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.

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This weather forecast is generated by the Met Office Weather Widget


A roundabout way to see the world

"Cyclers see considerable more of this beautiful world than any other class of citizens. A good bicycle, well applied, will cure most ills this flesh is heir to." ~ Dr. K. K. Doty of New York, How to Bicycle, 1892

Sixteen people turned up for the last Summer Spokes Ride of 2009, although the effect was of a first ride of autumn. A long ride to Culross in Fife, and a round trip of around 60 miles. A lovely day, and while the wind was a bit stronger than expected, it wasn't too bad, and it felt warm out of the wind.

Rolling countryside

A pleasant ride out to Cramond. Bright and sunny. The cycle path was as it normally is on a Sunday, busy with a few cyclists, joggers and dog walkers. The descent to Cramond Brig always reminds me of just how close skiing and cycling can be. Once over the bridge, we continued west through Rosyth and up to the A985. Here we headed west, dashing to the next exit for Limekilns. A whoosing descent, a nice flat bit along the coast, and the cobble road up to Charlestown. Once at the top, we turn right, and take a track up to the A985, which I find interesting.

The route is mainly made up of shared path and quiet roads. The shared path runs along the A985, diving in to Crombie, back up to the A985 for one last time, before we escape this madness and head back to the coastline. Not taking the shared path makes it very easy to miss this left turn, but we manage to follow a line of clouds that block the sun, the path that follows the A road. You can get too carried away when you escape the a road. A tractor taking up most of the road meant cyclists scurried to the nearest passing place point, or in one or two places, on to the grass verge. Another tractor appeared, this driver less confident of his abilities, stopped as 16 cyclists tore past.

At the bottom of the hill, a sharp right turn brings us to a very minor road, or probably private road with access for walkers and cyclists. The sun reflects off the water and Grangemouth oil refinery a definte blot on the landscape. Although a lovely spot, the refinery across the water spoils it. I'm sure you can taste the fumes in the air. Looking along the coast, you can see the real view, the sea lapping against shiny rocks. We rejoin the coastal road at Torryburn, up a short hill, then a left turn. It would be very tempting to go zooming down the hill. Go too fast and you miss the path access point. There is another at the car park. Along a dirt track, you are directed up over the railway using a bridge, this curls round like a two leaf clover junction. At least we're on the right side of the clouds.

The path here has an ash base, and potholes to make Edinburgh proud. Before long, we cross back over the coastal railway at pedestrian railway crossing, cyclists not hanging around. Getting here just as a train approaches will mean a long wait. This because the only trains around here are supplying coal to the power station and can be very long indeed. On the other side, the path is tarmac, and much more pleasant to cycle on. It is just a short hop to the centre of Culross, the lunch stop.

We're in the Med

The Picnic Lunch was in the Culross Community Garden, which reminds me of a meditteranean gardens in the South of France. Others went to the Red Lion. the 'Meditteraneans' then departed for coffee, 25 minutes waiting for a five minute gulp of coffee. Good job we weren't in a rush, although the Lions were, and I received several texts, but unfortunately, no signal meant I hadn't got them. Turned up at the meeting place, and got a load of texts.

After lunch, a quick vote, and we decided to go to Kincardine, cross the bridge there, and then head back to Edinburgh. So we rejoined the cycle path, and headed west. Once out of Aberdour, the path is disjointed. There are steps to make this part of NCR Rotue 76 mostly off road, although in places this would be impractical. However, as this is a minor road, it might be more practical to stop cars using the road as a through road. A simple glance of a map shows this to be entirely practical. And Cheaper. And more 'Environment Friendly'. A better use of funds might be to provide a better junction at, and better cycle facilities over the Forth, on the Kincardine Bridge.

Oasis of quiet in an ocean of noise

As the bridge path does not allow cycling, we headed onto the bridge, traffic was light, to cross over the Forth. the traffic was heavier after the roundabout, all these people rushing around on their ever so important missions, that they don't care about emissions. There was only one thought going through my mind, just how sterile this bit was. Stuck in a car, how much of this lovely countryside would you see. Whizzing around from A 2 B, you experience so little.

At the first exit, rejoined NCR route 76. This is a lovely quiet lane that takes us through to Grangemouth. A haven of peace before the roar returned. Quiet countryside created from the sea by man. This Whistle Stop Tour, in more ways than one flagged just how different the man-made urban areas differ from man-made rural areas. The route through Grangemouth to Bo'nes, is zig-zaggy for all the wrong reasons, as though someone had just picked what looked like the best route from a road map. I ignore this and take us past the Refinery. It's a cycle path, but it's not pretty. Back on to the busy A road, we headed in to the centre of Bo'ness, where we stopped at Bo'ness station for much needed afternoon refreshment. Here one person, on their first Spokes Ride, left to return home via train from Linlithgow.

After the railway station stop, we continued through Bo'ness and then up and away from the coast. After the busy roads of Grangemouth, the hill provided a much needed change from town to countryside. In the distance, the flag on The Binns fluttered in the breeze. Once at the top, we sped downhill. A quick link using an A road and we were zooming along a quiet B road. Upward again, and the flag is now much nearer. This up and down shows how travelling like this is preferable to one entirely flat. On a flat route, you can see your destination long before you arrive, and it never seems to get any closer. On a hilly route the scenery continually springs surprises.

At Philpstoun, we turned on to the canal path. The canal was dark, a complete contrast to the day. The path, rough in places, sometimes made the ride a little too interesting for some people, but it was the best route to take at this point. The only alternatives were a busy A road, a busy B road, or another hill. At Niddry, we came off the canal and headed back in to Edinburgh through Kirkliston. The wind behind us blew us quickly to Cramond Brig and the end of the ride.

We certainly saw more of this beautiful world today

Warm Regards,

Explore, Dream, Discover

"A bicycle ride is a flight from sadness." ~ James E. Starrs, The Noiseless Tenor

Ride Statistics

Distance:       101.4km (63.0 miles)
Average Speed:  19.0km/h (11.8 mph) Max 48.5 km/h
Total Climbing: 703m (2306 ft) Max 127m
Time:           5 hours 20 minutes
Max. Temp.:     18 deg C (64 deg F)

Route Description

Start:  Usher Hall
Out:    Roseburn, Sileverknowes, Barnton, Cramond, S. Queensferry, Forth Road Bridge, Rosyth, Limekilns, Charlestown, Crombie, Torryburn, Lower Valleyfield, Culross
Return: Culross, Kincardine Bridge, Powfoulis, Grangemouth, Bo'ness, Cauldcoats, Philpstoun, Canal, Niddry, Kirkliston, Cramond, Barnton, Silverknowes, Roseburn
End:    Dalry Rd

Interactive Route Map

The map belows shows the route that we took on the Summer September 2009 Spokes Ride.

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Sat May 12 @10:30 - 05:00PM
Sun Jun 03 @10:00 - 06:00PM
Spokes Sunday Rides
Sat Jun 09 @10:30 - 05:00PM
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Spokes Sunday Rides
Sat Jul 14 @10:30 - 05:00PM