EDINBURGH 20-MILERS

You are welcome to join our easy-paced bike rides. Click here for all the information you need.

Pages

Sunday, 17 September 2017

20-Milers Extra next Saturday



We've got one of our Extra rides coming up on Saturday (23rd).

Given that our group has been on the road for 13 years, it's inevitable that we often do the same rides many times. Today's run will be different: a completely new route that we have never before done as a group. What's more, it will take in some particularly attractive countryside with above-average scenery. It will essentially be a circuit of the eastern fringes of Midlothian, including Mayfield, the Tyne Water and Crichton Castle, with a pub lunch in Pathhead.

But be warned. The ride will be quite a bit longer and faster than most of our runs, and there will be a fair bit of climbing. Although we'll mainly be riding on quiet roads, there will be one short stretch on a busy main road, and another where we might have to walk along the pavement.

We'll meet at Fisherrow Harbour in Musselburgh in time for a 10.30 start. The route is about 35 miles from Fisherrow back to Fisherrow, but if you are coming from central Edinburgh, you will need to add about 12 miles to the total. Depending on progress, you can expect to get back to Edinburgh between 4 and 5 pm.

As always, there's no need to let us know in advance whether or not you will make it for this ride. Just turn up on the day.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

A few steps and lots of parks


Today's ride saw us head south-west to Colinton, followed by a big loop round to Leith and Craigentinny in the north-west. Our route took us through a number of Edinburgh's many parks, and saw us navigate several flights of steps.

A lower than expected 18 riders assembled at the start. Despite knowing a few of our regulars were
riding through to Glasgow for the following day's Pedal for Scotland; the weather was quite pleasant - so the relatively low turnout was a bit of a mystery. At least it meant we only needed one group and we did have a couple of new faces. We left the Meadows behind and threaded our way through the backstreets of Morningside and on through Braidburn Valley Park. On through Colinton Mains Park, Spylaw Park and bypassing Colinton village, we rode through the curved Colinton Tunnel. That tunnel so reminds the writer of a scene from the film "The Italian Job", that he now finds it impossible to ride through it without whistling, "We're all members of the self-preservation society". Each to their own! We followed NCN75 before joining the Union Canal towpath. A short run along the canal and we dismounted to walk across the Slateford Aqueduct. Once across, we negotiated the steep flight of steps down to the Water of Leith path. Past the cemetery and allotments, across Gorgie Road and into Saughton Park. Major works in the park resulted in a detour that brought us out on Stevenson Drive. A twiddle through the backstreets of Saughton took us past Murrayfield Stadium and into Roseburn Park. Across the busy Roseburn Terrace and another flight of steps got us back on the Water of Leith path. We left the path at the rear of the Britannia Hotel and climbed up to Belford Terrace. From there a short ride saw us arrive at the Gallery of Modern Art - our lunch stop. The cafe was the quietest many of us had ever seen it. We quickly got served and enjoyed lunch sitting in the garden making the most of the sunshine.

Lunch over, we made our way through Ravelston Dykes and the grounds of St George's School for Girls. Another flight of steps took us down to join the Blackhall Path. The Roseburn, Telford and Ferry Road Paths took us to The Shore at Leith via Victoria Park. From Leith Links we made our way through Lochend Park and through Restalrig to Craigentinny. Hidden away down Craigentinny Crescent, an unassuming suburban street is a most impressive mausoleum - the Craigentinny Marbles. Jim is the group's expert on its history. In his absence, David and Mike did a good job of telling the interesting story of the Craigentinny Marbles. From there, Fishwives Causeway, Mountcastle Drive North, Figgate Park and Durham Road took us back to the familiar Innocent Railway for our return to the Meadows. At lunchtime, one of the riders, new to both the group and Edinburgh had asked what the Innocent Tunnel was. So it was great for him to experience it first hand. Thanks to David for leading us on an interesting ride that despite never being too far from the city centre, showed the wide variety of what Edinburgh has to offer.

Leader: David
Report: Glenn
Photos: Glenn
Map trace: David



Monday, 4 September 2017

This month's ride this coming Saturday (9th September)


This month's ride will provide a chance to explore some interesting bike routes within the city. Under David's leadership, we will be heading first to Colinton in the south west, then taking a big loop all the way round to Lieth and Craigentinny in the north east.

The total distance will be approximately 20 miles. Much of the route will be on quiet roads and well-surfaced paths, although a few of the paths might be a little rough in places. There will be a couple of short sharp climbs, and also one or two short flights of steps to negotiate, but no other particular difficulties.

For lunch, we will be stopping at one of our more popular venues: the modern art gallery in Belford Road. The café there serves an excellent range of snacks and light meals. But be warned that it gets quite crowded at times. If you want to avoid a possibly long queue and a wait for a table, consider bringing a picnic instead. The gallery has plenty of picnic tables on its spacious terrace.

We'll meet at our usual place at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk. Please get there in time for a 10.30 departure.

As always, the above details should be regarded as provisional. The meeting point and start time are definite, but we reserve the right to change the route and lunch venue according to circumstances.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Logan's ride


Five months and one day after our great friend passed away, today's Extra ride to Merryhatton was very much his ride. For the last few years, Logan always led this ride in late August; and being led by him, we always knew it would be good fun. Today's ride seemed to follow that formula. We had a strange moment during the briefing, a short history lesson and the re-enactment of a classic Logan moment. As if that wasn't enough, we were also blessed with lovely weather.

A respectable turn out of 19 riders assembled at Fisherrow for the start. Looking back towards Edinburgh there were rather grey and threatening looking skies. Looking the other way into East Lothian (the way we were going) and we saw welcoming blue skies. Time to head off and hope we could leave the grey skies behind. The leader climbed up onto a convenient wall and began his briefing. He was in full flow when a random member of the public appeared beside him and asked if he could photograph the bemused looking cyclists. He took the photo, thanked us and wandered off. How very strange! I'm sure that would have had Logan giggling. The leader recomposed himself, finished the briefing and we headed off towards the blue skies of East Lothian. Heading towards the race course, we paused briefly beside the large blue painted arrow beside the Air Cadets hut at Goose Green. The leader explained its role in training bomber crews during the second world war by guiding them towards target ships out in the Firth of Forth. History lesson over, we pressed on past the race course. A little further on, that dreaded shout went up, "puncture!". It was now warming up and the sun was shining; so having to wait for the puncture to be fixed was no hardship. It's a different story when it's sleeting horizontally and the group has to hang around! Puncture fixed, the unfortunate rider opted to take the road rather than continue on the rougher track. We were rolling again and all met up where we re-joined the road in Prestonpans. We took the coast road to Cockenzie where we detoured past the lovely harbours of Cockenzie and Port Seton. A comfort and sweetie stop followed before we rejoined the coast road. We stayed on that road until just before Gosford farm shop. A few years ago, Logan invested in a road bike (one of the first in the group to do so) and the writer ribbed him about riding a "girly" bike. As ever, he took that ribbing in good stead; always capable of giving as good as he got. Slightly tongue-in-cheek, the leader said, "those on "girly" bikes may want to take the road. Those on "proper" bikes can follow me along this wooded path". We reconvened in Aberlady and took a quiet back road to avoid the busy high street. Leaving Aberlady, those in the know realised we should have turned left, but the leader turned right, headed down to the entrance to a caravan site, turned in and stopped. This was the re-enactment of a classic Logan moment. On this ride two years ago, that is exactly what he did. The difference then being that he didn't stop; he just headed back the way he had come hoping no one had noticed his wrong slot! Back on the right route, we headed down the beautiful East Lothian lane that passes Myreton Motor Museum. A short stretch on the busy main road into Drem, turn right by the station, another quiet road and we were at Merryhatton Garden Centre - our lunch stop.

