EDINBURGH 20-MILERS

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

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Some Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some questions about our rides that often come up:

When are your rides?
We have a ride on the second Saturday of the month, every month, all through the year. We meet at 10.30 am, at the north end of Middle Meadow Walk (by the junction with Lauriston Place - see map below).

We also have a few additional rides, mainly during the summer. These tend to be a little longer and a little faster than our usual runs, and usually start earlier. The meeting place for these longer rides varies.

We post a reminder of each of our rides here on the blog, and also on the Cycling Edinburgh site.


View Middle Meadow Walk in a larger map

When does the ride finish?
No promises, but we are generally back in the city centre some time between 3 and 4 pm, depending on the weather, the number of riders who turn up, and other factors. 

How much does it cost? How do I book a place?
Those are two easy questions. All our rides are completely free. And there is no need to book in advance: just turn up on the day.

I see from the blog that the next ride goes near my house. Can I join you en route?
This is something we discourage, for several reasons. First, we can never be sure that we will follow the advertised route, as we sometimes have to change plans at short notice. And, even if we do stick to the planned route, we can't be sure that we will pass a given place at any particular time. It would be unfair to the group as a whole if we had to wait for people to meet us along the way. Also, the leader has a difficult enough job in keeping track of the riders that he or she knows about, without the added worry of picking more people up along the way. For all those reason, we ask you to join the ride at the planned meeting point.

On the other hand, do feel free to leave the ride early if we go near your home on the way back. But, if you do, please be sure to let the leader know, otherwise we might end up waiting for you along the way, or even sending out a search party.

What should I bring?
We suggest you check the weather forecast and bring whatever waterproofs you think you might need. For winter rides, bring bike lights and warm clothes including gloves and scarf.

A bottle of water is advisable, especially in hot weather, and you may like to bring a small snack to boost your energy.

It is also very helpful if you can bring a spare inner tube suitable for your wheel size (ask your local bike shop if you're not sure what size you need). If you are unlucky enough to have a puncture, there will usually be people on hand to help fix it, but having a spare tube can make the whole process considerably faster. If your bike doesn't have quick-release wheels, then bring an appropriate tool for removing the wheel (again, ask your bike shop for advice if necessary). 

When we stop for lunch, you will find that a bike lock is useful; however if you don't have one, you can double your bike up with someone else. 

Lunch
We aim to stop for lunch at a café, snack bar, pub or some other outlet where you can buy a snack and a hot drink, and where there are toilets. Some of our riders prefer to bring a packed lunch. Sometimes we disperse to several different venues, if available, to speed things up, but obviously this is not always practical. We usually take about an hour for lunch.

What sort of bike do I need?
One that works! In fact, you'll see all sorts of bikes on our rides: road bikes, hybrids, mountain bikes, folding bikes and ancient things too. These are all fine. The important thing is that you're comfortable on it and it's safe to ride. We generally find ourselves on a mix of roads, cycle paths and rough tracks, so bikes with wider tyres are often a good idea (skinny road tyres can be a bit skittery on rocky farm tracks) but there is no "must have" bike type.

Am I fit enough?
Our speed can best be described as "easy to moderate". We average about 8 to 9 mph over the day, which is a reasonable pace, but still slow enough so that people can chat to each other. We try to keep the pace un-pressured, and we cheerfully wait for stragglers. If you feel comfortable pedalling 20 to 25 miles at that speed, you should have no problems.

That said,  we do ask people not to join our rides if they haven't cycled for a long while, or if they have any doubts as to their ability. If that applies to you, we suggest that you get out for some shorter rides on your own first to make sure you will be fit enough. Better still, consider going out with EasyCycle; their rides are specifically aimed at inexperienced and less fit riders. Many people start with Easy Cycle and then move up to 20-Milers after a few outings


What if the weather is bad?
Rain, wind, cold - this is all to be expected (this is Scotland, after all), and doesn't put us off. In general, our rides go ahead whatever the weather, although we might opt for a shorter route (and more time in the café at lunch time) if the weather is really bad.

The only times when we are likely to cancel a ride is if there is snow or ice on the ground to such an extent as to make cycling dangerous. This has only happened twice in our ten-year history. In those cases, there will be somebody present at the start point to advise people of the cancellation.

Anything else I need to know?
We expect you to take care of your own safety. This means that you make the decision when it is safe to turn, pass a parked car, etc. Just because the person in front of you has turned, it doesn't mean it is necessarily safe for you to follow. You should be aware of the rules of the road for cyclists, and respect other road and path users. We don't insist that you to wear a helmet, although most people choose to do so.

If you have any problems or questions on the day, ask the ride's leader or any of the regular riders, all of whom will be glad to help.