Monday, 27 September 2010

15 out on Ladies Invitation ride

On a bright, but chilly morning 10 ladies met at East Calder Sports Centre, accompanied by 5 men. Club Captain, Neil Greer tells the story.

Alison McQuillen, Eve and Louise 1 (sorry, did not get a surname...) had travelled across from Linlithgow, as had Louise 2 (Rattray) to be joined by local riders Julie Greer, Alison Dourley, Joan Hemesley (all from Kirknewton), Fiona Walker (from East Calder) and Jan Brogan (from Ratho). Making up the ladies "team" was Catherine Heyes (daughter of Neil), thanks to the loan of a road bike from Eve. 

Joan's new bike had only been finished being assembled by Rob at 4 am (yes 4 and a half hours before we set off....) so we asked the obvious question: "Do the brakes work??" Fortunately, they did...

As for the men, in addition to myself, there was Neil Lovett, Neil Heyes and two "non Neils" in the shape of Dave Dourley and Malcolm Wake.

As we congregated for introductions it was great to see Debbie turn up with Matthew and Beth to see us all off. After a brief chat about group riding we set off via the back lanes of East Calder towards Newbridge. Our two Ratho-ites, Malcolm and Jan, set a comfortable pace, the intention being to try to keep the group together in a classic Club Run formation.

It was a credit to everyone, especially to those who had perhaps never ridden in such a large group, that the group held together well and there was a good buzz as riders exchanged information and got to know each other better.

Malcolm had to leave us shortly before the Kirkliston traffic lights - missing out on the delights of Craigie so 15 became 14. On the gentle climb approaching the farm Catherine and Neil Lovett had to stop to deal with a dropped chain, but, other than that, there were no mishaps.

Craigies presented its usual welcome and the opportunity to exchange more stories and, as a bit of a surprise, I heard several of the ladies talking about kit! And I thought that was just a male preserve....

Having been the backmarker for the outward stage Neil L. swapped to the front to lead us out via Dalmeny towards Kirkliston. After a few miles Louise 1 had a rear wheel puncture - thanks to large thorn - but the ever chivalrous Dave Dourley quickly saw it repaired and us on our way again. A few futher miles on Fiona said her goodbyes and made her way to Edinburgh

Shortly afterwards Catherine was having difficulty braking at a T junction due to her right hand cramping up. Closer observation revealed that the bars were probably set too "aggressively" so, with much thanks to Joan/Rob for having the only multi-tool with short enough allen keys, Mr Chivalry again covered himself in glory by resetting the bars...

With a warming sun countering the chill Northerly, the rest of the ride was mishap-free as we took the back roads to Wynchburgh/Broxburn and then on to the approach to Almondell Country Park. At the park exit the group split as Jan, Joan and Mr & Mrs Dourley headed home, the rest of us heading back the EC Sports Centre.

Overall stats were c 27 miles at c 11.5 mph. Thanks to everyone for making it so enjoyable - it ticked all the boxes for me.

I hope we'll see you all again.


Neil (3....)"

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