Next Spokes Ride

The next Spokes Ride will be on Sunday 3rd September 2017. Meet 10:00am at on Lothian Road outside the Usher Hall.

Destination Midlothian. Slightly hilly ride. Pub Lunch, and a quick ride home to avoid being too long in the afternoon rain.

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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Weather

This weather forecast is generated by the Met Office Weather Widget

A long summer ride to Peebles and Innerleithen

 

The Big Summer Ride

"I would rather ride my bike with a headwind, then to drive my car in heavy traffic on downtown street." ~ Tobias

A great bike ride on the Summer Spokes Ride to the Borders, despite the wind. Thanks to the six people who turned up, not put off by either the weather forecast, heavy rain in the morning, or the prospect of cycling nearly 80 miles. The plus that most of the 'temporary' structures around the Usher Hall have been removed, so the meeting place has a little more room, and at the sunny end too. Not that it was sunny, it was quite dark and breezy. I was hoping that it would brighten up, as it eventually did, we missed the heavy rain, only experiencing a little heavy drizzle at the start.

The Sky Fell on our Heads.

They were dark clouds, of the sort that made Ancient Gauls think that the sky would fall on their heads. The westerly breeze while stiff, did not present too much of a problem as we climbed through South Morningside and Comiston to the Tusitala Pavilion. Pretty soon, tiny bits of sky fell on our heads. This soon ceased as we continued South. On the Seafield Moor road, when the drizzle stopped and the riding was quite pleasant, apart from the big articulated lorry that passed us just before the bend.

Through Loanstone and Howgate, the sky tried to fall on us once more. This time the trees protected us. By the time we got to Leadburn, the sky gave up falling, and changed from grey to white with occasional blue. Cycling down towards Eddleston, Police nee-naws travelled in the opposite direction. Mad 4x4s overtook tractors, misjudging the speed bicycles go at. Not too bad, but the wind took some of the joy of going downhill. It wasn't until we were lower down that trees gave some respite.

End of the Lyne

Above Eddleston the view towards Peebles was quite stunning, and although we were riding in to the wind, it was pretty spectacular. In the quiet times, you could hear the birds sing, the sheep bleating. The noisy times, the wind was rushing through the trees. A silent climb, then the drop down between the Black Meldon and White Meldon hills.

We crossed over the A72 over Lyne Water to the footbridge across the Tweed, and the rough footpath to Kirkton Manor. Here we were protected from the wind. The sky was bright, and views of the surrounding hills were pretty good. As the road climbed, the hill to the right of us climbed higher, so that by the time we were half way up, the wind had appeared to have dropped. In the sunshine, you could have been in France.

Rounding Cademuir Hill, the road slid down towards Peebles, tree roots made it a little bumpy, a slight climb and we were in Peebles. Here, a dark cloud threatened to dump sky on our heads, although it didn't. We had lunch beside the Tweed, but a line of dark clouds kept it cool.

"Bicycles have no walls." ~ Paul Cornish

Tarmac Surfers

So we decided to head to Innerleithen for refreshments. I never tire of cycling the back road from Peebles to Traquair; it is one of my favourites. The views change with every trip, and the experience of the road feels different every time. I always go eastward, taking advantage of any prevailing wind. At Peebles the road is flat, and then you start to climb, but not in one large uphill challenge. The hills are short, and only very occasionally steep to warrant changing gear to any great degree. Suddenly you are high above the Tweed. Then you turn a corner and you have the treat of a very long downhill, a flat bit where you are still above the Tweed, and then another downhill bit. Then you are next to the Tweed. The river inviting you to a race to the sea.

The road turns away from the Tweed to head to Traquair. The ups are gentle, and with the breeze behind us, they also seemed to urge us to keep on going. The road presents wave after wave. The tarmac surfers attain perpetual motion, eventully speeding along, until the bridge over the Tweed and the traffic lights brings the wave crashing. The tarmac surfer has to wait for the next wave.

"If were not a man, I would like to be a bird. As I am a man, I do the next best thing, and ride a bicycle." ~ Rev. Maltie, ‘How to Bicycle’, 1892

Riding the Shoulder of Granites

After a wee refreshment in Innerleithen, pumping up a tyre, replacement of inner tube, we headed north along NCN Route 1. A steady climb up. As the road twists and turns, the wind is behind you, then side on. Climbing, climbing, climbing. This is not a chore, this is a rhythm, a heart beat. A whoop as the Piper's Grave comes in to view, the road flattens, and dips downward. A long downhill, head down, aerodynamic, big gear, go, go, go faster.

At the turn for Heriot, the road starts upward once more. This one means business. It is steeper, and the wind hits the left shoulder. It snakes too, every twist and turn reveals more sky and glimpses of the top until finally we turn the last bend and reach the summit, then head down towards the escarpment.

At 404m, the Granites, the views don't disappoint. The wind is pleasantly noisy. The bright sky allowed excellent views across to the Pentlands, Edinburgh and Fife. Standing on the embankment, you feel you could fly back to Edinburgh.

It is now mainly downhill. Descending the Granites, on the smooth tarmac, the bikes quickly achieve a terminal velocity, or at least a speed at which the rider feels comfortable with. At the bottom, there is a left corner, and NCN Route 1 forks left. Looking back, the hill looks small. you can see slower cyclists as dots descending. The road through Middleton was a bit rough, head achingly so at times, more road bone shaker than road buzz. Definitly a National Cycle Route. Once near the B6372, the roads become smoother. There are sweeping bends to vooosh around. Downhill parts of the route spur you on, providing enough momentum to climb the up hill bits that inevitably follow without changing gear.

All too soon, we are at Bonnyrigg. Two more climbs left to Edinburgh. the first a slight incline to the centre of Bonnyrigg itself. A long descent, one thrilling enough to make you whoop if it wasn't for the main road at the bottom, to the River North Esk at Lasswade. Then the last long climb along Lasswade Road to Captain's Rd and the end of the ride.

Warm Regards,

Explore, Dream, Discover

Ride Statistics

Distance:       117.2km (72.8 miles)
Average Speed:  21.3km/h (13.2 mph) Max 57.5 km/h
Total Climbing: 1334m (4377 ft) Max 408m
Time:           5 hours 30 minutes
Max. Temp.:     18 deg C (64 deg F)

Route Description

Start:  Usher Hall
Out:    Bruntsfield, Morningside, Fairmilehead, Bush, Auchendinny, Howgate, Leadburn, Eddleston, Meldon Hills, Lyne Station, The Glack, Cademuir, Peebles
Return: Peebles, Traquair, Innerleithen, The Granites, Middleton, Carrington, Bonnyrigg, Lasswade
End:  Captains Road

Interactive Route Map

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

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