Friday, 29 March 2013

Slow Good Friday

The last three weeks have been freezing. Cold easterly winds gusting to over 50mph have meant daily wind chill temperatures of -5C (23f). When it wasn't raining it was snowing. Then I caught a horrible cold that will not clear. All this has meant I haven't been out for a cycle for nearly two weeks. Today is Good Friday and I thought I might be able to manage a few miles in some very welcome sunshine. First I took Fly for a wander along the coast to see how I would manage with a bit of exertion.

It was lovely in the sun with the sound of the waves on the rocks. Fly charged about and found a suitable stick.

The climb back up to the road left me puffing and sweating bullets. I knew I wasn't up to any hard work until I can clear this infection and breathe clearly again.

I still really wanted to get out for a wee cycle so I just grabbed the LHT and got on with my chores. I went to the local supermarket on the outskirts of town for some shopping then home, then back along by the East beach.

The easterly winds are dying down but there was still a bit of motion.

At the old harbour the fishermans memorial has just been refurbished. The brown sandstone carving is fantastic and really shows up in the low sunlight. I left the 'trucker in the shelter of a couple of boats and went for a wander. Bob the Harbour Master was busy painting his Fifie and told me I had a new mooring in the Victoria Harbour for this season. This is good news as it should be a bit safer.

It also means that I have to get riser chains onto the mooring. Low water tomorrow morning will be about 0.6m over the bar at Leith which translates as an empty harbour in Dunbar. I need to grab this opportunity as it will some time before the tides are so low again. I quickly borrowed a pair of bolt cutters and got my hacksaw. My chains are all fitted with shackles but after a year in salt water it helps to take all the tools possible for the half hour the mooring will be exposed before the tide comes back in.

This will all be mud tomorrow at 1010hrs and I will be floundering around in the middle of it. As to the cycling, I had aimed for an easy pedal to save my poor lungs but ended up doing twelve miles around town. The LHT continues to do just what I want. Longer runs, commuting, or just going to the shops, it does it all.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

A couple of hours of sunshine

The forecast for this weekend was pretty bleak with freezing temperatures and driving rain. It looked as if there might be a break in the rain clouds just after lunchtime on Sunday and when it came I grabbed the chance for a cycle around the local villages.

There has been a bridge at East Linton for a long long time. Records tell of the troublesome English crossing the bridge when they were invading in 1547. Two years later they were running home and were a little upset to find that the French had given a hand to the Scots and blown up the bridge to hamper the retreat.

When James the VI was heading south in 1603 to be crowned James I of England it was noted that the bridge was near collapse. Tolls were raised and the bridge was rebuilt. In 1763 it was widened and strengthened to what is today. The improvements are commemorated on a keystone on one of the arches.

This lovely house is quite normal, I somehow manage to mess up the horizontals in this pic.

Back on the LHT and on through East Linton. No sign of the buds on the trees opening yet.

 It might look as if I've made a mess of the verticals in this pic but the trees show its just a squint old mill.


The mill wasn't running today so the race was diverted past the wheel. I went back onto the road and pedaled along to Tyninghame as the cloud rolled back in.

It looked like rain so I started for home but I was enjoying myself too much and went for a loop around Dunbar.

It was a slow easy cycle today. The LHT is going great, but when I was cleaning it I noticed a wee wobble in the back wheel. I remember hitting something on the way home from work on Thursday so I'll get the clothes pegs out and try to true it up. The front brake blocks could do with being replaced soon too. I'm still more than happy with it.

On an entirely different subject,
Good news, the Kittiwakes arrived back on the 15th, a day later than last year. There have been a few individuals since the 3rd but by Saturday there were over 100 birds and they are still arriving; shouting their hellos to old friends.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Surly Long Haul Trucker loaded for the commute.

The car was due it's mot test today and I managed to muddle up the dates and couldn't get a lift to work from any of my colleagues. I could have caught the bus, especially as I had a few things I needed to take with me, but the LHT was designed for this sort of thing. I wasn't particularly looking forward to the cycle but out came the panniers and the trucker was loaded up.   I very occasionally commute by bike but it is an exposed route to work and if the weather is inclement I quite simply don't enjoy it. The route is 12 miles with a decent hill right in the middle.  

