Saturday, 11 March 2017
Michael's group set out confidently and made it to the lunch venue without mishap. But before the second party was able to depart, that oh-so-familiar cry was heard: puncture! A couple of willing hands helped fix the problem, and before long the second group was on its way as well.
The unexpected closure of the canal towpath near Viewforth had forced us to make a hasty adjustment to our itinerary. Because of some uncertainty over the new route, the leadership of the second group was something of a joint effort involving Verity and myself. We were scarcely off the Meadows before we noticed that three members of the party were missing, including the backmarker and his deputy. (Was it not Oscar Wilde who said, "To lose one backmarker may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness." Well, maybe not.)
Rightly or wrongly, we made a decision to carry on without the three absentees. So we proceeded on our revised route down Whitehouse Loan, up Woodehouse Terrace and Braid Road to the Comiston Road traffic lights, and then into Braidburn Valley Park. There had been light drizzle at the start of the ride, but this was now giving way to clearer skies, giving us fine views of the Pentland Hills.
We followed the path beside the Braid Burn to Redford Road, then freewheeled down into Colinton, where we paused for a comfort break. Our route then took us up Woodhall Road, down West Mill Road and onto the Water of Leith path. A couple of miles later, we turned off the path and headed through Currie and into the back gate of the Heriot-Watt campus.
And so we reached our lunch venue, which was the spacious canteen in the university's main building. Considering the place is usually deserted on Saturdays, they offer a surprisingly good range of meals and snacks. As always the staff served us cheerfully and efficiently.
Michael's party had arrived about ten minutes before us, and left about ten minutes before our own departure. Just as we were getting ready to leave, who should arrive but the three riders that we had lost on the Meadows. It turned out that the person who had had the puncture at the start of the run had suffered the same fate again almost immediately afterwards. With no further inner tubes available, and with all attempts at patching the existing tube proving unsuccessful, the puncturee and the two helpers/backmarkers headed for the Edinburgh Bike Co-op for a new tube. The problem thus solved, the three made record time catching us up. But we had no desire to hang around while they gobbled their belated lunch, so we again set out without them.
For the return leg of the ride, we took a slightly devious route out of the campus (to avoid a running race which was taking place that afternoon). Then, after crossing the main Calder Road, we headed along Gogar Station Road and into Edinburgh Park, past the Gyle shopping centre and South Gyle station, and then along the familiar route through Corstorphine, Balgreen, Roseburn, and so back to the Meadows. The first group had made it back a few minutes before us. The three riders in the third group, having finished their hasty lunch at the campus, had made a bee-line back to town on the canal towpath, and arrived not long after the rest of us. Thus re-united, members of all three groups partook of refreshments while sitting in the warm sunshine outside Peter's Yard café.
Leaders and backmarkers: Jim, Glenn, Michael, Mike, Neil, Verity, in various combinations
Report and photo: Mike
Map (showing third group's route): Jim
Tuesday, 7 March 2017
Now that the worst of the winter is behind us (let's hope), this would be a good time to think about forthcoming bike rides. This post contains news of a few events you might be interested in. I hope you'll be able to make at least some of them.
March 20-Milers this coming Saturday
For this month's run (on 11th), Michael will be leading us out to the west of the city, mainly on quiet roads and sheltered paths. It won't be a long run, nor a particularly demanding one, apart from a couple of gentle hills. If you haven't cycled for a while, this would be a good way to ease yourself back into the saddle.
We'll meet as usual at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk in time for a 10.30 departure. Our lunch stop will be in the canteen at Heriot-Watt in Riccarton. This is a very spacious eatery, serving a reasonable selection of sandwiches and hot snacks. For those of us who prefer to bring our own food, there is plenty of room to eat it, both inside and outside the building.
As always, please treat the above information as provisional. The starting place and time may be regarded as definite, but we sometimes have to vary the route or choose a different lunch venue, depending on various factors.
Fancy-dress bike ride (2nd April)
Jenny Tizard is organising this fun event to raise funds for a local charity called Bikes for Refugees. Their aim is to provide refugees and asylum seekers with old or refurbished bikes. Personally, I think this is a very worthwhile cause, partly because it helps a vulnerable group of people at a time of crisis in their lives; and partly because it gets people cycling who might not otherwise be able to do so.
The plan is for us all to decorate our bikes and/or ourselves to make the ride as eye-catching as possible. The route will be quite short, and all are welcome. If you absolutely can't manage a fancy dress, just a couple of balloons will suffice. And if even that's not possible, come anyway to show your support.
For further information, see this page (which also has contact details):
Pedal on Parliament (22nd April)
I don't have any more information yet about this event, but you might like to note the date.
20-Milers weekend (20th - 21st May)
This will be our fourth cycling weekend. The destination hasn't been confirmed yet, but you can at least save the date. The formula will be the same as in past years: we will set out from Edinburgh on the Saturday morning, returning late Sunday afternoon. Riders will be responsible for booking their own accommodation, with the group meeting up for a restaurant or pub meal on the Saturday evening.
Look out for a circular from Glenn with full details later in the month.
St. Andrews ride (17th June)
The date has now been fixed for this popular event. And for the first time in several years, the organisers have managed to avoid a clash with our own monthly run. If you have never tried it, do give it a go. It's a challenging ride, but a very enjoyable one.
Full details can be found here: http://www.cycling-edinburgh.org.uk/lepra-ride.htm
Mellow Velo, Spokes and CTC
Many of our members ride regularly with one or other of these Edinburgh-based groups. Between them, they have a ride almost every weekend. Spokes go out on the first Sunday of the month; their rides are usually faster and longer than ours, with a long pub or restaurant stop for lunch. CTC have rides of varying lengths at different times of the month.
Mellow Velo specialise in weekends away, but they also have a few day rides coming up. These include an East Lothian run on 18th March and a ride to the Vale of Leven on 8th April. Their first weekend ride of 2017 will be to Callander on 6th to 7th May.
Full details of all the above rides can be found on my own website: www.cycling-edinburgh.org.uk.
That's all for now. As you can see, there are a lot of events to choose from. I hope I'll see you on some of them.
Saturday, 25 February 2017
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.
Saturday, 11 February 2017
Map trace: Jim
Monday, 6 February 2017
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
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.
Map trace: Jim
Tuesday, 17 January 2017
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.