24 Sep 2017 – A Musselburgh Meander

A Musselburgh Meander

We’ve been enjoying a bit of an Indian summer this month, with some warm sunny afternoons and temperatures often reaching the mid-teens. That might be the reason for today’s good turnout: 18 cyclists joined our ride, including several newcomers – all very welcome.

With Glenn in the leader’s seat, we headed eastward from the Meadows. Eschewing the usual route through the Innocent tunnel, we turned up St. Leonard’s Lane, and then along the delightful but little-used St. Leonard’s Bank, giving fine views over Holyrood Park. From the main entrance to the park, we zoomed down the road to Duddingston Village, then headed through Cavalry Park, past Duddingston House, and through the imposing gates in Milton Road West. A short stretch on the Innocent path took us to Brunstane Station where we picked up the narrow track alongside the Brunstane Burn.

After a short pause to regroup, we took the final leg into Musselburgh, which was our planned lunch stop. But such was our progress that it was only 11.30 am when we reached the Honest Toun. So after a toilet break at Fisherrow Harbour, we set out on a circuit of the paths to the north of the racecourse.

An interesting feature on these paths is the huge concrete arrow embedded in the ground near the mouth of Esk, pointing out to the Firth of Forth. As our leader explained, this was used during World War II to direct bombers to training targets moored in the firth. Dozens of similar structures were built around the country, but the one in Musselburgh is one of the few that is still visible, thanks mainly to the restoration work done on it by cadets of the nearby 297 Squadron.

And so to lunch. Back in the town centre, we spread ourselves among the three cafes in the High Street. Unfortunately, our visit coincided with the finish of the Scottish Half Marathon, which meant that the eateries were much busier than usual. Some of our group had to wait over 40 minutes to be served with a hot drink and a sandwich, which was annoying. But at least it gave us a chance for a good blether.

Back on the road, we took a pleasant route through Inveresk Village and on to the River Esk Walkway. From there, we followed the familiar NCN 1 route via Musselburgh Station, Queen Margaret University, Newcraighall, and back to the Innocent path. With a few riders peeling off at the foot of the tunnel, the remnants of the group made their way back to the Meadows, reaching there at around 3 pm: another very successful outing for EasyCycle.

Leader and photos: Glenn

Backmarker: Hilary

Report: Mike

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Sunday 27th August 2017 – Curios on Campus

It was a fine dry, windless morning as cyclists began to assemble at Peters Yard for an excursion to Heriot Watt University campus on an ‘Easy Cycle’ or a ‘Cycle for Softies’, depending on how the ride was brought to their attention. The fact that the ride had been posted on Cycling for Softies was the very probable reason there were a more than healthy 26, ready to go at the advertised 10.30 start time. No problem, we’ll have two groups. Well, yes there was a problem, our illustrious leader, Jim, had a recurring puncture and was unable to come on the ride. 26 riders and only one leader – oh what fun we were going to have…. Hastily, the back marker was ‘volunteered’ and, as a back-up, a marshall was ‘appointed’ to oversee the ride – pressing buttons at crossings and alerting the leader of any problems etc..
So, after a quiet word about safety to the ‘newbies’, we set off at about 10.40, on the well worn path down Middle Meadow Walk, over Melville Drive, through Bruntsfield Links and down to the Leamington Lift Bridge. It was here we had a minor mechanical. The bumps on Leamington Terrace had loosened a mudguard bolt. Luckily, the nut hadn’t fallen off and a quick tighten, whilst pulling the mudguard away from the tyre,  was all that was required. Onwards along the canal and over the Slateford Aqueduct to our exit from the canal at Kilncroft Side. Thence, over Lanark Road and on to the somewhat muddy path adjacent to the Water of Leith. Onwards again past various waterfalls, through the crescent which is Colinton Station Tunnel and under the City Bypass (A720) on a constantly elevating path, stopping for a cake bar and a breather, before continuing on up to Balerno. We then crossed the surprisingly busy Bridge Road onto Lanark Road, where we turned in along the almost concealed corridor through to Dalmahoy Crescent. We were now going to enjoy withdrawing the energy, we had earlier banked along the riverside path, on our descent on Ravelrig Road. The easy, slightly tailwind assisted, stretch along Old Dalmahoy Road and Curriehill Road saw us entering Heriott Watt University Campus at the rear gate. It was there that one of the team, a project Leader on gender equality at Heriot Watt, took over the lead, showing us the Fire Pond, Ice House and family graveyard which exist from when the Campus was a grand estate, We were also guided round the picturesque lake.
Lunchtime was upon us – but we eschewed the Student Union café (which we believe was shut in any case!) and headed to the Oriam café situated in the cloud like structure which contains the sports halls. This has only been open a matter of months and easily catered for our numerous group with no problems. A few, however, elected to dine outside as the weather was so favourable – although more outdoor seating would have been appreciated.
Some, who lived in the area, saw no reason to come back into town, so a reduced number of 21 set off on the return journey, over Calder Road and down Gogar Station Road, through the tunnel under the bypass, then past Krispy Kreme and on to the cycleway alongside the tram tracks towards the Jenners Depository. Then through Balgreen, Roseburn, Murrayfield, Dalry, up the bumps at Fountain Park and back up onto the canal. Over the Lift Bridge and along to the five ways junction at Middle Meadow Walk, where, at 15.05, the ride was declared over. The numbers had dwindled steadily on the return leg and the remaining three went for a tea/coffee at Victor Hugo’s, where we were re-joined by Jim. Although the beverage was very welcome, it didn’t feel quite as well earned as the leaders previous Easy Cycle. Good riders, good weather, negligible mechanicals, served up with a huge slice of luck, meant that the anticipated ‘fun’ was actually that.
Approximate Map-My-Ride trace:-
(Approximate because Map-My-Ride doesn’t recognise some of the paths on the campus)