Following a pleasant lunch we set off again. Two riders that needed to be home quicker left us at this point. One rider had phoned home during the lunch stop and told us it had been raining heavily in Edinburgh. Hard to believe as we headed off past the Museum of Flight in bright sunny conditions. Onwards through the lovely village of Athelstaneford, past the Hopetoun monument and more deserted country lanes brought us to the level crossing west of Longniddry. In such lovely weather, no one minded having to wait for two trains to pass. Across the A198 dual carriageway, along the cycle path and down the hill back to the coast road. To avoid the main road, we retraced our steps from the morning to Cockenzie harbour. From there we took a less familiar route behind the site formerly occupied by Cockenzie power station. It's a nice route. But there are a few steps to contend with. But much worse was the large amount of broken glass strewn across the path. We were fortunate not to have our second puncture of the day. We re-joined the main road beside the Lidl store. One of the group had been unfortunate enough to be stung by a wasp a few miles earlier and wanted to buy some anti-histamine tablets. Fortunately, another member had some - so no need to head to Lidl. Back along the main road to Prestonpans where we re-joined the John Muir Way path. The morning's puncture victim opted to take the road route and met us further along. As we got closer to Musselburgh, the skies turned greyer and the temperature dropped a little. But fortunately, it stayed dry. Along the prom and we were back at Fisherrow harbour. Here the leader declared the ride over. It can be put down as a successful ride. Everyone seemed to enjoy it. Only one puncture. Lovely weather, despite the heavy rain just a few miles to the west. The fact there was fun, laughter and everyone enjoyed themselves made it just the sort of tribute Logan deserved. There were a few riders on today's ride that had never met Logan. Hopefully they went away with an insight into what a great character and friend he had been to those who had been lucky enough to know him.

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


Cycling volunteers wanted for research study


Napier University has asked us to post some information about a research study they are undertaking, and which they are looking for healthy male volunteers to take part in. If this is of interest, please reply using the contact details shown below.

Hannah Lithgow, a PhD researcher in Exercise and Health Sciences at Edinburgh Napier University, is currently undertaking a research study in healthy males aged 18-75 years. The aim of the study is to investigate the effects of exercise on vitamin D metabolism. Vitamin D is linked to numerous health conditions, such as Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, depression, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and many more. Exercise and physical activity have been linked to vitamin D status, and so in this study they are investigating whether a single bout of exercise could be a means to reduce the development of health conditions through vitamin D metabolism.

The study involves four visits to the Sport and Exercise Science facilities at Edinburgh Napier University at Sighthill. You will benefit from a full cardiorespiratory fitness assessment (called a VO2max test) and feedback on your vitamin D status.

If you are interested in taking part, or have any questions regarding the study, then please contact Hannah Lithgow by telephone (0131 455 5716) or email (h.lithgow[ATT]napier.ac.uk). 

 (Replace [ATT] by the usual @ sign.)

Monday, 21 August 2017

20-Milers Extra this Saturday


We've got another of our Extra rides this coming Saturday (26th). This is a rather special event, as it will be in honour of our much-missed friend, Logan Strang, who passed away earlier this year. The ride, which will be to Merryhatton, was on of Logan's favourites and one that he led for us several times. In fact, it was the very last ride that he led, exactly one year ago this week.

The route

Our route on Saturday will be 45 - 50 miles. There will be some short stretches that might be busy with traffic, but there should be no other difficulties. Most of the route will be on quiet roads or well-surfaced paths, with only a few gentle hills.

Please keep in mind that these Extra rides are longer and faster than our usual "second Saturday" runs. We aim to maintain a slightly higher average speed - although not so fast that you can't keep up a conversation. Most of our riders find the pace comfortable, but if you haven't cycled for a while or are unsure of your abilities, you may prefer to give this ride a miss.

Lunch venue

Our lunch stop will the Merryhatton Garden Centre, where there is an above-average café serving a good range of light lunches (soup, sandwiches, baked potatoes, etc.) as well as more substantial meals. As always, you have the option of bringing food for a picnic lunch if you prefer.

Time and place

The ride will start from Fisherrow Harbour in Musselburgh. Please aim to get there in time for a 10.30 departure. Fisherrow is about six miles from central Edinburgh. There are toilets available at the start point.

The ride is likely to finish between 4 and 5 pm.

Remember, you don't need to book in advance for this ride. Just turn up and enjoy what promises to be an excellent day's cycling

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Our first non-electric ride


Today's leader, Jim wanted to claim this as the 20 Milers first non-electric ride. That has nothing to do with there being no electric bikes on today's ride. Rides without any electric bikes present are the norm. No, this was our first ride where a power cut at our lunch stop almost resulted in the group going unfed. In the couple of hours before the start there was heavy rain. As the riders assembled at the meeting point, this had turned to light drizzle and it was dry by the time we rolled away from the Meadows. Considering the weather, the Festival being in full swing and it being the holiday season, a turnout of 26 riders was quite reasonable. A few new faces and a few that have only been a couple of times before were a welcome addition to the regulars. Leaving the hustle and bustle of the Festival behind, we headed off to the Innocent Railway path. At Duddingston Road West we cut through the industrial estate, crossed Peffermill Road and took the path through Craigmillar Castle Park. We had a stop where cakes and sweets were passed round, despite it seeming as if we hadn't travelled very far and us not being far from lunch. We skirted the Royal Infirmary, passed the new houses that are being built and emerged onto The Wisp. Fortunately this busy road has a shared use pavement / cycle path beside it. Through the quiet back streets of Danderhall, across Old Dalkeith Road and we were in the lovely Drum Estate. A short run down Gilmerton road and we were at our lunch stop, the pub opposite Dobbies. We seldom get to our lunch stop by 1200. This time it was a good job we did. Fortunately, everyone had been served and had almost finished eating when the pub was plunged into darkness due to a power cut. Had it happened sooner there could have been a near-riot as the 20 Milers have something of a reputation of cycling on their stomachs!

Although it wasn't sunny, stepping out from the darkness of the pub was quite a shock. We spent a short while squinting before heading off. We took the busy road into Dalkeith. This involved negotiating the Eskbank roundabout. It is small with numerous exits, many of them with poor views of approaching traffic. In the writer's opinion this would be a front runner in the prize for the worst roundabout in Scotland. Fortunately, we all got across without incident. We cut through a housing estate and entered woods via a time-consuming kissing gate. Obviously, no one expected 26 cyclists to pass through. Through the woods, a park and across a busy road. Due to the power cut, the pedestrian crossing was out of action. So crossing the road took a little longer. But as we had arrived at lunch early and felt no need to linger with the pub in darkness, we expected to be early returning to town. Through another park, across another out of action crossing and we were sweeping past Dalkeith High School onwards to Whitecraig. From Whitecraig we took the path towards Musselburgh, cutting off to the railway station and on past Queen Margaret University to Newcraighall. From there we joined the path that took us back to the Innocent Railway for our run back into town. Middle Meadow Walk was heaving with pedestrians. There seemed to be as many walking on the cycle path as on the part reserved for them. Oh yes, it's Festival time! The next time a ride starts from Middle Meadow Walk (our Extra ride on 26th August starts from Fisherrow Harbour), the Festival will be over.
Thanks to Jim for leading us on a pleasant ride. Thanks to the weather for drying up after a wet start to the day, and thanks to the power cut coming after we had all got our lunch.

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



Monday, 7 August 2017

Two rides this month


This is just a quick reminder that we have two rides planned for August.

Our normal monthly run takes place this coming Saturday (12th). As usual, we'll meet at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk, in time for a 10.30 departure. I can't give you any details of the exact route just yet, but the plan is to head south, with a lunch stop in the Gilmerton area. More information will be announced on the spot.

