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.

July 2020
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Warmth to ward off the Autumnal chill.

"You shared the spark, you fanned the flame,
You fed the fires, you passed the Names.
For all those known and for all unnamed,
For all who have walked the Way;
We raise this toast, with thanks this day." ~
Mike Garofalo, Kindreds, Cuttings

A truly crisp cold autumn day saw 21 people turn up for the penultimate Spokes Ride of 2008. A day of ice, orange leaves and beautiful sunshine, one of those days that leave a lasting impression. One person did have two punctures, but these things happen. At least the unfortunate cyclist had a spare tube, and lots of help to fix the second puncture.

Sounds and Colours of Autumn

The wheels ran silently over ice and noisily over leaves, a common feature of the Innocent Railway cycle path at this tme of year. It is amazing how autumn really does have a sound of its own and the accoustics are always different. Even in the town, sounds are louder, and have more echo. As we head eastwards, gleeful chatter of happy cyclists could be heard clearly, echoing along the cycle path.

As we reached Musselburgh, blue sky stretched in all directions. Across the Forth, the blue/green hills of a hazy Fife was reflected in the still waters of the Forth. From Levenhall, we followed the coastal road. I always find this route interesting, even the power station at Cockenzie. The small supermarkets in these coastal towns have a bustle all of their own, contrasting with the Sunday morning silence of the town centres. The open grass areas sparsely populated with people taking their dogs for a walk.

From Seton Sands caravan park onwards, the road snakes along the coast. At Longniddry, a line of horses with riders headed out to the dunes. Then, where the B road becomes an A road, the I resisted the urge to speed off. It's nice to cycle fast here, sheltered from the wind, pedalling fast as the rolling nature of the road maintaining momentum and sweeping fast around corners. Then at Gosford Sands, the road straightens in to a tree lined avenue, presenting a slight up hill sprint finish in to the village of Aberlady. Lunch was at the Kilspindie Hotel, where the staff always give a warm and friendly welcome.


After lunch we headed inland. If it wasn't for the low sun, bare fields, cold air, and trees in various autumnal dress, you might have thought it was summer. The air temperture had risen to 9 deg, probably because of all those cyclists puffing up the hill. The Hopetoun Monument behind us, we sped down a minor road, Arthur's Seat and the Pentlands in the distance.

Along the old A1, now the A199, wide cycle lanes make cycling very pleasant. Being quite high, you get good views across the sweeping East Lothian countryside, occasional views of Edinburgh with the Forth Bridges in the distance. To the right, rare glimpses of the coastal towns that we passed through in the morning, now look like a setting on a model railway.

From Tranent onward, every corner, every brow of hill gave a new view of Arthur's Seat. At Tranent, Arthur's Seat is hazy and distant, surrounded by an urban landscape. At Elphinstone, Arthur's Seat seems to be floating on clouds like some super fast hovercraft dashing across the land. At Smeaton, the hill stands dark in a blaze of orange and green.

At Smeaton, in orange light, we headed through Dalkeith Country Park, getting a little lost heading to Monktonhall, but we got to Danderhall. We said our goodbyes on the Old Dalkeith Road, the sun descending behind the trees. This is always up hill until I get to Fairmilehead.

Then cycling downhill at last, speeding home, downhill at last, the twilight creeping up fast behind me, I have two words in my head. For I am rich in autumnal cheer, of rememberance of friends that made this a fabulous ride. I am happy and content. There are people who have the notion that November holds neither cheerfulness nor warmth. I am happy to shout out loud, you are wrong.

Warm Regards,

Explore, Dream, Discover

Ride Statistics

Distance:       64 km (42.3 miles)
Average Speed:  19.2 km/h (11.7 mph) (Max 45.5 km/h)
Total Climbing: 400m (1450 feet) (Max Height 184m)
Time:           3 hours 32 minutes
Max. Temp.:     9 deg C (48 deg F)

Route Description

Start:  Usher Hall
Out:    Tollcross, Meadows, Innocent Railway, Bingham, Brunstane, Joppa, Fisherrow, River Esk, Coastal NCR 76 through Prestonpans, Cockenzie, Port Seton, Longniddry, A198 to Aberlady
Return: Aberlady, Ballencrieff, Bangly Hill, Huntingford, Gladsmuir,, Macmerry, Tranent, Elphinstone, Crossgatheall, Smeaton, Dalkeith Country Park, Monktonhall, Danderhall
End:    Gilmerton

Interactive Route Map

The map belows shows the route that we took on the November 2008 Spokes Ride.

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