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30-July-2017 Couthy Colinton

Colinton. 15 miles approx.

(Your scribe was off on a well earned holiday and so this post is a placeholder until I can talk to folk/ gather photos. )

I can see 12 plus probably the photographer making 13. Is that 6 new faces?

Alan took us North via Kings Buildings and Ellen Glen Road, to Colinton where we had lunch in the Spylaw tavern.

Lead:Alan Trace:None    Photos:Sarah   Text:Jim


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25-June-2017 Bountiful Bawsinch

A visit to Bawsinch Nature reserve.

Sunday, June 25, 2017 10:11 AM BST
Distance: 17.4 miles
Duration: 5 hours, 57 minutes, and 45 seconds
Minimum Elevation: 150 feet
Maximum Elevation: 514 feet
Total climb: 2051 feet
Total descent: 1998 feet

Two new faces, and one returnee, joined a group of six on this ‘Special’. So we set off down the Innocent, and a quick left turn at Forkenford took us to the gates of the bawsinch Reserve. (Unfortunately, one lady had to leave for knee soreness).

Ken the ranger greeted us and showed us round. This is Edinburgh’s only large nature reserve, and it really has an amazing feel to it; ten minutes out of the Meadows and it feels like you’re in a remote wilderness.   Bawsinch has nearly all of the native UK trees, including some elms, thanks to a passion of a previous ranger.  (Apparently not the way to do things today. )

Ken has the habit of holding folk spellbound while taking about his trees, and it was time for lunch when we emerged.  We had intended to ride down the Duddingston Road to lunch, but the traffic looked too heavy, so we continued on the paths instead. This added 2 miles, but at least we were safe.

Riding the long footbridge near Hope Lane took us to Portobello, and lunch at the Espy.

We returned via the Restalrig path to Leith, and the North Edinburgh path system, to Russell Rd and then the Meadows.

Trace

Lead:Jim Trace:Jim    Photos:Jim   Text:Jim
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28-May-2017 Bike shops in the Burbs

A tour of bike shops outside Edinburgh 17 miles.

A fine sunny day, quite warm too, greeted 12 Easycyclists, among them four new, and one new last month returning.  Today we went to see some out of town bike shops, with the aim of showing cyclists how to get to them, and introducing a few that might not be well known.

We didn’t visit the more central bike shops like Evans, Cycle Co-op, Bike Traxx etc, simply because riding around the centre of town just isn’t that great. but a list is here.

Our first target was Hermiston Gait Shopping Centre. So we climbed the customary trail up to Leamington and down to the canal, where our way was blocked by path works. Nothing else for it but to drop down to Fountainbridge to get past them, and that was hard because of heavy traffic. But, back on the Canal, we rode Westwards past Harrison Park, Corstorphine,  Slateford Aqueduct (dismounted), Wester Hailes where the canal was once filled in (you couldn’t cycle it back then), to Sighthill and eventually we turned right just before the Bypass, onto Cultins Road.  A spin downhill and then a left turn into the Shopping centre, took us to a Halfords and a Decathlon.

We had about 20 mins to shop, and the lead got two inner tubes, but I suspect the nearby TkMax got more business from us than distant Decathlon.

Exiting to Edinburgh Park, we spun down to the Gyle Centre (but no bike shops there) and past South Gyle rail station, and down the marked path ‘8’ almost to Dovecot Rd. Instead of going down Dovecot, we turned left along Ladywell Ave and Featherhall Ave (both Corstorphine), which led us North to Hart’s Cyclery.  This is a shop that does a £100 ‘Super Service’, a total strip down and rebuild, in which every ball bearing will be replaced. £100 is very much a ‘From’ figure as most bikes will have worn parts to replace too.

Crossing at the lights, we continued North  via Templeland Rd and Craigs Rd/Craigmount Ave. This lets us cross the Queensferry Rd with the lights,  and Barnton Park View/Ave took us into a short stretch of woods and into Davidsons Mains Park, and into ye Olde Inn.

Regulars may note, we eschewed a lot of our usual haunts:  parks/ woods / Dovecots/ East Craigs estate. This is because the Bike shop ride is for us to understand where we’ve been and how we got there, something that’s often a bit mysterious with our usual indirect routes.

Anyway, we entered the beer garden directly from the path (back door) and were able to find three adjacent benches where all twelve could sit outside. A fabulous day for a fine outdoor lunch.

