb up it. From there we headed along Whitehouse Road, turned right at the crossing and headed down to Cramond Brig before joining the path beside the A90. We carried on and made the right turn for the steep climb that took us up to Craigie Farm and our lunch stop, where the group spread out to enjoy alfresco dining.
 
With the group suitably replenished, we headed back down the road we had come up earlier. At the bottom we turned right and headed towards Kirkliston. Before long, we turned off and made our way up a steep path beside a bridge to join the railway path towards the village of Dalmeny. One brave soul rode up the path whilst most elected to get off and push their bikes up. This delightful path took us through the trees to Dalmeny. From the village we made our way to the Dalmeny Estate. We had a lovely ride through the estate which looked resplendent in the spring sunshine with lambs gambolling around. We exited the estate and took the path beside the A90 and made our way back to Craigleith by the familiar route of Cramond Brig, Barnton and Silverknowes. We headed back down the way we had come earlier in the day. We waited as a canal boat made it's way under the raised Leamington Bridge. From there it was a short hop back to the Meadows. Even though a number of riders had peeled off as we headed back towards town; the leader insisted on leading the remainder of the group right back to the start point. No stopping short allowed here! Thanks to Verity for leading us on an interesting route to a familiar lunch stop. Thanks to the second group leader and back markers for remembering how to carry out those duties - it's been a while; and thanks to the weather for adding to the day's enjoyment.


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



Monday, 9 May 2016

May 20-Milers this coming Saturday


We've got our monthly ride coming up this Saturday (14th). The forecast is looking good for the week ahead, so we can hope for a reasonably warm and dry day for the ride.

Verity will be leading us on what looks like a very pleasant route. In the morning we'll be taking a tour of bike paths around the Edinburgh waterfront - Granton, Silverknowes and Cramond Harbour - and then on to the Dalmeny Estate in the afternoon.

Lunch will be at one of our more popular stopping places: Craigie's Farm. The cafe there has recently been enlarged, so there will be plenty of room for us to spread out, either inside or on the terrace. They offer a good range of snacks and hot meals, not to mention some very nice cakes.

The total distance will be a little over 20 miles. There will be a couple of moderately steep hills (including one just before lunch). Most of the route will be on quiet roads or paths with good surfaces, but there might be some short rough sections.

As always, we'll leave from the north end of Middle Meadow Walk at 10.30.

Dawn's abseil


Next month, one of our regular riders will be launching herself from the top of the Forth Bridge, for a 50-metre abseil down to the beach below.

Dawn Chapman will be using the abseil to raise money for The Yard. If you've ever cycled through the Rodney Street tunnel or the King George V Park, you will have seen The Yard. It looks like a glorified adventure playground, but it's really much more than that. It plays a very special role in helping autistic children and those with other disabilities.

Dawn will be doing her abseil on the afternoon of Sunday 26th June, at the South Queensferry end of the bridge. If anyone would like to cycle out there to watch the event and give their moral support, please let us know (use the email address in the side panel) and we will organise a ride.

You can read more about the abseil – and especially the reasons that The Yard is so important in Dawn's life – on this page. And once you have read it, please consider sponsoring Dawn in her fund-raising campaign for this very worthwhile cause. You can do that right there on the same page.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

A castle and a chilly picnic


For the opening 20 Milers Extra ride of 2016 we headed out to Blackness Castle in west Lothian. A dry, cool but overcast day greeted the 19 rides that assembled at the Craigleith start point. It was good to see a few new faces mixed in amongst the regulars and more familiar participants. We made good progress as we headed west on the Blackhall path, through Silverknowes, Davidsons Mains and Barnton. We were soon having our obligitory halt on the bridge over the River Almond. From there we made our way on to the path beside the A90 and onwards to the village of Dalmeny. From there a mixture of paths and roads took us to South Queensferry for our comfort stop. We left South Queensferry behind and rode under the new Queensferry Crossing and into the Hopetoun Estate. In the estate there is one difficult to negotiate gate that is a real bottleneck for group rides. A new approach by the leader meant rather than wait until everyone was through, everyone went through and carried on. Such a simple approach avoided wasted time and will be the norm from now on. Just as we were leaving the estate, we suffered our only puncture of the day. It was agreed to push on to our lunch stop and leave the victim in the capable hands of our mechanical maestro, Alan Orr.

