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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Two Parks – Figgate and Lochend

Two Parks – Figgate and Lochend. 19 miles miles including an extra bit.

We had five riders, among them a very welcome new recruit.  A tribute to the courage and persistence of the EasyCyclists, because let’s face it, we had a lousy weather forecast for this Sunday – strong 40 mph winds, rain, cold.

It appeared at first that we had got away with it, because we had bright sunshine as we set off down Queens Drive (closed to cars) and beside Duddingston Golf course. A brief wiggle through a residential area to avoid the A1, took us to the first park, Figgate Park. A ride along the river and then around the pond, saw us exit to Mountastle Crescent. The sky had clouded over by then.

Restalrig Avenue and Marionville avenue took us to Lochend, the second park. We rode round the very atmospheric pond (due to fallen trees)  then out to the Restalrig paths, riding to Leith.

We got to the pub for lunch – Teuchters Landing – before any real rain started, and we all refreshed ourselves. This pub has a great view of the water and serves quick, cheap food in mugs.

Restored, we set off on the  NCN75 path to Chancelot and the Red Bridge. But by then it  was well and truly wet. In fact I think the rain had been worse while we were in the pub, judging by what was  cascading off the windows.  We said goodbye to one chap at Craigleith quarry, and then sped off exit at Russell Rd after 5 miles of continuous car-free paths. Great!

The ride was theoretically 16 miles, but we took a bit of extra time to get everyone back to near their homes. Finally, the drookit survivors had a grateful warming cup in Victor Hugo.
2017-02-26-14-08-21

Trace

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


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29-January-2017 Galloping Gyles

A ride through parks to the Gyle Centre. 20.1 miles including a facultative extension.

A bright, cold sunny day greeted nine of Easycycle’s most intrepid riders. The constant rain of the Saturday before had vanished, giving way to sunshine (sometimes hazy) and a little ice.

We took ourselves down to the Canal and then along to Harrison Park,  riding down to Russel Road and along the diversion of long standing at Goldenacre Path, and crossed the Balgreen Rd near Jenners repository. A brief ride along the Pinkhill Railway, then out to Dovecot Road. After which, the lead consulted the riders and asked who would want to make the ride a little longer and harder. It transpired that everyone did; the option of a separate group sticking to the original plan, was available but it seemed everyone wanted to go further and faster today.

So, instead of going straight to lunch,  the group veered off to South Gyle Park, and crossed the Glasgow Road (safely, at the lights near the Jaguar dealer). Cutting through N Gyle Terrace took us out to the path alongside the A8 by the new rail station. At this point, the fancy new underpass could have taken us straight to the Gyle. But we had opted for extra miles, so we sped South and climbed the iconic footbridge to RBS Gogarburn.

The Gogar Station Road took us to a sneaky river tunnel under the bypass, just North of the Calder junction,  and then  into Edinburgh Park, taking the pedestrian paths to Gyle shopping center for lunch.

The upper floor of the Gyle has a range of eateries, including a Chinese, a burger bar, O’briens and a Pizza. there is also an infinite number of ice creams for 99p. (but the machine failed at the second ice cream so it was distinctly finite that day).

Refreshed, we used to long bike path on Bankhouse drive and Stenhouse drive back to Jenners repository, then via Roseburn and the well trodden (if that’s the word) Russel Rd and the bumpy steps to the canal, then Gilmour St to the Meadows. Most of the riders peeled off on the return leg.

The ride being closed, the remainder enjoyed a coffee in the Victor Hugo lounge, looking back on a cheery ride in fortunate sunshine.

Trace

Lead:Michael Trace:Jim    Photos:Michael   Text:Jim


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25-December-2016 Xmas eXcursion

Fourteen for Christmas (plus Conor).

Fourteen of us gathered for our Christmas morning ride this year – including 2 that were new to Easycycle, and our resident Santa Claus (see photo), who attracted delighted cheers and waves from the tourists we passed along the route – not to mention a couple of requests for selfies. A less welcome visitor was Storm Conor, bringing 50 mph winds to an otherwise serene morning.

Under Jim’s leadership, we set off from the Meadows, heading first for the Lochrin Basin and Fountainbridge. We weaved though Conference Square, crossed the footbridge over the West Approach Road, then into Rutland Square and Shandwick Place. We paused in Coates Crescent to admire the Gladstone Monument (unveiled in 1917, in honour of William Ewart Gladstone, MP for Midlothian 1880–1895).

Next, Jim took us on a circuit of the West End crescents. One of his reasons for this was to show us the experimental on-street bike lockers which the council have installed in Douglas Crescent. These are part of a city-wide trial to find ways of providing secure bike parking for flats and tenements. The two lockers that we saw certainly looked up to the job, but I suspect you would need an awful lot of them to meet the demand.

The next part of the ride took us back to Shandwick Place, then along the entire length of Princes Street, west to east. Thankfully, there was very little traffic– just a few buses and taxis, no trams. We stopped at the foot of the Mound in the expectation of a comfort stop, but inconveniently the toilets there were closed. Instead, we found we were able to use the facilities in one of the nearby hotels, which was a relief.


Next came the hard work of the day (well, not all that hard): the ascent of Calton Hill. The morning was still bright and sunny, so we lingered on the summit to take in the excellent views of Arthur’s Seat and the Firth of Forth. Santa Claus, true to form, produced a flask of mulled wine to share; various items of confectionary were also in evidence.

Our leader eventually got us moving again. The original plan had involved heading to Lochend Park at this point, but the morning was rapidly wearing on and we had promised that the ride would end by 1 pm. So we finished up by taking a quick look at the Stones of Scotland, then headed back towards the Meadows.

Several of the group had peeled off by now, but unfortunately not the afore-mentioned Conor, who gave us more than a little trouble as we pedalled down Regent Road and Waterloo Place. The remnants of the group eventually made it back to Middle Meadow Walk. At just over seven miles, it was definitely one of our shorter rides, but also one of the more interesting.

Trace

Lead:Jim  Trace: Jim    Photos:Michael   Text: Mike
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18-December-2016 Wintry Wave Watching

A Winter Solstice ride along the North coast of Edinburgh.

A Winter Solstice is a great chance to prove that we can rise to a challenge and enjoy a ride on the shortest day.  And so it was that nine of Edinburgh’s bravest, including two who were new to Easycycle, set off along to Leamington and Canal to Harrison Park, then Russel Road and up the well-known zigzags to Roseburn Path, the start of the impressive path system of North Edinburgh.

Whizzing along the the Red Bridge, and down toward the Waterfront, we emerged at Granton and rode along the coast to the Seaward side of the Western Harbour. There, one of our regulars prepared a nice lunch of home made soup and cheese and biscuits. Wonderful it was too. We had no need of the pub stop that had been arranged previously.

Return was via the Shore entrance to the paths. We rode along the Water of Leith Walkway path to the Fiveway junction, and then to the Ferry Road and Goldenacre paths back to the Russell Road zigzags.

From, there, we climbed the well worn trail up to the Canal, King’s Theatre and Meadows, where the ride ended.  Thanks to Michael, who stood in to lead the ride at short notice, and to all who took on a leaden sky, light rain and cold wind to enjoy another Winter Solstice ride.

Trace

Lead:Michael   Trace: Jim    Photos:Michael   Text: Jim
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