On Saturday 26th, we'll have another of our Extra rides. This one will head into East Lothian. I'll post more details of that ride nearer the time.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

The 20 Milers invade Haddington


Today's 20 Milers Extra ride saw us head through East Lothian to it's county town - Haddington. The forecast was for frequent heavy showers from lunchtime onwards. Fortunately, whilst there were a few showers, none were too heavy and they were all quite brief. So, what could have been a rather wet afternoon was not too bad after all. As is often the case when our Extra rides are a foray out east, the start point today was Fisherrow. It was a pleasant, dry morning as we assembled and watched as the riders just kept on coming. By the start time, there were 27 - a new record for an Extra ride. As ever, it was good to see some new faces amongst them. The leader gave the usual briefing. None of us could remember having heard the words "responsible" and "responsibility" having been used at one of our briefings before. This was the leader talking about riding in smaller groups and leaving large gaps when on sections of busy road; such as on the coast road. Suitably briefed, we rolled away [as one large group] towards Musselburgh racecourse on quiet roads and paths. Past the racecourse and on to Prestonpans where we joined the coast road. It was heartening to see that riders had taken heed of the briefing. This kept us safe and drivers were not frustrated. We turned off the coast road at Cockenzie and stopped outide a fishmonger as sweets were passed round. Yes, there were 27 cyclists outside his shop; two bikes were leaned against his premises, but we were not obstructing access to his shop. So it was quite a surprise when the shopkeeper came out complaining that we were obstructing his customers access. He then told us it was a private pavement that we did not have permission to be on; we doubted that to be true. So in one fell swoop, he had lost 27 potential customers. Sweetie stop over, we departed. We passed Port Seton Harbour and had a comfort stop just beyond. Along the seafront, we passed those picnic tables that jut out into the path in such a way that could be disastrous for any cyclist not paying attention. Whoever decided on their positioning was definitely not a cyclist. From there, a further stretch on the busy coast road took us to the turning for Longniddry. From there we joined the Longniddry railway path. This lovely path through the East Lothian countryside took us to the outskirts of Haddington. A short ride and we were in the centre of town. We split into three groups for lunch. Those having picnics headed down to the river. Others headed to the pub we have been to several times before, and the final group went to try out a newly discovered cafe.

Everyone enjoyed their lunch. Though those at the cafe reported that the service was rather slow. That meant we headed off slightly later than planned. We were just about to head off when the first spots of rain began to fall. Nearly everyone donned waterproofs and away we went. We had probably travelled less than a quarter of a mile before the rain stopped and everyone began to feel too hot. So off came the waterproofs. An unfamiliar route out of Haddington followed. Up a quiet backstreet, through a park, a short stretch of road and we were beside the river. A bridge across the river, along a lovely rural path and we emerged on the quiet B6368. This lovely quiet road took us to Samuelston. Further quiet roads through the delightful East Lothian countryside took us through East and West Saltoun to join the Pencaitland railway path. Near Ormiston we stopped by some picnic tables and the leader doled out homemade carrot cake.
Whilst the writer thoroughly enjoyed the carrot cake, he did worry that a new precedent had been set for Extra rides. Why worry? Because he will be leading the August Extra ride. We had just finished our cake and were preparing to depart when more rain began to fall. Out came the waterproofs again. This was the heaviest rain of the day; and whilst it lasted longer, it did soon clear up. We reached the end of the path at Crossgatehall, headed towards Dalkeith, turned down the minor road towards Smeaton, before joining the path that took us to Whitecraig. From there we headed towards Musselburgh via the River Esk path. Just before the bridge carrying the East Coast mainline, we stopped and the leader declared the ride over. Some headed back to Fisherrow whilst the rest turned off and headed towards Musselburgh station, Newcraighall and Edinburgh via the Innocent railway. Thanks to Verity for her leadership. A proper briefing with safety advice, a lovely and unfamiliar route and homemade cake. It looks as if the leaders bar has just been seriously raised.

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



Monday, 24 July 2017

Extra ride this coming Saturday

We'll be having another of our Extra rides this coming Saturday (29th). As you know, these rides are longer than our usual runs, with a faster pace and fewer breaks - but still, we hope, with the same sociable atmosphere.

This time, Verity will be leading us to Haddington. The outward route will be via the East Lothian coast and the Longniddry cycle path. We'll be returning by way of East and West Saltoun and the Pencaitland cycle path. Most of the route will be a reasonable gradient, but we can expect a couple of short climbs in the afternoon. There is one short section on a busy main road.

For lunch, there will be several options. If it's a nice day, you can head to the river for a picnic (bring your own food or aim to pick up a sandwich in the town). There is also a choice of pubs and cafés for those who prefer to eat indoors.

Our departure point will be Fisherrow Harbour in Musselburgh. This is about six miles from central Edinburgh. The total length of the ride (Fisherrow - Haddington - Edinburgh) will be about 35 miles.

Please aim to get to the start point in time for a 10.30 departure. There is no advance booking for our rides; just turn up on the day.

Evening rides

We've still got a few Thursday evening rides coming up. On this coming Thursday (27th), we'll be heading north for a tour of the Edinburgh waterfront, taking in various harbours and beaches. The meeting point for these rides is outside the All Bar One, next to the Sheraton Hotel in Lothian Road. The ride starts at 18.45 and aims to finish around dark (be sure to bring lights).

That's all for now. I hope to see you on one or more of our rides. In the meantime, happy pedalling.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

A summer meander to Dalkeith


Today's ride saw us meander our way to Dalkeith on what felt like a summer's day. Summer in Edinburgh so far could best be described as mixed. The preceding week had once again given us a day of wall-to-wall rain. Against this backdrop, we were blessed with a lovely summer's day. There was a slight breeze, sometimes it was a little cool. It wasn't continuously sunny; but it was pleasantly warm without being too hot - a perfect day for cycling. Obviously the weather played a large part in us having 35 starters. As ever, it was great to see a smattering of new faces in amongst the regulars. We split into two groups and rolled away from the start. Over the George Square cobbles, we twiddled through a mixture of back streets and main roads to find ourselves in Holyrood Park via Dumbiedykes Road. We crossed Queen's Drive to join the shared path which was busy with pedestrians on such a lovely day. From St Mary's Loch we began the climb up the road towards Dunsapie Loch. This was our first climb of the day, and was made less pleasant as this narrow road was busy with cars. Half way up the hill we left the road behind and joined the path that would take us through a gate into the back streets of Willowbrae. We waited for the second group to arrive as their leader was not totally sure where to leave the road. A quite indistinct path, it would be easy to miss. All sorted, the first group moved off. The quiet roads of Willowbrae were soon behind us and we made our way into Figgate Park. Through this delightful park and soon we were held up by temporary traffic lights and heavy traffic on Brighton place.
The cobbles on that road seem to get more bumpy every time we go down it. One rider was unfortunate enough to have the top part of their bell shake loose and fall in the road, where it was run over by a car. We then headed towards the beach and joined the Promenade beside the Portobello Swim Centre. Thanks to the weather, this section was very busy with pedestrians, dogs and cyclists. We took it carefully and emerged unscathed onto the road towards Musselburgh. A brief comfort stop at Fisherrow and we took quiet roads, crossed Olive Bank Road and made our way onto the lovely path beside the River Esk to Whitecraig. From there we took the busy A6094 to Dalkeith. Despite us splitting into smaller groups to make it easier for traffic to overtake, we still saw examples of reckless driving as drivers refused to be held up by troublesome cyclists. That road is probably one to avoid in future. Even the most experienced cyclists in the group didn't feel safe on it. Normally we would head into the back of Dalkeith country Park to avoid the road. But that wasn't an option due to the Dalkeith Country Show being held there. With a sigh of relief we left the road behind and twiddled through almost deserted back streets. As that bit of the route was quite tricky to follow, the leader went back to guide the second group through whilst the writer led the first group to the pub and picnic spot in King's Park.

