We’ll be gathering at the Meadows from 11:30 am for a 12 noon start. The route will be no more than 1.5 miles and the pace will be slow enough for even the littlest legs, ending at the Parliament building where we promise to keep the speeches to a bare minimum.
A couple of us took the opportunity to have a look at the route while all was quiet on an early and still Sunday morning. The route itself isn’t complicated: go straight; turn right; go straight; turn right. And if you find you’re getting lost then… just follow the few hundred cyclists in front of you. However, there are a few things that we thought worth highlighting. Six things to be exact, and these are:
1. The Meadows
Our start point. We’ll be meeting around the crossroads of all of the paths through the park, getting together on a grassy area to the side of the main path. There will be marshals on hand early so that you know you’re in the right place, and after a few words of guidance we’ll be on our way from 12:00. Please bear in mind that the path we are following (Middle Meadow Walk) is segregated for bikes and pedestrians, and those on bikes should be sticking to the right hand cycle-side. This is the only real uphill of the ride, but is likely to be at a respectably easy pace as we get up and running.
2. Middle Meadow Walk / Forrest Road
Access to Forrest Road is by traffic lights for cyclists and pedestrians. This is a potential pinch point as the cycle path across is only wide enough for single file. We hope to have the help of the police specifically at this junction to close off the road while we pass, but we will have an announcement around that on the day. Please keep pedestrians in mind at this section, and also when you join the road there may be cars merging from the right, as they get the green light at the same time.
3. George IV Bridge onto the Royal Mile
A right hand turn that we would urge you to prepare in advance for. It is likely that the column of cyclists will make this easy, and the road here is long, straight, and wide. Those leading will start moving to the right for the crossroads onto the Royal Mile, and the line of cyclists should follow. Take care on the turn itself as there may be traffic coming the other way (again we’re hopeful the police may help with ‘closing’ the junction for us), but also you will be moving into a cobbled surface. That surface is smooth on the crossroads itself, but once onto the Royal Mile proper you’re gonna get shoogled.
4. The Bridges
The crossroads should be easy enough, but about 20-30 yards ahead of the traffic lights are two things to bear in mind. There will be raised bollards for the section of road, while this means it will be closed to traffic, it also means there may be pedestrians wandering about, and you should be aware of what cyclists ahead of you are doing so you don’t ride into a bollard! Also, before the lights traffic coming uphill and turning right into Cockburn Street has priority. If anything at all is coming uphill be prepared to stop.
5. High Street turns into Canongate
Another crossroads that shouldn’t pose too many problems. Just before the lights a raised section of the road drops down (it’s really a large, 10 metre long, speed bump) and you’re still on cobbles, so take it easy as you may have to stop for the lights. The road here also narrows slightly.
6. Lower Royal Mile and Holyrood
You’re off the cobbles now, but watch your speed. There will be pedestrians about, and there are a few random little bits of cobbles. 100-150 yards from the bottom of the road there is also a pedestrian crossing – please cede priority to the pedestrians. At the very bottom we hang a right around the roundabout which takes us in front of the building itself. Please follow the marshals leading and pay attention to their instructions. It’s unlikely we will be able to cycle straight to the front door of the Parliament as there is no dropped kerb. Instead we may have to ride round an S-bend in the road and congregate further on before doubling back for the Parliament.
If you are not sure where all those places are, we have prepared this wee video to help you out (Please note this the times and dates are from the 1st PoP):
In addition to those specific things to bear in mind for the route itself it is also worth bearing in mind a few general hints and tips to make the ride an enjoyable one, but also one that is safe, and which leads to no disputations.
- watch your speed: most of the ride is downhill, and the Royal Mile is a tempting place to attempt to break the sound barrier. However half of it is on cobbles, and you are also going to be riding in a large group of people.
- listen to the marshals and the police: if they’re telling you to do something it’s for a reason, and that reason is usually your safety and wellbeing. If we have to stop at red lights then we have to stop at red lights. It’s difficult to ask for better, safer infrastructure if we have people doing dangerous things of their own accord.
- admire other people’s bikes: cyclists love being told their bike is super.
- enjoy yourself: this may be a ‘protest’ ride, but it’s also just a fun congregation of like-minded people who want to celebrate cycling as well as ask for it to be made safer for everyone.
Cyclists coming from outwith Edinburgh
Cyclists coming from outwith Edinburgh – look here for details of rides in from outwith the city, including park and ride options (this map link may help you to plan your ride to the start point). It’s likely that there won’t be room on the trains for everybody’s bike so if you have a folder, bring it, or look into borrowing a bike on the day.