March Spokes Ride where snow has been replaced with snowdrops.
"The snowdrop and primrose our woodlands adorn, and violets bathe in the wet o' the morn." ~ Robert Burns
13 people turned up on a cold, day. The forecast was OK, but I would rather it was sunny, then the cold wouldn't matter too much. But it wasn't that bad as there was no rain, and the natural lay of the land would shelter us from the slight breeze. So there was some hope that while the sky was grey, the forecast was grey, we might actually get some sun.
Some Cheeky Monkeys at the start were advertising their new repair service. Handy for the cycle path at Roseburn, Grease Monkey Cycles is in the Sauchiebank Industrial Estate off Russell Road. Of course there is always the usual favourites, but to be fair, another bicycle repair service has started in Brunstfield Place, near the petrol station, Pedals is opposite Footworks, near Velo Ecosse.
Cool weather and man made obstacles
After checking the time, we set off along Fountainbridge to Roseburn and NCR 1. As we travelled along the sky grew lighter. As we headed up to Silverknowes, the sky almost cleared, and the sun almost came out. That was the nearest we came to getting some sunshine. Heading through Barnton was the usual quiet affair, an group ride where we all just about crossed the roads at the Toucan crossings together. No need for a catch up at Cramond Brig, so we headed up to Burnshot.
At the top I waited and admired the snowdrops in the woodland to the right. As we headed on to Burnshot Rd, signs told us that the road was closed at the Carlowrie Railway bridge. This meant we could not use the usual route of Standingstane road. A cyclist heading in towards Edinburgh confirmed that the road was closed, and no bicycle could squeeze through. We headed up toward Craigies, and on to the B824. Arrgh, another set of road works, this time with traffic lights controlling the traffic. The first 5 of us managed to squeeze through on the green light, a number 43 First Bus then tried to overtake us. Unfortunately, pot holes, obviously in the cycle lane, meant I had to cycle further out, and the bus had to wait until the end of the road works to overtake me.
Over the Bridge tae Fife
The cyclists snaked through Dalmeny and S. Queensferry, and down Stewart Terrace to access the Forth Road Bridge. This route is handier than the normal Route 1 as the east side of the bridge is closed, and gives easier access to the west side of the bridge. Of course this side of the bridge means having to use the very steep path at the North end of the bridge, but we all made is down safely. In Inverkeithing, I phoned ahead to confirm numbers before continuing along the coast.
Then the long u-turn to head back down to the coast and the Fife Coastal Path. The short steep section of path caused the usual mayhem. Through Dalgety Bay we stayed on the road, including avoiding the confusing bit. Along Beech Avenue, the Daffodils were yet to appear, a result of the cold winter we had this year. In the wooded areas along Beech Ave, snowdrops abound, and where there were less trees, patches of croci presented their white, yellow and purple plumage. In the gardens of Dalgety Bay and Aberdour, bedding plants added more yellow and purple.
Arriving at Aberdour, we were two cyclists short. A lone cyclist confirmed passing two cyclists, one of whom was still on the phone. Lunch was at the Aberdour Hotel. We were in the newly refurbished bar, which allowed a bit more space. Shame that the old furniture was outside waiting to be collected. The food was warming quite tasty.
On the way back, we took a more coastal route. This does use paths, some of which are not tarmac'd, and there is the occasional series of steps to negotiate, but it is fun. St. Bridget's wasn't visited. We could have stopped, but two cyclists had sped ahead. A coastal route allows the Edinburgh skyline to rotate as we head west, in this case it was just dark grey. Generally I use this route to make the ride different and a little interesting. There are the contrasts of the new housing interspersed with woodland, rocky coastline and lovely views across the Forth. It is also very peaceful, no cars. Of course the nice hill we sped down in the morning from Inverkeithing now has to be climbed on the way back. And also the steep path to access the cycle path on the Forth Bridge.
A short break in S. Queensferry was followed by a trip along NCR 76 through the Dalmeny Estate. A bit slippery in places, especially if you're on a road bike. Some of the climbs are made that bit more challenging because the path consists of pebbles. In other parts, forestry work had left a carpet of pine needles and small wood chips. Despite that, there were lots of smiles at Cramond. From here, it was a quick jaunt to Cramond Brig. We're back on NCR 1 and the end of the ride.
Explore, Dream, Discover
"All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware." ~ Martin Buber
Distance: 64.6km (38.2 miles)
Average Speed: 18.1kmh (11.2 mph) Max 54.9 kph
Total Climbing: 686m (2250 ft) Max 81m, Max Incline 11%
Time: 3 hours 34 minutes
Max. Temp.: 6 deg C (43 deg F)
Start: Usher Hall
Out: Fountainbridge, Russell Rd, Cycle Path, Silverknowes, Barnton, Cramond Brig, Craigies, Dalmeny, S. Queensferry, Inverkeithing, Dalgety Bay, Aberdour
Return: Aberdour, Dalgety Bay, Inverkeithing, S. Queensferry, Dalmeny Estate, Cramond Brig, Barnton, Silverknowes, Cycle Path
End: Russell Road