Exiting the pub, were took the Blackhall Path to Craigleith. Here we had a quick spin Westwards to visit Blackhall Cycles near Craigcrook Road. This is another place that does a £100 super service. Returning to the paths (two peeled off), we spun down to the Zig Zags and Russel Rd, where we visited one last bike shop: Grease Monkey, who can be called out to pick up broken bikes.  (Actually, we just visited a sign).

More riders spun off here, and a lot more again when we returned to the Meadows,  where the remaining four had a well earned coffee at Victor Hugo, looking back at an enjoyable ride in the sun. Long may it continue!

 

Trace

Lead:Jim  Trace:Jim    Photos:Graham   Text:Jim
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30-April-2017 Chilling in Cammo

Cammo and Davidsons Mains. 16 miles.

A bright, cold sunny day greeted a stunning 20 Easycyclists, of whom an estimated 10 were riding for the first time with us – We believe that’s down to Cycling for Softies (meetup.com) posted by Graham, the leader today.

We rose to Leamington Bridge, but could proceed no further on the Canal due to roadworks, so we took Fountainbridge to the up/down steps and into Russel Road. By now the ride had stretched a little due to differing cycling speeds,  and we were starting to split up. So the leader took the front group to muster at Roseburn Park, while a rider sped sown to the junction at Craiglieth, advising any Easycyclists to return to Roseburn.

Having re-mustered we took the pleasant old Pinkhill Railway, then along Dovecot Road and into South Gyle Park, and crossed the Glasgow Road (safely, at the lights near the Jaguar dealer).  Dechmont road then took us to Craigs Rd and down to Maybury Rd.  Crossing the Maybury Rd very gingerly, pausing at the thin traffic island, and aligning our bikes parallel to the traffic flow so as to minimise cross-sectional area. Having reached Cammo walk, we rode down it clinging to the left because of oncoming traffic, and arrived at Cammo estate.

Cammo is an old ruined mansion, stables and grounds, a walled garden and a water tower, with Scotland’s first landscape garden and only ornamental canal. You can read about it here.  Today the house is just a few fragments of lower walls, having been thoroughly ruined in 1973.

An exit to Maybury junction, saw us taking the woods that run parallel to Queensferry Rd down to Davidsons Mains Park, and then the lunch spot at Ye Olde Inn.

It was much too warm for our customary table in the conservatory, and so we had to eat outside in the beer garden (I don’t often get a chance to write this 🙂  and after lunch we resumed.  Using Corbiehill Rd and Avenue to reach the Blackhall path, we sped down the path system to Russel Rd. A lot of riders peeled off at Craigleith and here. The remainder renegotiated Fountainbridge, and back to the Meadows, by then all but 6 riders had peeled off.  Finally, Victor Hugo for a post ride closure coffee (well earned).

Only two mechanicals as far as I’m aware, a chain slip and a puncture, both quickly dealt with.  A nice ride in sunshine, 16 miles, and one of our biggest groups. A success.

And a big thank you to the ten new riders who joined us. We try to make time to chat to you, and sorry if we didn’t get to you all. If anyone feels today’s ride was too slow, you can try the faster 20 milers at http://cycling-edinburgh.org.uk/.

Trace

Lead:Graham  Trace:Jim    Photos:Glenn Text:Jim

							
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26th-March-2017 Leith

Today’s ride was overshadowed by news of the death of one of our longest-standing and best-known members. Logan Strang, who was the driving force behind the setting up of EasyCycle in 2011, died of a heart attack while out cycling with friends in East Lothian yesterday. He was 78.

The news came as a shock to everyone present this morning. All of us knew Logan well, and most had ridden with him many times. We will remember him as a very active cyclist and a very cheerful and sociable person who always made a good impression on those who rode with him.

After spending some time reflecting on the news, twelve of us set out for our March EasyCycle. It was a sunny day with clear skies, and although a little chilly at first, the temperature soon reached double figures.

Our route took us through Holyrood Park, where the roads were as usual closed to Sunday traffic. We skirted Holyrood House Palace and exited the park at Clockmill Lane. In Lochend Park we paused for sweeties and to admire the bird life on the loch. Then came a stretch on Easter Road – fortunately with not much traffic – and onto the Restalrig Path to Leith Links.

We stopped briefly in Burgess Street to look at Lamb’s House. This 17th Century building was formerly owned by the National Trust for Scotland, but they were obliged to sell it in 2010 during a financial crisis. It is now the home and offices of leading architects Kristin Hannesdottir and Nick Groves-Raines. The house doubles as the Icelandic Consulate, Ms Hannesdottir being the honorary consul.

And so to our lunch stop at the Ocean Terminal. Here we split ourselves among the various sandwich shops and fast food outlets, with most of the group choosing to eat their lunch on the first-floor balcony overlooking Britannia.

For the return leg, we took the Ferry Road, Telford and Roseburn paths to Russell Road, and then by Dalry Road, the Telfer Subway and Leamington Terrace back to the Meadows. The total distance was 14 miles.

Trace   (The trace is from a reconnaissance ride, and should give a good idea of where we went)

Guide:Mike Trace:Jim    Photos:Mike   Text:Mike


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