After a nice lunch either sitting outside the pub or picnicing in the park, we were ready for our return journey.  Two riders that wanted to get back quicker tranferred from the second to the first group at this point. We headed out of Dalkeith on Lothian Road and turned into the new housing estate near the fire station. The leader must have got a sore arm as he got the group through the kissing gate. There is no record of how many kisses he received! Through Waterfall Park, across Newmills Road, through another park and we were back at the horrible A6094. Fortunately, we were not going back that way. Instead, cycle paths took us back to Whitecraig via Dalkeith High School. From Whitecraig we took the Grove back towards Musselburgh. But this time we turned off and headed towards the railway station. From there we took the familiar route back to the Meadows via the Innocent Railway. Thanks to Michael for leading us to a familiar place, but by an interesting and less common route. Was great to have something akin to proper summer weather; long may it continue. Was also good to see some new faces. Hopefully everyone enjoyed themselves and we'll see them on future rides.

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


Tuesday, 4 July 2017

July ride this coming Saturday


Just a quick reminder of our ride this coming Saturday (8th July).

We will be heading out to Dalkeith, with Michael (Law) leading. The route will be mainly on well-surfaced paths and quiet roads, with just a couple of small hills - nothing too onerous. The total distance will be about 20 - 22 miles.

For lunch, there will be a choice between a picnic in the King's Park in the town centre, or a meal in a nearby pub. If you prefer the picnic option, there will be an opportunity to pick up some food in a the supermarket next to the park.

As always, you don't need to reply to this post. Just turn up if you are coming. We'll depart from our habitual spot at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk at 10.30.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

A windy sojourn to Linlithgow


For the second 20 Milers Extra outing of the year we headed into West Lothian to the historic town of Linlithgow. It was a cool day with a much stronger wind than expected in late June. Battling into the wind heading out did mean that it helped blow us home. We may have been home in record time had it not been for some stiff climbs. One rider was glad he had opted to bring his electric bike; whilst another was delighted that he helped push her up the steeper parts! A good turnout of 22 riders, with a few new faces rolled away from the start point at Craigleith. It was lovely to see our leader for today, Julia, riding the late Logan Strang's bike. The very familiar route through Barnton, over the Cramond Bridge, the path beside the A90 and Dalmeney soon had us in South Queensferry despite the headwind. Following a comfort stop in the town, we were on our way again. One of our regulars suffered a puncture at this stage. What should have been a quick and easy fix was compounded by not one, but two faulty inner tubes. This was obviously going to take longer than expected. It was agreed that the victim and one other would fix the puncture and meet us in Linlithgow for lunch. It was not a day for standing around. Having got quite cool waiting, it was a relief for the main group to be moving again. We headed out through the Hopetoun Estate. To everyone's delight, the irritating gate that used to take ages to get anything other than a very small group through had finally been replaced by something much more user-friendly. This replacement was long overdue, but most welcome.
Leaving the estate behind, a mixture of paths, quiet roads and a path alongside a busy road led us to Philipstoun. Whilst crossing a busy road at a blind bend, someone shouted "car!" so loudly that a couple of rides fell over and landed in a heap in the middle of the road. Fortunately, the car stopped, the riders picked themselves up, brushed themselves down - the drama was over and we were on our way again. Across a lovely hump-back bridge, a right turn and we were on the towpath beside the Union Canal. This path led us to Linlithgow and our lunch stop. In the square at the bottom of the hill that led up to Linlithgow Palace, it felt quite cool and windy. As a result, most of the group headed off to various cafes. Only four brave souls made their way up the hill to the palace for a picnic lunch. Surprisingly, it was less windy and much warmer there. For a short time the sun came out and the picnicers enjoyed what would be the warmest part of the day.

After lunch, we regrouped in the square and retraced our route to the canal. The two missing riders were now back with us. There were a few puzzled faces as we headed west! Not to worry - the leader knew exactly what she was doing. It was a great relief to have the wind behind us. Before long we were on the climb up to Ochiltree Castle. We had been warned to expect a stiff climb; but it still took many by surprise and the group was soon quite spread out. It was on this stretch that the rider on the electric bike was able to [quite literally] lend a helping hand and push another rider towards the top. Another rider had told us earlier that she had seen a fantastic T-shirt slogan that read, "It's a hill - get over it". So that's what the group did. There were a few moans when we thought we had reached the summit, only to find a further climb around the next corner. Eventually it was all behind us and a pleasant run on a high level road followed before heading gently downhill all the way to Niddry Castle and Kirkliston. A comfort stop was planned at Kirkliston Leisure Centre. Unfortunately, it was closed. So to any bystanders, a group of cyclists rode into the car park, did a circuit and left. We rode through Kirkliston and joined the cycle path for a pleasant ride through the trees before heading onto the road towards Burnshot Bridge. There we had to navigate through the roadworks, nip through the underpass and we were on our way back to Cramond Bridge and onwards to Craigleith. Thanks to Julia for leading us on an interesting (and at times challenging) ride out to Linlithgow.

Leader: Julia
Report: Glenn
Photos: Glenn

Monday, 19 June 2017

20-Milers Extra this weekend



Our second Extra of the year will take place this coming Saturday (24th).

Julia (Richardson) will be taking us to Linlithgow. For the outward run, we'll head out to South Queensferry, the Hopetoun Estate and the village of Philpstoun, ending with a stretch along the canal and into the town. After lunch, we'll have a stiff climb up to Ochiltree Castle, but this will be followed by a delightful high-level run on a quiet road heading gently downhill all the way to Niddry Castle and Kirkliston. Apart from one short stretch on a main road, the entire route looks very pleasant.

For lunch, we'll head for the grounds of Linlithgow Palace for a picnic (we'll pause in South Queensferry for anyone who wants to buy a sandwich on the way out). For those who prefer a hot lunch, there are several cafés around the main square. Toilets are available in the nearby Burgh Halls.

Distance and pace

The total distance will be about 35 miles. As always with our Extra rides, we'll be cycling somewhat faster than our usual 20-Milers pace and with fewer breaks. Please keep that in mind when deciding whether or not to join this ride.

Time and place

Our meeting point will be the Sustrans marker at the Craigleith path junction (see http://20milers.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/how-to-find-our-craigleith-meeting-point.html if you need directions). Please be ready to leave at 10.00.

There's no need to book in advance for this ride. As usual, just turn up on the day.

Other news

Our Thursday evening rides are continuing through the summer. As this coming Thursday (22nd) is very nearly the longest day of the year, we will be having our traditional summer solstice run, where we visit some unusual places of interest around the city centre and enjoy the panoramic view from Calton Hill. For more information, see http://20milers.pbworks.com/w/page/117130077/FrontPage.

Finally, one of our regular riders, Jenny Tizard, has just completed an impressive ride up the length of Scotland: 515 miles from Gretna Green to John o'Groats. She completed the run in ten days, mainly cycling alone. Jenny has now written an entertaining account of the ride, accompanied by some superb photos. You can see it at http://neverkissamaninacanoe.blogspot.co.uk/2017/06/gretna-green-to-john-ogroats.html.

That's all for now. Enjoy your cycling.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

A Craigie Caper



When I woke up this morning the rain was pounding on the window panes. And the forecast promised more relentless rain throughout the morning. Pessimistically, I donned my waterproofs and set out for Middle Meadow Walk. But such are the uncertainties of Scottish weather. By the time I arrived, the downpour had turned into a light drizzle. An hour into the ride it had stopped, and by lunchtime we were sitting in the sun with the temperature in the twenties.

