Next Spokes Ride

The next Spokes Ride will be on Sunday 6th May 2018.

Forecast is dry, light cloud. Max Temp 14°C Westerly Wind.

Meet 10:00am at on Lothian Road outside the Usher Hall.

Destination West Lothian. Mainly flat ride, with few inclines but not too many. Distance about 35 mi. Pub Lunch, so please use the Contact page to notify me.

Please check your bike before the ride, i.e. tyre pressure, chain and brakes. Bring some money for lunch, emergencies and possible café stops or post ride refreshments. Don't forget snacks to keep your energy levels up and a drink to consume en-route.
Don't forget to bring a small toolkit to fit your bike and a spare inner tube in case you get a puncture. It is much easier to replace the tube than to repair a tube, especially if you have a slow puncture.

May 2018
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This weather forecast is generated by the Met Office Weather Widget


Big Crowd

"We're in a giant car heading towards a brick wall and everyone is arguing over where they're going to sit" ~ David Suzuki

A wonderful day to Ride Planet Earth. 73 people turned up on a dry, bright grey morning. It was cool, 6 deg C. It is easy to be smug when the ride went very well, and every one enjoyed themselves. But I cannot be smug alone. I can plan the route, but it could not have gone well without assistance. Thanks to all those people who helped out on today's ride. You have every right to be smug too. Two people had technical problems at the start, of the unexpected type, and there were four punctures, myself included!!

Reason - Not To Demonstrate, But To Demonstrate How Accessible Cycling Is To Ordinary People

Ride Planet Earth,, is not about an organised demonstration against climate change, this was a bike ride Kim Nguyen undertook to arrive in Copenhagen during the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Ride Planet Earth was about showing that greener forms of transport, like cycling, are accessible to ordinary people. In doing so, it also demonstrates that ordinary people are willing to take action against climate change. The Spokes Sunday ride was one of hundreds across the globe supporting Kim Nguyen in his 16-month Australia-> Asia-> Europe ride to Copenhagen.

Morning - Feel the Environment

We're Off. I sent two assistants to lead from the front, I would lead from behind. There were numerous other assistants there to be visible, assist where necessary, to aid and lead in an unobtrusive way. Leading from the rear meant I could catch any incident. The pace was fast enough for the ride, a morning distance of 28.3km, and slow enough for slower cyclists not to find themselves alone.

The rest of us cycled along a route of least resistance to Holyrood Park. A load of quizzical looks from joggers and walkers, a load of surprised looks from cyclists travelling the opposite way. Lots of smiles as we whizzed down the tunnel. This is a bicycle chain reaction. As we rode through Bingham, the sky brightened. The next part of the route was deliberate. Why drive to Fort Kinnaird retail centre when you can easily cycle there. There are plenty of cycle racks. Plus arranging a home delivery has a lower carbon footprint than driving there, struggling to get the item in, or on, the car, then driving home. This route avoids the awful right turn to go through Newcraighall village.

A quite road, under the A1 to go to Queens Margaret College. Here the paths are lit by lights recharged by solar panels. The college itself sits out, bright white shiny new. The top end of Musselburgh was quiet. A couple of drivers at the roundabout cursing as 70-odd cyclists seem to appear out of nowhere, and then vanish. The suddenly we're in countryside. The River Esk path was picturesque, but untidy with autumnal debris. The river was in full flow, but in a peaceful way, until the Weir near Musselburgh, where the Esk always seems to crash down to the tidal stretch. One thing I have noticed is that that no one complains about being in a cycle traffic jam. Perhaps we're too busy talking to each other to notice we are travelling slowly.

At Inveresk Industrial Park, the leaders waited as they were unsure which way we were going. I knew I'd picked the right people to lead. We carried on down to the Roman Bridge, then joined NCR 76. Remember to duck as you go under the main bridge. At the break point, the swans were there to greet us. We rested, ate a snack, got a drink. Chatted, got to enjoy the sunshine. The clouds had cleared, a light bright sky. the sky must have been clearing while we were riding, but it seemed that in the short space of time from the Roman Bridge to the point where we stopped, someone had hoovered all the clouds from the sky.

At Fisherrow, three punctures, and three assistants. A lovely place to stop with views across the Forth, preferably without punctures. The colours were a mixtures of blue and golden brown. At the harbour, no breeze could be felt. Normally there is a musical ting-ting from ropes and rigging hitting the mast. Today it was silent. Heading back towards Arthur's Seat. On the Innocent Railway path, unswept leaves caused three cyclists to go down. Hitting the front brake on a slippy cycle path is never a good idea, but the council is responsible for maintenance and cleaning of the path.

The riders entered a quiet, sunny Holyrood Park, which devoid of motorised vehicles contrasted sharply with the buzz of Abbeyhill and Easter Rd. Whizzing down Queen's Drive the hill towards the palace was fun and exhilarating At the turning for Abbeyhill, impatient motorists had to wait while tourists crossed the road. Once passed Holyrood Palace, a quick jaunt down busy Easter Rd to Dalmeny St.

Lunch - Taste the Environment

Lunch was at Out of The Blue, very enjoyable and reasonable. Dave introduced the speakers, Mark Lazarowicz MP and Sarah Boyack MSP, who talked about how we, cyclists on the ride, can influence decisions not only at Council level, but also in the Scottish and UK Parliaments.

