Next Spokes Ride

Sorry, but due to the COVID-19 Social Distancing and Lockdown restrictions all Spokes Rides are cancelled until further notice.

If you're feeling fine, go out for a bike ride and enjoy the fresh air.

Hope to see you when it's all over.

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Out of the Comfort Zone?

"Never write about a place until you're away from it, because that gives you perspective" - Ernest Hemingway

Those of you new to the email list may well be shocked by the distance we did on this ride. Normal Spokes Rides are not over 73 miles; they are normally 35 to 45 miles. Well done to Saqib, who has only been riding his bike for six months, and is still new to changing gears. He did it, he made to Peebles and back. He sailed away from his safe harbour and thoroughly enjoyed the day out. If you have done the Charity rides like Glasgow to Edinburgh or Edinburgh St. Andrews, then you are more than capable of joining us on a Spokes Ride.

On the Spokes Summer Ride, August 19th 2007, we passed the Piper's Grave. A search on the Internet revealed this story, and a couple of others too!

"The Piper's Grave lies alongside the B709 midway between Innerleithen and Middleton / Heriot. Tradition tells us that this is the last resting place of an itinerant piper who eked out his meagre living some time early in the 18th century. He was known to frequent the local hostelries taking wagers that he could play any tune that a customer could care to name."

The Piper's Story

One evening after a bout of particularly riotous jollification, he chanced to remark that he could play non-stop all the way between Traquair House and Edinburgh Castle, a distance of some thirty miles, without repeating a tune. This was obviously too credulous for those present to believe and, sensing easy money, virtually everyone took up his offer of a bet.

So, late that night, the motley throng set off, high on ale and expectation. Almost immediately some lost heart as the magnitude of their challenge hit them, immediately returning home to the safety of their turf fires. Others however, of sterner composition were determined to follow the piper even into the wilds of the Moorfoot Hills.

It was only as the night grew wilder and the terrain more inhospitable that doubt started to creep in. The piper, obviously at home in this sort of terrain, showed no signs of flagging and, of course, he had no need eventually to retrace his steps back to the start.

The whole situation was now becoming serious and subterfuge was necessary. Seizing one of the pipers unguarded moments one of the group made a hole in the windbag of his pipes. The extra effort now required to play, combined with the steep climb past Dewar, quickly drained the pipers stamina. On reaching the top of the pass he sat down exhausted, never to rise again. Here he was buried along with his pipes."

This story is not unique, as there is another Piper's Grave on Ladhope Moor. Here the wager was that in 1790 a piper, surname Dobie, could play all the way from Lauder to Galashiels. The Cairn marks where he fell and was buried.

A Wonderful Ride

Always expect the unexpected. We all know how it goes when the weather is cold, grey and wet. You look out of the window from your warm house at the weather, and wonder whether you shouldn't just stay in drink coffee and read the paper. But then you go out, get on the bike and ride. In the end, you find that you've had one of your fantastic days, returning full of memories.

Although the weather was cool, the ducks were entertaining, the pub warming and the scenery stunning. Whereas the Pentland Hills had their tops obscured by cloud, the Meldons, Ettrick Forest and Moorfoot Hills had only wisps of cloud over their tops. The hill slopes were vividly coloured purple by the flowering heather, lush grass and trees. The result was that a truly Scottish landscape was revealed. In other places, scenery resembled alpine meadows with high peaks, craggy rocks and sheep clinging to the steep slopes. These views elicited several comments, including: "Fantastic", "Beautiful", and "Simply Stunning".

At least we made it safely back to Edinburgh, unlike the fated Piper.

September 2007 Rides

The September Spokes ride will be a Treasure Hunt to Linlithgow. I will be there at 10:00 to hand out the questions. Please bring a picnic lunch. Tea and coffee will be provided. Bagpipes not required. The destination of the last Summer Spokes Ride, on the 23rd September, is likely to be Culross in Fife.