Despite the poor weather at the start, 22 people turned up for the ride – a very satisfactory number. There were several newcomers, including some graduates from Cycling for Softies and EasyCycle – all very welcome.

After the customary briefing, David, our leader for the day, took us down to the Leamington lift bridge and on to Roseburn Park and Murrayfield. We picked up Quiet Route 9 through Corstorphine and the Gyle, then took the lochside path through Edinburgh Park. After passing through a new underpass below the main Glasgow Road (see photo), we paused for our first break of the day at the gleaming new Edinburgh Gateway station. Our leader, who was fresh off the plane from a business trip to India, produced some interesting sweetmeats purchased in Bangalore. I'm not sure what they consisted of, but they were definitely edible.


The next section of the ride took us north along Cammo Way, into Cammo Country Park and across the delightful Grotto Bridge. This is a beautiful spot, with the fast-flowing Almond gushing through a deep tree-lined valley and not a building or road in sight.

By complete contrast, we then approached the busy Queensferry Road. This is the spot where, because of the closure of the Burnshot Bridge, cyclists (and pedestrians) are obliged to use a coned-off lane of the dual carriageway. On our last ride, despite a strict admonition from the leader to stay as close to the verge as possible, one of the party ventured onto the wrong side of the cones and, sheep-like, half the group followed, despite cars speeding past inches away and other cyclists coming towards them. Obviously, the authorities had taken note of this flagrant transgression. Today, the lane in question was guarded by a solid metal barrier keeping us cyclists well and truly where we belong.

Once safely off the dual carriageway, we quickly tackled the only serious climb of the day and were soon taking our ease on the sunny terrace of Craigie's Farm, where luncheon was served.

For the afternoon leg, we went down the far side of Craigie Hill and back across the Queensferry Road to join NCN 1. We pedalled about half a mile north, then through the Chapel Gate for a circuit of the Dalmeny Estate. We re-joined NCN 1 at Burnshot, then headed back to town via Cramond Brig and Barnton. By the time we passed Roseburn, people started to peel off, with the remnant of the group making it back to the Meadows with time to spare for a coffee. At 23 miles, it was a very satisfactory ride with some interesting new sections and plenty of variety – not to mention the satisfaction of confounding the weather forecast.

Leader and map trace: David
Report: Mike
Photos: Michael


Monday, 5 June 2017

Rides in June


We've got two rides planned for the month ahead.

On this coming Saturday (10th), David will be leading us on what promises to be a very interesting tour of bike paths to the west of the city, taking in the Dalmeny Estate, Cammo Park and the western reaches of the Gyle - including a chance to see the brand new Edinburgh Gateway station.

For lunch, we'll stop at one of our most popular venues: Craigie's Farm. This is a very nice café with a good choice of meals and snacks and plenty of space - including picnic tables outside for those who like to eat al fresco.

The total distance will be about 22 miles, mainly on good surfaces. There will be a steep climb just before lunch and a few other moderate hills, but no other particular difficulties.

We'll set out at 10.30 from our usual spot at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk. As always, just turn up on the day; no need to tell anyone in advance that you are coming.

St Andrews ride on the 17th

Several members of our group will again be tackling the Edinburgh - St Andrews run this year. If you would like to join them, meet near the "6 - 7 Hours" flag in Inverleith Park. It's not too late to register for the ride; you can even do that on the day (but you will need to arrive about 20 minutes early to do so).

For more information about the event,see http://www.cycling-edinburgh.org.uk/lepra-ride.htm.

20-Milers Extra on the 24th

For our second Extra of the season, Julia will be leading, with a route provisionally planned for Linlithgow. I'll post more information nearer the time.

A reminder

Finally I'll take this opportunity to remind you always to bring a spare inner tube on our rides if at all possible, as this makes life a lot easier if a puncture strikes. If you don't know what size or type of tube to bring, your favourite bike shop will advise. It's also helpful if you could bring whatever tools are needed to remove your wheel if it doesn't have a quick-release hub (most modern bikes do).

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Turned out nice again. Well, almost.


Following two days of glorious summer weather, today's opening 20 Milers Extra ride of the year looked set to continue the trend. The day dawned warm, bright and sunny. Alas, the forecast suggested something different later on. The promise of a heavy thundery downpour complete with hail around lunchtime did not bode well for the planned picnic lunch in Almondell & Calderwood Country Park. In the end we got to enjoy our picnic lunch in the dry. There was a bit of rain, but nothing like as bad as suggested. The weather of the previous two days and the lovely start to today resulted in a respectable 18 riders making the start. The leader had made it clear that the ride would begin at 1015 sharp, and it did. But riders finishing coffee and faffing about meant the ride was in disarray from the start. The one group that left the Craigleith start point was not back together as one unit until we reached the bridge at Cramond. A short distance up the A90 sliproad and we crossed to go through the subway. This detour was necessary due to the closure of the Burnshot Bridge. We found ourselves on the diverted route for cyclists and pedestrians. This consisted of a narrow track seperated from the fast moving traffic on the A90 by nothing more than cones and rope. It was a relief to ride up the slip road and follow the road to Kirkliston for a comfort stop at the leisure centre. We left the main road behind heading under a bridge carrying the M9 motorway. Beside a much older bridge, we were faced with a steep climb to join the railway path. A couple of hardy souls rode up it, whilst the rest of us got off and pushed. A short while later we joined the canal towpath to Broxburn before getting on the road to Uphall. Off road again and we were in lovely West Lothian countryside.
We paused atop the Camps Viaduct to admire the view and take photos. With the weather still on our side, we pressed on towards lunch. Probably the best kept secret in West Lothian, Almondell & Calderwood Country Park is tucked out of sight in the valley of the River Almond between Broxburn and East Calder. Behind the converted stable block house that is now the visitor centre lies a delightful garden complete with benches and picnic tables. That is where we enjoyed a picnic lunch. It remained warm but the sun was hidden by cloud.

Lunch over, the first spots of rain were felt. There then began that silly indecisive dance. Shall we or shall we not put on our waterproofs? Some said it would make them too warm, some put them on, others copied what the person beside them did. We climbed the hill we had earlier whizzed down back to the entrance and the main road. It soon began to rain heavily and riders stopped to don waterproofs. Then it stopped raining. Some removed them, whilst others kept them on. It looked set to be "one of those days". We pressed on accompanied by changeable weather. Although annoying, the rain was not that heavy and continued to come and go. At the Bridge Inn at Ratho we joined the canal towpath and headed towards Edinburgh. We passed the lovely little Ratho Marina and stayed on the canal as far as Gogar Station Road. Leaving the canal behind we cut through to Edinburgh Park and the Gyle. Onwards through Broomhouse, we rode past Murrayfield where a couple of cricket matches were in full swing. At the bottom of the zig zags leading onto the Roseburn Path, the leader declared the ride over and we headed off in different directions. Thanks to Mike for leading an interesting ride out into West Lothian. Thanks to the weather for failing to live up to expectations - intermittent light rain was as bad as it got.

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



Monday, 22 May 2017

20-Milers Extra this coming Saturday


The Camps Viaduct. On Saturday's ride we will be cycling
over the top of this imposing structure.
This coming Saturday (27th) sees the first of our Extra rides of the summer. We'll be heading west, passing through Kirkliston, Broxburn and Uphall, then crossing the magnificent Camps Viaduct (75 feet above the River Almond) before returning to town by way of Bonnington and Ratho. Most of the route will be on quiet back roads, but there will also be a couple of stretches on the canal towpath (reasonably good surfaces) and about a mile or so on a narrow path that might be rough in places. There will be a few hills, but nothing too demanding.

