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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This weather forecast is generated by the Met Office Weather Widget


A Lazy Sunny Sunday

"The mode of locomotion should be slow, the slower the better, and be often interrupted by leisurely halts to sit on vantage points and stop at question marks." ~ Carl Sauer, in a 1956 president's address to the Association of American Geographers

Thirteen 13 people turned up for a wonderfully pleasant, and lazy, summer ride to Linlithgow with some lovely late summer, or early autumn, scenery. The breeze assisted us up the hills, there was no rain and we outsmarted the breeze on the way back by using NCR 76 through the wooded Estates of Hopetoun and Dalmeny. Oh, and the sun shone for most of the time.

Heading Out, Breeze with Ease. We wait for slower riders

As it was such a beautiful day, we lazily rode along through Fountainbridge to Roseburn and on to NCR 1. A beautiful Sunday morning, we seem o be avoiding the clouds at the moment, I hope it doesn't rain. Apart from a couplf of dog owners, the path is very quiet and sunny. The breeze makes cycling eay, and it is very easy to drink in the scenery. We slowly make our way through Barnton, the Golf course path and down to Cramond Brig. As we head up towards Burnshot, blackberry pickers give shouts of encouragement. We wait on the bridge for slower cyclists, and then continue after everyone has removed extra layers of clothing and applied sunscreen. As we head for Kirkliston.

One person receives a worrying phone call from a person claiming to have been stabbed. Unfortunately, there was no number to report to the Police.

Now while we are not exactly racing, and we are definitely not pedalling furiously, we are moving quite fast. Easy cycling allows us to chat and keep the group together. While fitter cyclists zoom up the small inclines to the access to the canal, slower cyclists are not far behind.

Behind us, the clouds were rolling in, and there was a threat of rain in the distance. Niddry castle seems to be nearly complete and larger too. We made our way up through Faucheldean and then took the road. Here we were the right side of the dark cloud, which, to the east, covered Edinburgh and Fife. We had bright blue sky. Under the cloud it was either hazy or raining fairly steadily. At Bridgend Farm, we used the breeze and momentum of the downhill sections of road to zoom up the inclines. I was surprised how fast I went. At Dark Entry, the path that makes the Linlithgow town boundary I waited, but not for long. We had all zoomed along. All that was left was the long descent in to the town, then a slight right (not left) to the lunchtime stop.

Lunch time stop.

A lovely lunchtime stop Dave's garden. Dave kindly shared out some plum cherries, which were delicious. The birds were making full use of the feeder and it spun round every time a bird left. We were out of the wind, and although the odd cloud obscures the sun, it remains warm and pleasant.

"A man on foot, on horseback or on a bicycle will see more, feel more, enjoy more in one mile than the motorized tourists can in a hundred miles." ~ Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire

Avoid The Breeze.

So how to get back to Edinburgh without having to cycle up hill and in to the freshening SE breeze. Well head NE. The first part was up hill, and in to the wind, but we were in the lee of a hill, so it didn't have much of an effect. Just before the brow of the hill, we turned off to head towards Philpstoun, and a lovely West Lothian country lane. Here the hedges protected us from the breeze. Cyclists on the towpath stopped to watch us as we passed the Bistro. This road is nice to cycle along as it was resurfaced a couple of years ago. The cycling is easy as we wind our way downhill. Over the B on to the track, where a hen was quietly pecking at the ground. We carried on avoiding the large potholes, under the motorway and across the A on to the cycle path to head east.

From the old Abercorn primary school, the road passes through woodland with hints of yellow in the leaves. A sure sign that we are in late summer / early autumn, but it doesn't mean that we are likely to get a hard winter, probably more of a sign that spring stated late this year. We pass Abercorn Church, the sight of one of the first bishoprics in Scotland. The Church is Norman and was built after The church is Anglican. As we approach the Hopetoun Estate, where the road turns south again, one tree had already started showing full autumn colours. The first gate was open, so we could cycle through on the road, then the track. This is the Deer Park, a Historic Monument, and protected. At the middle gate, no one fancied scaling the high gate, so we make our way through the double gate one person and bike at a time. this is done in a laid back manner as it seems we have we have all the time in the world. Back on tarmac, we head down towards the rather impressive east gate.

