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


A quiet ride to enjoy the last days of summer

"I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move." ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

A grey day saw 21 people turn up for the trip to Gifford, a slightly longer ride, a distance of nearly 80km (50 miles) The weather forecast was of the DDR variety. It said it would be dry with sunny intervals. The morning was very grey, later with persistant, but not heavy, rain. after lunch was dry and breezy. I prefer the blue, but without the grey, we would not enjoy the blue so much.

An American in Brunstane

East Lothian means the Innocent Railway, unless I am feeling in need of a change. It's always fun zooming down the dark tunnel, Emerging in to the light, hoping you don't have to put on the brakes if someone comes down the path to the right. Samson's Ribs loom to the left of you as you zoom out of the tunnel, travelling at a joyous speed. The the flat bit, tree roots have made the tarmac a bit bumpy, but if you plan it, you can carry your momentum a fair distance.

We carried on through Bingham to Brunstane, where an inner tube burst. this is the sort of incident that cannot be predicted, only anticipated by carrying a spare inner tube. While waiting, we met a man who was cycling back to California. He looked a little lost, so I guided him, and the crowd, through the new housing scheme to the tarmac path, avoiding the rough pothole alley that is signed, to Newcraighall. It was very interesting to hear that in all his travels, Scotland was the wettest place he had been to, thankful that for the moment it was dry. I let him go on his way as I waited for the rest of the group to come through Newcraighall village.

The path from Newcraighall to the new University Building at Musselburgh has lights run that run off stored sunlight. Not sure if they work, I presume they do, but the one under the trees might not work as well as they should. The Solar panels are certainly large enough, rhomboid black holes. At the top of the hill, the new white university building jars the senses. Fortuneatly the path is smooth, so we whizz pass. As we travel through Stoneybank, the clouds started to darken.

Over the Esk, and heading south along the cycle path. At the end, through Cowpits, we headed up, passing Carberry, Crossgatehall and the gate Mary Queen of Scots used. At the top of the hill, near Elphinstone, the rain started, it was light, and not too unpleasant. It did get heavier as we headed through New Winton, still OK, not enough to get a soaking. A normal jacket was enough for most people to keep out the elements.

Rain Fall and Rolling Road

Some see the mad poetry. The late summer yellowing of leaves, this is the beginning of September, the tarmac road presenting a road paved with shiny black granite. The lone wet cyclist in East Saltoun waiting for the rain to stop in a lonely quiet bus shelter reading the sunday paper. Further on another cyclist doing the same. Fortunately, the rain had just about stopped. We were on the rolling road to Gifford. The road is quite rough in places, but you still gain enough momentum on the downs for the ups. Along the roadside, trees were already wearing their late summer green and yellow. This made the road very darkOne final downhill to Gifford Water and we had reached the lunchtime destination.

Goblin Time

Lunch was a mixture of picnics and bar meals while the world started to dry. It was still a bit dull, so those of us with packed lunches headed to the Goblin Ha' to get a little warm and dry.

Almost Back the Way we came

After lunch, the sun was trying to peek through the clouds. Into the wind, but this was not troubling as the route is downhill. No need for the head down attitude, unless absolutely necessary fo the fun of it all. Where the trees cleared, the views were lovely. the Firth of Forth and Fife (say that after a few drinks) on the right, the Lammermuir Hills to the left. Then we turned NW heading to Tranent. A long downhill road, easy to cycle, pleasant as there was little traffic.

The road from Tranent, was noisy and quite busy. The breeze and rough road meant that cycling downhill required a little pedalling. In Musselburgh, the trees were confused, some in full autumn fire, others still wearing their summer green. At least the sun was now making an effort. We turned off the main road to follow the Esk to the sea, a little peace and quiet along the coastal path to rejoin the main road. The presence of Bromptons and some road bikes meant we travelled into Edinburgh along Milton Rd East, avoiding the Brunstane Path. On a mountain bike, or even a hybrid, this path is enjoyable. If you have little wheels, then you'd better watch out for the rocks.

Peace Returns

Milton Road East was quite busy. Where Milton Road East meets the A1, we returned to the cycle path. Peace returned, and chatter restarted. A pleasant ride along through Bingham, the wind seemed to have dropped again. The leaves rustled in the breeze. More of the sun appeared, changing from white to yellow. Greens intensified, a nice warm feeling to the end of the ride. The sun guided us homeward.

The Right Bike

"You could save a bunch of money on car insurance by switching to Shimano."

I have mostly ridden road bikes. I use a Mountain Bike on Spokes Rides because of its versatility. I can carry quite a lot on the rack, including a first aid kit, camera lunch etc. I also have a road bike.

Of course, your bike ride can be made easier by following a few easy maintenance tips. But if you have to suit the bike, then its not right. Yes, we are all different, so you might require some customisation. One person I know had the handlebar shortened by getting the bike mechanic to saw off a few centimetres from either end.

We all have monetary constraints. One of the many bikes I have owned was a £147 Apollo Hybrid, I couldn't afford the £199 one. It had 21 gears, just, and non-existing braking in the wet, until I had to upgrade the wheels, and got Aluminium rims. However I did commute 16 miles each day on it, and it did very well until I upgraded my bike. I can't complain.

If your bike's not right, then visit a few bike shops. Try a few bikes to find the bike that suits you, and buy it. Get the bike shop to make the minor changes, otherwise you might not be covered by the warranty. Then sell your old bike, or give it to the Bike Station.

Then go and enjoy your bike ride.

Warm Regards,

Explore, Dream, Discover

Ride Statistics

Distance:       79.9km (49.6 miles)
Average Speed:  19.2 km/h (11.9 mph) Max 42.0 km/h
Total Climbing: 667m (2156 ft) Max 152m
Time:           4 hours 10 minutes
Max. Temp.:     17 deg C (62 deg F)

Route Description

Start:  Usher Hall
Out:    The Meadows, Innocent Railway, Bingham, Magadalene, Brunstane, Inverkeithing, Musselburgh, Cowpits, Elphinstone, Buxley, Pencaitland, East Saltoun, Gifford
Return: Gifford, East Saltoun, Pencaitland, Tranent, Musselburgh, Joppa, Brunstane, Magadalene, Bingham, Inncocent Railway.
End:    E. Parkside

Interactive Route Map

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

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