We arrived at Blackness Castle and looked for picnic tables and benches that would afford us some shelter from the cool wind blowing off the Forth. Some were successful in their search; others less so. The two held up by the puncture soon joined us. The small castle shop sold more teas and coffees than ice creams on this ocassion. It wasn't the weather to linger over a leisurely picnic, so we finished up and headed off. Within a few minutes we were warming up on the toughest climb of the day. We then made our way to Philipstoun where we joined the Union Canal. After a few miles on the bumpy towpath, we left the canal and made our way to Kirkliston. From there paths and back roads took us to the edge of the Dalmeny Estate and the path beside the A90. Again we stopped on the bridge over the River Almond where three children were busy playing Pooh Sticks. From there we returned to Craigleith on the route we had taken out earlier.

Thanks to Mike for leading the first 20 Milers Extra of the year. There will be more to come as the summer progresses. Lets hope we can have weather that feels more like summer.


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

Monday, 2 May 2016

Our first 20-Milers Extra of the summer this Saturday


The first of this year's Extra rides takes place this coming Saturday (7th May). This promises to be a particularly pleasant ride, heading out along the coast for a picnic at Blackness Castle, returning via an inland route. For the most part, the route will be straightforward, although there might be a couple of rough paths, and there will be one killer hill - just after lunch.

Length and pace

At 30 - 35 miles, our Extra rides are longer than our standard second-Saturday runs. We leave earlier, get back later, and go at a slightly faster pace. So please think carefully about whether this ride is right for you.

If you find our usual runs well within you capabilities, then you will have no problem with this one. But if you feel that our standard runs are at all demanding, then you might prefer to give this one a miss. Join us instead for our normal 20-mile ride the following week.

Place and time

For this Extra ride, we will start from our alternative meeting point at the Craigleith path junction (see here for directions). We will leave at 10 am - half an hour earlier than usual. I can't say for sure what time the ride will end, but I would expect it to be around 4 pm.

Lunch arrangements

There are no cafés, pubs or restaurants in Blackness, so be sure to bring food for a picnic lunch. There is a small souvenir shop there, and this sells hot drinks, ice cream and a limited range of confectionery, but nothing more substantial. There are also toilets there.

Depending on progress and other factors, we might have an optional coffee stop near the end of the ride.

What if the weather is bad?

Light rain or a chilly wind won't put us off. But if the weather is particularly bad, we might opt for a shorter run with lunch in a café. We'll make that decision on the day.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

20-Milers at Pedal on Parliament


Once again, Edinburgh 20-Milers was well represented at the annual Pedal on Parliament. Around twenty of our members joined the thousands of cyclists who took part in the event. With George IV Bridge and the Royal Mile closed to motor traffic, we had a pleasant mile and half cycle from the Meadows to Holyrood, followed by a rally and speeches in front of the parliament building. With the sun shining at least some of the time, it was another enjoyable and successful event.








Friday, 15 April 2016

Join us for Pedal on Parliament 2016


The fifth Pedal on Parliament takes place on Saturday 23rd April. This is a big event, in which thousands of cyclists from all over Scotland will ride from the Meadows to Holyrood to press for safer roads and better cycling infrastructure. It is not a confrontational demo. Rather, it is a fun ride, suitable for cyclists of all ages and abilities. The route will follow George IV Bridge and the Royal Mile, and these will be closed to motor vehicles during the ride.

As usual, there will be a 20-Milers contingent for this event. I hope you will be able to join us. We will meet at 11.30, outside the Bicycle Works in Argyle Place, which is just south of the Meadows. (If you are coming from the north side of town, allow extra time to cross the Meadows, as the area is likely to be very busy.)

The ride is a colourful affair, so feel free to decorate your bike - and yourself - with balloons, flags, or any similar paraphernalia that will draw attention and let people know what it is all about. If you have a particularly loud bell or a hooter, that's all to the good.

The whole things will last about 90 minutes. Afterwards, some of us may decide to get some lunch and/or go for a short ride around town.

 If you would like to come along, just turn up at the appointed time and place. There is no need to let anyone know in advance.