Distance and pace

Please keep in mind that our Extra rides are longer than our usual runs and go at a faster pace with fewer breaks. This one will be 35 - 38 miles. If you find our normal rides well within your comfort zone, you should have no difficulties with this one. But if that's not the case, you might prefer to give this one a miss. Try a few shorter rides first, then come back when your fitness level improves (we have several more Extras planned for the coming months).

Despite the faster pace, we will still try to keep the ride "sociable", with our customary friendly atmosphere.

Lunch venue

We will have our lunch break in the beautiful Almondell Country Park. Note that there is no catering of any kind in the park, apart from the visitor centre which sells vending-machine drinks and a limited range of confectionery, so be sure to bring food for a picnic lunch. There are toilets in the park (and we will have an additional comfort break mid morning.)

The ride and picnic lunch will go ahead as planned even if the weather is poor. A light drizzle or gusty wind won't put us off. But if conditions are really atrocious, we might choose a shorter route and a café for lunch.

Meeting time and place

Regardless of the weather, the ride will start from the Craigleith path junction (see here if you need directions).

Please gather at the meeting point from about 10.00, and be ready to leave at 10.15 sharp.

We will probably be back in town around 16.00. We won't necessarily return to Craigleith; we will probably pass Murrayfield, Roseburn Park and the southern end of the Roseburn Path on the return leg.

I hope to see you either this coming Saturday or one of our other rides.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Eight out, two back – a damp weekend to Perth


The fourth annual 20 Milers weekend away saw us head north to the fair city of Perth. What turned out to be a damp, and at times downright wet and blustery weekend saw eight set out on Saturday morning. But only two rolled back into Edinburgh in the early evening sunshine on Sunday. Whilst that may seem like a terrible rate of attrition, it wasn’t quite as bad as it sounds.

On a cool damp Saturday morning, a mere eight riders met at the Craigleith marker to begin our journey to Perth. No doubt the weather played a big part, but this was the lowest turnout since our weekend away rides began in 2014. With us all in waterproofs, we headed off along the familiar path towards South Queensferry and the Forth Bridge. One of the group fell courtesy of an uneven drop kerb at Dalmeny. Fortunately, no injury or damage occurred and we carried on through the new housing estate. As we got closer to the bridge we stopped to speak to an old lady walking her dog. She told us she thought the bridge was closed to cyclists as a result of kestrel damage! On arriving at the bridge, we discovered this was not the case. But it certainly made us smile and cropped up in the conversation a number of times over the weekend. Our concern at the bridge was the chaos caused by the roadworks. We are so used to quickly and smoothly making our way to the foot and cycleway on the eastside of the bridge. But not today. We had to negotiate our way to the westside before we could begin our crossing. Once across we were confronted with miles of cones, rope and strange door frames at crossing points. There was one benefit. The usually horribly busy road into Inverkeithing was as quiet as most of us had ever seen it. We left Inverkeithing behind us and headed towards Dalgety Bay. From there we found ourselves on the B901 Clocklunie Road – not Clock-the-loony as some on the group had christened it. This was a steep road that went down into the valley before climbing out at the far side.
Being a busy and narrow road meant we were delighted to see a lovely wide, well surfaced cycle path running alongside. Two brave souls wanted to whizz down the road and see how far up the other side their momentum would carry them. The rest of the group took the path not caring that a gateway at the bottom would scupper any chance of that. It was great zooming down; but it was very hard work going up the other side. We then pressed on through Crossgates, Cowdenbeath and on to Kinross. In Kinross it began to rain heavily. Fortunately, our lunchstop, the Muirs Inn emerged from the gloom and we rushed inside. The rain continued as we enjoyed a lovely lunch. We didn’t rush. One of the group had been checking train times and urged us to get a move on so he could make Perth in time for his train back to Edinburgh. Well, it was time to get moving and the rain had stopped. We made our way through Milnathort and turned left up a minor road towards Netherton. A sign told us this road was closed, but fortunately we were able to get through. On this road about ten horses decided to gallop up and down their field for a few minutes. Perhaps they didn’t get to see many cyclists. We passed through Colliston, Drunzie, Duncrevie and Glenfarg. Near Dron we found ourselves on a beautiful long descent. It may have been a minor road, but the curves were gentle and the surface smooth and free of the dreaded gravel. Some reported hitting 40 mph here. Then came the cloud burst. There was no shelter on this stretch. We had agreed to regroup beneath a bridge that carries the M90 motorway. There was plenty of room under the bridge. It looked as if the weather had set in for the day. We anticipated it being like that all the way to Perth. The rider who wanted to catch his train realised he would make better progress alone, so left us and headed out into the rain. Astonishingly, a few minutes later the rain stopped and the sun made its first appearance of the day, and that’s how it stayed as we made our way into Perth. One rider headed off to meet their lift home, whilst three piled into a strategically parked van for their return to Edinburgh. And then there were three. We made our way to our overnight accommodation, enjoyed the luxury of a hot shower and change of clothes before meeting up for dinner. Obviously, dinner was less lively than in previous years due to depleted numbers.

On Sunday morning, the three remaining riders met beside the main road bridge across the Tay to begin our journey back to Edinburgh. It was dry, bright but cloudy and a touch cool. We retraced our route from the previous day. With the beautiful steep descent near Dron now ahead of us as a most foreboding climb, the leader turned left on to a flat road. Phew! This quiet road led us to the A912. We headed south on this fast twisty road keeping in single file. There was some traffic, but being a Sunday morning it was not overly busy. This led us to our morning coffee stop at the delightful, friendly and welcoming Bein Inn. From there we went through Glenfarg, Duncreavie, Drunzie and Milnathort before arriving at Loch Leven Larder for lunch. The café there looked very nice. But the “you’ll have to wait at least 20 minutes for a table” did not appeal. We got some food from the deli and sat outside, but under cover as it was now raining. In a field closer to Loch Leven a cricket match continued despite the rain. At this point one of the group left us to head to Cowdenbeath for a train back to Edinburgh. And then there were two. We headed down to the loch. A lovely path and fine views should have made this part of the ride lovely. But there was a drawback – the swarms of flies and midges. It began to make sense why so many cyclists heading towards us had their faces covered as if they were on their way to rob a bank. On leaving the lochside and getting back on the road the wind got up. This annoying headwind did not seem to let up until we were back in Edinburgh. This headwind and some dull featureless roads made parts of our journey out of Fife something of a slog at times. At Dalgety Bay the leader suffered the first puncture of the weekend. He told the writer to go on. That wasn’t going to happen. The 20 Milers ethos has always been that we stick together. No one ever gets left on their own.  Puncture fixed and we were rolling again. Once more we threaded our way through the maze of roadworks to get onto the Forth Bridge. Thanks to the strong headwind, climbing to the highest point on the bridge felt like climbing a mountain. Eventually we got across. Not a kestrel in sight. From there familiar roads and paths took us back to the Cramond Brig Hotel for a well-deserved pint. We sat outside the pub in the early evening sunshine and shed our jackets for the first time all weekend. From there we returned to Craigleith where the ride was officially closed, and the final two headed home in opposite directions.

The weekend had been tough at times. Not Peebles tough, but no easy amble. There had been stretchs on some busy roads; but that was balanced by some lovely quiet lanes. Some of the climbs were tough, but going from Edinburgh to Perth – there are hills in between. Think of them as a challenge. Remember, there is no shame in walking up the steepest ones. Sometimes its quicker and easier than riding them! A big thanks must go to Jim for all the effort he put in to planning, recceing and leading the ride. Going out on his own recceing the route in the winter months deserves a mention in despatches, if not a medal.

Leader: Jim
Organiser: Glenn
Report: Glenn
Photos: Glenn and Graham
Map trace: Jim





Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Burnshot Bridge closure: alternative route to Kirkliston and beyond


Updated: 21 May

The Burnshot Bridge is currently closed to all traffic – including cyclists and pedestrians. This is the bridge over the main A90 Queensferry Road near Cramond Brig. It lies on the main bike route between Edinburgh and Kirkliston, and its closure is a major nuisance to cyclists travelling between the capital and parts of West Lothian.