I've seen it written that a Surly Long Haul Trucker often seems to handle even better than normal when it is carrying a load. I can now confirm this. It was only when I stopped to take this pic at 7 miles into the journey that I thought about the panniers. I just hadn't felt any change to the bike and had pretty much forgotten the two big Altura Dryline bags hanging off the back of the bike.

By the time I arrived at work I was fair enjoying the cycle. It was bitterly cold but the sun was peeking through at times and the birds in the hedgerows were singing their wee feathers off. I was worried about puncturing on one stretch where a hedge had been cut and the road was covered in trimmings and thorns but the Schwalbe tyres managed fine.

 Our little 'bike shed' under the stairs at work.

I can easily carry the kit for a couple of nights camping in those panniers. The gearing manages the hills with a load, the tyres a super tough. A little bar bag would be handy for my camera and alike. Hmmm..
I had set off this morning thinking of the commute as a bit of a drudge but came home this evening with all sorts of mini tour plans. Good stuff!

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Wind, Waves, Rain, Cycling

It's been raining for the last four days and a big sea has been building from the north east. The temperature is barely above freezing and if I had any sense I would have stayed in bed this morning, but ..

That would be too easy! So instead I went out in 25-30mph winds and driving rain to enjoy a cycle around Dunbar. This week I made sure I had decent waterproofs. The heavy cloud has my little Pentax camera struggling to capture any contrast but I took some pics anyway. I'm always keen to see where others cycle and hopefully other folk are interested in my travels.

The Biel Burn and the little bridge to the trout farm.

Bare trees and that pervading damp that gets into your bones. Aye it's good to be Scottish.

As long as I kept moving it wasn't too bad.

It was a good pedal, only 10 miles of purgatory, but worth the effort and it made a hot shower and breakfast a heavenly pleasure.

I'm off to watch the rugby now. Dunbar has it's usual Welsh visitors here for the international. Given Scotland's recent performance I think there could be some happy Taffys this afternoon. We'll see.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Misty Morning Woodland Cycle

I've been a bit remiss with the blog. I didn't really enjoy my cycle around North Berwick last weekend. A combination of the wrong clothing, lack of food and forgetting to take any money resulted in a cold and uninspiring ride. I couldn't find the motivation to get out on the bike this weekend and so there was no post. I did manage some work on the Heron but sandpaper and paint don't make for interesting pictures. 

I had a day off work today and the morning dawned with a crisp frost and clear skies. To get my motivation back I decided to do something different and took the Kona mtb down to Penmanshiel. It's all off road in the woods, so Fly came too.

As usual, once I was out pedaling I was so glad that I had made the effort.

The sun was warming the air above the valley quicker than the ground so a temperature inversion formed and  mist rolled through the trees. Every so often it would clear and the hills would appear in shafts of sunlight before the trail was enveloped again.

I puffed away in low gears as Fly ran around finding ever bigger sticks to show me. After a lot of nosing around on little side trails we eventually popped out at the little tin shed near the old house.

Guess what the old bottle used to hold?

Bell's pah! If I owned this wee shack in the woods I think I would be making my own. Probably end up learning the banjo too. 

 Wiggly trees.

Coffee in the flask and some much appreciated sunshine. As I was sitting, taking a rest and enjoying the start of spring a fellow came wandering along the trail with a portfolio and a wee table. I'm no Sherlock Holmes, but I suspected he may be an artist and sure enough he was. His name was Gerry Turley and he was out drawing for some childrens book illustrations he is working on. It was a pleasure to have a chat and Fly took full advantage of Gerry's willingness to throw sticks.

Back on the trail and some decent descent back to the car. I'm not sure how, but I managed to spend nearly two hours messing around on the bike.

A good ride, Fly enjoyed it too and the motivation to get out and enjoy myself is back.