Afternoon - Embrace the Environment

After lunch, we headed out towards the North Edinburgh path, the good weather continued. We took the slightly scenic route, so a little detour around Leith Links, instead of the route I planned, I really should have looked at my big map, we detoured around Leith Links, but it didn't matter we took the wrong route. The new route was actually easier, and allow us to continue cycling in less traffic. Not that traffic would be a problem on this part of the ride, most of the route was traffic free.

Along the Water of Leith path, avoiding the mess, I got a puncture from glass. There was a click-click sound from the rear wheel. This was quickly followed by click-hiss-click-hiss sound. I sent everyone else on, while I replaced the tube. Five minutes later I was chasing down the pack. It is amazing how far you can go in five minutes. I caught up at Crewe Toll, where we turned north to head for the coast.

As we started along the promenade To our left, the sun was starting to sink, a yellow disc in a slightly hazy sky. To our right the glowing golden brown of Fife contrasted with the blue sky, reflected in the Firth of Forth. In the distance, the two Forth bridges could just be seen. As we travelled, we wove in between pedestrian, dog and young wobbly cyclists. It was very pleasant, easy cycling. Relaxing and invigorating in a way that only occurs when you are by the sea.

At Cramond we admired the view and chatted, before heading back in to Edinburgh. To avoid having to lug bikes up and down steps, we headed down the road to Barnton Ave, joining NCR 1 to take us back in to Edinburgh. It was now getting darker. Tree-lined parts of the route were now very dark. The slight up hill along Barnton Ave always slows cyclists. Thankfully, once through Silverknowes, the cycle path has a long steady descent to Craigleith. Through the dark tree lined cycle path at Ravelston, it was like the bicycles were on tip toes. Then we emerge in to the last drops of daylight the last switchback descent to Russell Rd.

"The bicycle had, and still has, a humane, almost classical moderation in the kind of pleasure it offers. It is the kind of machine that a Hellenistic Greek might have invented and ridden. It does no violence to our normal reactions: It does not pretend to free us from our normal environment." ~ J.B. Jackson

Next Spokes Ride

The Next Spokes Ride is on the 3rd January. This is the Mince Pie Run. You come on the ride, we cycle, have lunch, and then enjoy Mince Pies at the end of the ride. Please let me know if you wish to attend so that I can plan enough goodies.

Please make sure your bike is in ridable condition before the ride, see my basic maintenance article on my website Please make sure you bring with you (apart from money for lunch and a drink) a spare inner tube of the correct size and valve, pump, repair kit and tools.

Warm Regards,

Explore, Dream, Discover

Ride Statistics

Distance:       48.1km (29.9 miles)
Average Speed:  17.3km (10.7 mph)
Total Climbing: 437m (1434 ft) Max Altitude 81m
Time:           2 hours 5 minutes
Max. Temp.:     7 deg C (45 deg F)

Route Description

Morning 28.3km (17.6 miles)

Lothian Road, Earl Grey St. fork left Brougham St. Left on to Meadows path. Head east across Meadows path right on to Buccleuch St, Straight across at lights, Left at next set of lights on to West Preston St., across lights at Newington Rd to East Preston St. right on to Old Dalkeith Rd, left onto Holyrood Park Rd, left on to East Parkside, right turn Innocent Railway tunnel. Straight on at first toucan crossing (Duddingston Rd. W.)
Right at next toucan crossing on to Duddingston Park South. Left at the lights on to Newcraighall Road, Through the Fort. Right at the first roundabout, left at the next, then right in to Whitehill road, up the hill, following the road left, down to the railway bridge, left on to cycle path. Then right NCR1 to the new University Building to Musselburgh Station.
Over the railway, straight on at the roundabout, then right in to Ferguson Rd. Follow NCR 1 through Stoneybank, across the roundabout, B6415, then down Furguson Dr to Cowpits Ford Rd. At the end, turn left and use the bridge to cross the River Esk, otherwise we get wet!!. Left on to to River Esk path, into Musselburgh. Right on to Mall Avenue. At the first set of light, mount pavement, then join the path along the Esk, under the Musselburgh Bridge. Comfort break stop available at the first footbridge.
Then down Eskside East to the next footbridge, cross the Esk, the turn right to go down to the the coast along the path. Follow path to Musselburgh Harbour, Edinburgh Rd to Joppa, Left Milton Rd E (the Brunstane Path is too rough). At Brunstane Drive, just before the big A1 junction, mount pavement to rejoin NCR1. Passing the old BigW, follow NCR1 though Magdalebe, Bingham, Innocnet Railway to Holyrood Park, Abbeyhill, Easter Road, Dalmeny Street.

Afternoon 19.8 km (12.3 miles)

Dalmeny St, left on to Easter Rd, left Duke St, right Duncan Pl, right John's Pl, left Queen Charlotte St, straight on Tollbooth Wynd, Sandport Pl, North Edinburgh Cycle path along Silverknowes Esplanade, to Cramond. Left Cramond Glebe Rd, Whitehouse Rd, and then NCR 1 to Roseburn.

Interactive Route Map

The map below shows the route that we took on the Spokes Ride Planet Earth.

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