Since this article was posted on 17 May, Edinburgh Council have established an alternative route between NCN 1 near Cramond Brig and the Kirkliston Road. This route, which is described below, is easier and safer than the other options, and has the benefit of being signposted - at least in part.

To reach this alternative route, head north on NCN 1 from Cramond Brig (this is the route that goes alongside the dual carriageway, not the longer route through the Dalmeny Estate).

The closed bridge as seen from NCN 1
After a short distance, you will see a tunnel on your left that goes under the A90 (see photo below). This is next to the public weighbridge and opposite a bus stop. Go through the tunnel. At the other end, keep on the path as it veers to the left. This takes you onto the dual carriageway - but in a coned-off lane that is reserved for cyclists and pedestrians.

It is advisable to keep well to the left as you cycle in this lane, to keep some distance between yourself and the fast-moving traffic. Also, watch out for cyclists coming towards you. Although it is not obvious, this lane is in fact two-way for cyclists.

After about half a mile, leave the dual carriageway by a slip road. This joins the Kirkliston Road just to the west of the closed bridge. You can now continue on the original route.

Coming back

The tunnel under the dual carriageway
If you are cycling in the opposite direction, that is, from the Kirkliston area towards Edinburgh, just reverse the above directions. When you reach
the closed bridge, turn right down the slip road onto the dual carriageway, using the coned-off lane mentioned above. Leave the main road at the next exit and go through the tunnel to join NCN 1. Turn right by the bus stop for Cramond Brig and Edinburgh.



How long?

Nobody seems to know for how long the Burnshot Bridge will be closed. We'll post more information as it becomes available. In the meantime, feel free to post a comment if you have experience with the route described here.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

With the leading ladies to South Queensferry


Today's ride saw us head out to South Queensferry. After a long spell of dry weather, what a shame today saw the first rain in weeks. With a break from tradition, today we had two leaders. Both Dawn and Ollie were leading for the first time. Between them they did a good job and can expect be asked to lead again. In amongst the 25 starters it was good to see a couple of new riders. It was cool, damp and misty as we headed away from the Meadows in one group. So, how does it work with two leaders and one group? On this occasion, Dawn led the group and Ollie back marked. We took the tried and tested route to the Leamington Bridge where the continued closure of the canal towpath forced us on to the busy Dundee Street. Having safely negotiated that, we went down the Telfer subway and followed the path to Dalry Road. After a short spell on that busy road, quieter ones led us to the zig zags and up onto the Roseburn path. This took us to Granton where we passed that local landmark, the Granton gasometer. On along the Silverknowes Esplanade to Cramond where we stopped whilst sweets and cakes were passed round. Whilst it was nice to have a break, the cool misty weather meant we were glad to be moving again. It was not a day for standing around. We rode beside the River Almond, before warming up on the short but steep climb up School Brae. A short run along Whitehouse Road before turning right down Peggy's Mill Road. This narrow road was new to many of the group and led us back beside the River Almond and on to Cramond Bridge. From there we made our way on NCN 76 through the lovely Dalmeny Estate. The earlier rain had damped down the dust a little. But a lot more would be needed to make the tracks truly muddy. We encountered heavy drizzle on the last stretch into South Queensferry. On the narrow High Street a lorry and coach had met resulting in traffic being at a standstill. It was easy for us to dismount and walk along the pavement to where we parked our bikes. Whilst most of the group headed to various cafes for lunch; four hardy souls sat in the heavy drizzle to eat their sandwiches. At one point, one of the picnicers even produced an umbrella. Talk about coming prepared! It soon dried up, but remained cool and misty. The group has been to South Queensferry enough times to have seen weather ranging from pouring rain to beautiful warm sunshine. We would have hoped for better in mid-May.

As we were preparing to get under way, a puncture was discovered. This was soon repaired and we were off. This time Ollie was leading and Dawn back marking. A short steep hill immediately after the lunch stop is never popular. But that had to be dealt with to reach the Co-op car park where we joined the cycle path to Dalmeny. Through the village and onto the cyclepath beside the A90 and we were soon back at Cramond Bridge. Making our way through Barnton, those at the back were surprised to see the leader talking to a pedestrian whilst the group had stopped further up the road. It appeared that the lady had wanted to find out more about the group. A new recruit perhaps? From there we took the familiar route back to the Meadows via Craigleith, the Roseburn path, Telfer subway and Leamington Bridge. As the ride ended, the sun was trying to peep through; but it remained cool and the wind was beginning to get stronger. New leaders; a new way of leading - two rather than one and a trouble-free ride; what more could anyone ask for? Looks like two more leaders have been added to the list.

Leaders: Dawn and Ollie
Report: Glenn
Photos: Glenn
Map trace: Jim



Monday, 8 May 2017

Three rides for May


We've got three rides planned for this month. Here are some details - along with news of some other bike-related events:

Standard ride : 13 May

Our next standard ride will be this coming Saturday. Ollie and Dawn will be leading us to South Queensferry by a slightly unconventional route. With a total distance of about 25 miles, the ride will be a little longer than usual but there won't be any particularly steep hills to slow us down. There might be a couple of rough paths, although most of the route will be on reasonably good surfaces.

For lunch, we'll spread ourselves among the various cafés and pubs in South Queensferry. For those who prefer to bring their own food there is a nice picnic spot with good views over the Forth.

The ride will start at 10.30 from our usual meeting point in Middle Meadow Walk.

Weekend away: 20 - 21 May

For our fourth annual cycling weekend, we'll be heading to Perth. We'll leave Edinburgh on the Saturday morning, returning late Sunday afternoon. Jim will be leading us on what promises to be an attractive route through Fife and Kinross. There will be about 40 miles of cycling each day. This will include a certain amount of climbing but nothing too severe; but there will be one very steep descent on the Saturday afternoon, so I hope all our brakes are in good order.

There will be lunch stops at a café or pub on both days.

If you are planning to join this ride, you should book your own accommodation in Perth for the Saturday night. Those who want to do the Saturday ride but not stay overnight should make their own arrangements to return to Edinburgh by train. Those who are stopping in Perth will have the option of meeting up for a meal in the evening.

The meeting point for this ride will be the Craigleigh path junction (if you don't know where that it, see here). Get there in time for a 10.30 departure on the Saturday morning. You don't need to book for the ride itself, but if you haven't already done so it would be helpful if you could let Glenn know that you are coming, just in case of any last-minute change of plans. His email address is glenn.brearley[[AT]]forestry.gsi.gov.uk.

First Extra ride of 2017: 27 May

The following weekend will see our first Extra of the year. As you know, these rides are longer than our usual "second Saturday" outings (usually about 35 miles) and go at a somewhat faster pace. If you find our normal rides well within your capabilities, you should have no problem with our Extras. But if you are unsure of your fitness level, you might prefer to give this one a miss.

I'll post more information about this Extra once the details have been firmed up.

Evening rides

Don't forget that we have a ride every Thursday evening throughout the summer. For more information, see here.

More cycling events

With summer just round the corner, the local cycling scene is hotting up. We have the Edinburgh Festival of Cycling next month, as well as the Spokes Bike Breakfast and the annual Lepra run to St. Andrews - not to mention various rides organised by other local cycling groups such as EasyCycle and MellowVelo. Looking further ahead, the Edinburgh Book Festival in August often has talks on cycling-related themes.

I am posting details of as many of these events as possible on the Cycling Edinburgh site.