Warm Regards

Ride Stats:

Distance:         118.1 km (73.4 miles)
Average Speed:    20.8 km/h (12.9 mph) (Max 48 km/h)
Height Climbed:   1202m (3943 ft) Max Height 404m (1325 ft) (Gradient: Max climb 10%, Avg Climb 2%)
Temperature:      11-12 deg C (52-53 deg F)

Route Description

From the Usher Hall, we went along Lothian Road, Earl Grey Street, Home Street, Leven Street, Bruntsfield Place then turning left on to Whitehouse Loan. The Whitehouse Loan, Strathearn Place, Strathearn Road junction is open again. That allowed us to carry on to Newbattle Terrace, Canaan Lance, Woodburn Terrace, Braid Avenue, and Hermitage Drive. We rejoined the A702 at Braidburn Terrace. We carried on up Comiston Road waiting at the Tusitala Pavilion.

From the Tusitala Pavilion, we carried along Comiston Rd, across Fairmilehead to Biggar Rd, passing Hillend taking the left fork to access Seafield Moor Rd, A703. We took the right turning to go through Bush, past the Science park, briefly joining the A701 and then turning off on to The Brae at Auchendinny, the B7026. We carried along the B road to join the A6094 at Howgate, and took us to Leadburn.

We turned left on to the A703, which we followed, mostly downhill, to Eddleston. Here, we turned right on to a minor road, signposted for Lyne via the Meldons. This road with its gentle incline takes us to a pass between the Black Meldon and White Meldon hills. After admiring the view at the pass here, and a comfort break, we carried on down the minor road to the A72.

At the A72, we turned left, than after 100m turned right on to the B712 at Lyne Station, where we took a left turn on to a minor road to join the River Tweed Cycle Route. The minor road became a track, then a narrow footpath leading to a footbridge across the River Tweed.

We crossed the footbridge turned left and followed the footpath. At the entrance to, we turned right on to a minor road. The Cycle route turns left at The Glack, over Manor Water, then right to Peebles via Cademuir, passing Cademuir Hill, Cademuir Plantation to Peebles, becoming Bonnington Rd. at the end of Bonnington Rd, we turned right in to Springwood Rd, left on to Springhill Rd to reach Kingsmeadows Rd, the B7062, and the south banks of the River Tweed at Peebles for the lunch stop at 12:40.

After Lunch, just after 1:30pm we carried on along Kingsmeadows Rd, the B7062 and Tweed Cycle Route, passing Kailzie, Cardrona, Cardrona Forest, and Traquair House to Traquair. At Traquair, we turn left on to the B709, passing Elibank and Traquair Forest. We crossed over the River Tweed to access Innerleithen. Here we went in to a Hotel bar to get coffee.

After about 45 minutes, we got back on our bikes, heading north. We turned right along the A72, and then left on to the B709, NCN Route 1 to Bonnyrigg. In Innerleithen, this took us past St. Ronan's Well and through the Innerleithen golf course. We waited at the top of Dewar's Gill, site of The Piper's Grave. When everyone had caught their breath, we carried down to Heriot junction, where we carried on along the B7007 towards Middleton. Just over the top, 404m above sea level, we waited for while looking at the view across East Lothian, Edinburgh and the Forth. Fife could just be seen in the distance.

We then carried on down, taking the left at the bottom to Middleton. Once through Middleton, we turned left once again to join another Minor Rd. We followed this road, turning right at the end, to the B6372, where we turned left. After the bridge over the River South Esk, we turned right on to a minor road to take us through Carrington and the B704 SE of Bonnyrigg. We turned left on to the B704, passing through Bonnyrigg to the A768 at Lasswade. Here we turned left, passing over the River North Esk, up and then right at the Loanhead junction to head up along Lasswade Rd. We went straight across the two roundabouts and the junction with Captains Rd, arriving at about 6:00pm.

Snowcycle Events

Sun May 03 @10:00 - 06:00PM
Spokes Sunday Rides
Sat May 09 @10:30 - 05:00PM
Sun Jun 07 @10:00 - 06:00PM
Spokes Sunday Rides
Sat Jun 13 @10:30 - 05:00PM
Sun Jul 05 @10:00 - 06:00PM
Spokes Sunday Rides
Sat Jul 11 @10:30 - 05:00PM