Have a break, have a latte and a slice of banana cake

A request to stop for coffee, and why not, no rush, and we were making excellent time. Even though we had only gone 12km, a couple of people had brought a light lunch, and needed to supplement this. We went down to the High Street, parked the bikes and got a coffee and cake and sat on the steps down to the beach in the sunshine. There are the lovely views across the Forth to Fife, the Rail Bridge and the Islands. Dinghies are rushing across the water as the sails catch the wind and then slowly tack back before zooming across the water again. A wedding was taking place on the shore near harbour.

A lovely ride through Dalmeny Estate

We carry on east along the busy High St. to access the Dalmeny Estate and the coastal path to Cramond Brig. A normal road goes down to the harbour. Here a metal gate marks the entrance to the Estate grounds. There is a lovely tarmac path to start with, which is nice to ride. A shame this does not continue as the dirt path is quite rough and challenging for those on road bikes, and interesting for those on mountain bikes. The views were beautiful and the trees keep the breeze off us. On the few occasions where the trees opened out and the breeze hit you like a blow to the chest. There was an immediate reduction in speed if coasting downhill. On one occasion, this occurred just as you reached the top of a climb, so you had to carry on pedalling in the same gear for another 10 meters, and the shelter from the trees kicked in again. Fortunately, this was only for very short sections. The wind didn't spoil the ride. Near Cramond, the Estate opens in to farmland, where the wheat crop is being harvested. Corstorphine hill looks quite large from here, blockingout most of the Pentland Hills. Further along the track, I stick to the left hand side on the dry mud. It is less bumpy and stony than the middle, so feels faster. On the tarmac straw makes the surface slightly slippy, but it doesn't last long as we head for the gate, and the final bit of bumpy path sees us arrive near the Cramond Brig pub.

We head down the hill to Cramond Brig, the end of the ride for most. The rest of us carry on along NCR 1 in small groups, turning off as and when it is convenient to do so. I wait at Roseburn to ensure everyone who cycled to this point is fine, then head off home. A wonderful day on a bike ride that was a pleasure to lead, and a good route for a Sunday.

Next Spokes Rides

The next Summer Spokes Ride is on Sunday September 19th. Meet at 9:30 at the Usher Hall, distance around 101km, 63 miles. I hope to go around the Forth through Culross and Bo'ness.

The next Spokes Ride is on Sunday October, distance around 72km, 40miles. Possibly to the new Leadburn Inn.

Spokes competition

Enter the Spokes competition to Design some artwork for display on or beside cycle paths. For more details visit the Spokes Website.

Warm Regards,

Explore, Dream, Discover

"I mean, you either love spinning the pedals and watching scenery whiz by, or you don't. And if you love it, not much can sour you on the idea of riding your bike." ~ Keith Mills

Ride Statistics

Distance:       63.05km (39.2 miles)
Average Speed:  18.8kmh (11.7mph) Max 67.0 kmh
Total Climbing: 468m (1536 ft) Max 251m
Time:           3 hours 21 minutes
Max. Temp.:     20 deg C (68 deg F)

Route Description

Start:  Usher Hall
Out:    Fountainbridge, Roseburn, NCR 1 to Cramond Brig, Burnshot, Kirliston, Niddry, Winchburgh, Faucheldean, Bridgend Farm, Linlithgow.
Return: Linlithgow, Philpstoun, Abercorn, Hopetoun Estate, South Queensferry (Coffee Stop), Dalmeny Estate, Cramond Brig, NCR 1 to Russell Rd.
End:    Roseburn

Interactive Route Map

The map belows shows the route that we took on the September 2010 Spokes Ride.

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