That's all for now. I hope we'll see you on one or more of the above events. In the meantime, happy pedalling.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Evening rides start this week


Starting this coming Thursday (27th April), we will be having an evening ride every week throughout the summer. These rides will be about 15 miles or so, and will be taken at a moderate "sociable" pace. That means about 10 mph, which is a little faster than our Saturday runs but not so fast that you can't keep up a conversation.

The details are as follows:


Meeting point: At the very end of the Union Canal in Fountainbridge. Look for us near the outside tables at the back of the Akva bar.

Start time: We'll gather from 18.30, in time for a 18.45 departure.

Finish time: Most rides will end around dusk, which is about 20.30 at present but nearer 22.00 in mid June. Be sure to bring lights (with plenty of spare battery power).

Cost and booking: Like all of our rides, these evening runs are completely free, with no need to book in advance.

Other details: In most cases, the ride will end at or near the start point. There might sometimes be an optional pub visit at the end of the ride, but note that there will be no official meal break.

We won't be posting individual reminders for these rides, so keep the above details handy. There is also a special blog page where you can find details of the routes that have been planned so far, as well as directions to the meeting point and other useful information. See http://20milers.pbworks.com.

Thanks to Jim for taking the initiative in planning and organising these events.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Pedal on Parliament this Saturday


20-Milers meeting for the 2016 PoP
As you probably know, the annual Pedal on Parliament takes place this coming Saturday (22nd April). This is a fun event, in which thousands of cyclists descend on the city centre, and ride from the Meadows to Holyrood on roads closed to motor vehicles.

As usual, a 20-Milers contingent will be taking part. We will meet outside the Bicycle Works in Argyle Place (which is just south of the Meadows, near the southern end of Middle Meadow Walk). We'll gather from 11.00, and aim to join to main crowd on the Meadows at 11.15.

If you miss us at the above meeting point, make your own way to the Meadows, and look out for us there.

The event includes a mass bell-ringing, so if you have a particularly loud bell or a hooter, please bring it. If you can decorate your bike with flags or balloons, so much the better.

I hope you'll be able to make it. If you want to know more about Pedal on Parliament, have a look at the event's website.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Our next cycling weekend: Perth in May


This year's 20-Milers cycling weekend will be to Perth on 20th – 21st May.

We'll leave Edinburgh on the Saturday morning and make our way to Perth. We'll  stay overnight (all meet up for dinner) in Perth and return to Edinburgh on the Sunday.

The pace will be similar to a usual 20-Milers rides. The distance each day will be about 40 miles.

You will need to book your own accommodation. It's very likely that we'll end up in several different hotels / guest houses / bed &  breakfasts.

If you are interested in joining this ride, please let Glenn know. This doesn't commit you to anything. It's just to give us an idea of numbers, and also so that we can keep you informed of any changes in plan.

Please reply direct to Glenn Brearley, glenn.brearleyATTforestry.gsi.gov.uk (replace ATT with the usual AT-sign).

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Carberry beneath blue skies


At the end of a week when the 20 Milers had said farewell to one of their own; today's ride was never going to be easy. A respectable turn out of 25 riders gathered at the start for the April ride to Carberry. Beneath blue skies with a slight chill in the air, the leader spent a couple of minutes paying tribute to Logan Strang who sadly passed away whilst riding with friends from the group on 25th March. There then followed the customary briefing before we headed off towards the Innocent tunnel in one group. It was good to see new faces and some we hadn't seen for a while mixed in with the regular ones. It was nice to see the road works had gone from Milton Road as we made our way towards Musselburgh station along familiar paths. At the station, we halted as various sweets and cakes were passed round. Just after leaving the station, we realised that the back marker and a couple of others were missing. The group waited a few minutes. With no sign of them, a rider was sent back to look for them. No joy. We set off hoping that they would wait by the River Esk and rejoin us there. That's what happened. After leaving the station, they had lost sight of the rest of the group and taken the second left rather than the third. We were now all back together; suspecting that Logan was laughing at us from on high. We crossed the river, made our way down the side of the race course and onto the John Muir Way as far as Prestonpans. Following a brief comfort stop, we made our way past Prestonpans station before turning onto a track that took us to the cyclepath and to the edge of Tranent. From there we climbed steadily to Elphinstone. It was now quite warm as the chill wind had dropped. Layers of clothing were shed. After re-grouping on the forecourt of a classic car dealership, we took the lovely quiet road that brought us to Crossgatehall. Just down from there, we entered the lovely Carberry estate. A ride along dirt tracks in the estate, back onto the road and we arrived at Craig House for our lunch stop. We were slightly later than planned. But no one minded as we spread ourselves around the beer garden tables in the warm sunshine. This was in contrast to the day of the recce, when four brave souls had endured dreadfully wet weather.

Lunch over, we got back on the road and began our journey towards Edinburgh. We made our way through the village of Inveresk to the church. After negotiating a gate, we sped downhill and onto the path beside the River Esk known as "The Grove". This took us to Tesco. Getting all the riders across the road took a few minutes. From there we made our way to Fisherrow Harbour. Crossing the busy road out of Musselburgh, quiet back roads took us to a gate in a wall. Through the gate, a short stretch on a busy road, through a hole in the wall and we were on the Brunstane path. We were making good progress until we came to a fence blocking the path. Fortunately, there was a diversion that took us to where we needed to be. From there, a familiar route took us back to the Meadows. Everyone seemed to have enjoyed the ride, and the newcomers were made to feel welcome. We had lovely weather and for most of the group, they had discovered places they hadn't been before. On a ride the leader had dedicated to Logan, I think we did him proud. He was in our thoughts and conversations a lot today and we can be sure he would have enjoyed the ride. We will miss him, but never forget him. Logan, thank you for being our friend - it was a privilege.

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


Monday, 27 March 2017

Logan Strang 1938 - 2017


I am very sorry to report that one of our best-known and longest-standing members has died. George Strang - known to us all as Logan - suffered a heart attack while out cycling with three of our group in East Lothian on Saturday. He was 79.

Logan turned to cycling following the death of a daughter in 2004. Never one to sit at home or feel sorry for himself, he often said that cycling was what kept him sane. He had been a regular member of 20-Milers since 2007, and often led our rides. He also cycled with other local groups, and took part in several big charity rides including Pedal for Scotland and the Lepra St. Andrews run. A few years ago, he undertook a solo coast-to-coast bike ride from North Yorkshire to Iona.

Always keen to encourage new and less experienced cyclists, he was the driving force behind the setting up of EasyCycle in 2011, and ran the group almost single-handed until late 2015.

Logan was born in 1938, and attended Merchiston Castle school. After completing his National Service, part of which was spent in Cyprus, he became a science teacher, and taught for many years at George Watson's College. Always active and physically fit, he often took his pupils on sailing and skiing trips.

A few weeks ago, Logan was admitted to hospital for a minor operation. He was recovering well, and was soon back in the saddle. On Saturday, he joined three other members of our group for a ride to Humbie. Soon after the lunch stop, he collapsed by the side of the road. An ambulance was called and he was taken to the Infirmary, but was pronounced dead soon afterwards.

Despite some setbacks to his health in recent months, Logan repeatedly said that he would never give up cycling – and he never did. As one of our members put it, "If there can be any consolation at such a time, he passed away doing what he loved doing, with good friends, on a beautiful day. In typical fashion, he was cheerful to the end."

Funeral arrangements. A service will be held at St Peters Church, Falcon Avenue, Morningside at 1 pm on Wednesday 5th April. Family flowers only please, and no black. Retiring collection in aid of SCIAF.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

A March meander to Riccarton


We had an excellent turnout for today's ride to Riccarton (I counted 28 but there might have been more), so leader Michael (Law) wisely decided to split us into two groups. Actually, it turned out to be three groups, but that was by accident rather than design; more about that in a moment.

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