Saturday, 31 August 2013

A thinly disguised shopping trip

I've still too many things to do and too little time for myself, but I grabbed the opportunity to get out for an hour on the LHT this afternoon.

There was a strong westerly wind gusting to around 30mph but I just settled into spinning along and enjoyed the view. Everything is still green but the harvest has started and there are hints of autumn in the air.

I cycled along the usual loop by John Muir Country Park and then back around Dunbar to say hello to the horses and then off uphill for a stretch of the legs and lungs.

The trucker needs a good old strip down and service. Other than a puff of air in the tyres and some lube on the chain, it's needed nothing all summer.

Down from the peace of the little country roads and on to the local supermarket for Saturday evening pizza. That explains the pannier.

Back through Hallhill woods, and for Coastkid's interest, here is a pic of the local pump track. The sign says it's for BMX and hardtail MTB use. I can imagine some fat bikes trying this out!

And regarding fat bikes, here is the latest; I visited Coastkid yesterday evening and once he had reassured me that the guard dogs were definitely away, I was granted access to his secret fatbike research facility where we fitted the new BB, cranks and headset. The seat post that I thought I had was the wrong size so another is on order. I've also fitted the brakes and gears but the bars are awfully narrow so I think they are going to be changed.

Neat chainline! The Fatty might be storming the beaches next weekend,

Sunday, 25 August 2013

New Bike!

I hardly seem to have any free time at the moment. As usual the first week back at work after leave was chaotic with long hours trying to catch up. I'm also tied up finishing the building work around the installation of a new boiler. I had hoped to take some time to myself this afternoon but the weather had other plans and a sea haar had rolled in over night. I had a short run on the LHT but the weather didn't lend itself to photos.

So instead I started unpacking a couple of boxes that I have been waiting for for a long long time.

Yes, the call of the fat side has become too strong and I have succumbed!

I have most of the parts I need, although I'm still waiting on an FSA Platinum 100mm bottom bracket. Brakes will eventually be Avid BB7 although I'll stick some Hayes on that I have lying around to get the bike rolling.

The finish is great although the jury is still out on the graphics.

Loads of clearance for the four inch 'floaters'.

Fly is in for a treat with lots of beach adventures ahead of us.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Five Photo Cycle

Its been a busy 'holiday'. I've spent most of this week building a cupboard around a new boiler and the old electrics. The doors are hanging straight, they are nearly flush on their stops and I put what I hope is the last skim of plaster this afternoon. Meanwhile I have been neglecting the Long Haul Trucker and myself. I suppose it was the thought of being back at work tomorrow that provided the inspiration to get out this evening.

I headed off along towards John Muir Country Park with little idea where I was really going. The was a gusting south westerly wind so I figured I would cycle west to have an easy run home.

As I cycled I began to get into a rhythm and started to relax into the ride. I continue to be amazed how mindful I can be of the simple act of pedaling. I just slip into a focus and enjoy myself, all the days stresses slip into the background. 

I was feeling reasonably strong so I turned up through the Yew avenue into the Biel Estate. This leads to a gravel track across the fields and then very short steep descent to Biel Mill and a much longer and equally steep climb up to the Stenton road.

Along the hillfoot roads and I saw my first working harvesters of the summer. The crops have come on tremendously considering the late spring. The long hot weather and recent rains seem to have added up to a bumper harvest. No doubt the farmers will complain that this will push prices down so that they need more subsidies. It's not easy running a Range Rover these days!

After Spott I had the long descent back to Dunbar. I made a quick loop back down by Belhaven to get a picture of the 'bridge to nowhere' doing what it is supposed to do, providing a crossing for the Biel Burn. A really enjoyable pedal and made all the more interesting as I had forgotten to put a memory card in the camera and so was restricted to only five photos on the internal memory. That would be the five you have just been looking at.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Anstruther Muster 2013

Its that time of year again, second weekend of August and El gets packed off to her Dad along with a holiday-making Fly. Its time for the Anstruther Muster.

This year I had made a real effort with my Alacrity 19 "Heron". Everything had been painted, polished or tightened for the weekend. I had spent weeks making sure there was was food and fresh water stored, gas for the stove and beer for the 'crew'. On Wednesday everything was spot on. On Friday I loaded the last of the victuals aboard and fired up the Mariner outboard as I started to bring in the fenders. The engine made a cough and failed...I couldn't believe this was happening! I spent the next forty minutes stripping each component of the engine as best I could, stressed out, hanging upside down in a 20 knot wind. Kenny, the RNLI mechanic offered advice, but eventually we both agreed that the engine needed up on a bench. 

Meanwhile, Cold Water Logger Davie was hopping up and down on his new boat the "Wee Beastie". The tide was flowing and there was a time limit to get into Anstruther that was rapidly decreasing. We were going to sail over in convoy with James and his wee Hurly yacht "Freedom". They had waited as the tide rose then left. Davie rowed across in his tender and offered that I sail with him. It was an obvious decision, Davie was offering a berth and I didn't have a functioning boat...It was still a pisser though. I have waited all year for another chance to set out independently with The "Mighty Heron".

As we left the harbour and clawed our way out between the rocks Davies's outboard did its best to punch above the tide and wind. As a member of the local lifeboat crew, Davie is used to having serious engines on command. A wee bit different with five asthmatic horsepower, but we were soon out into the rolling sea.

Meanwhile I was grinning like an extra from the muppet show.

A bit of green water over the bow, a seriously crisp new Jeckels foresail set with twenty knots of wind and Davie was grinning too as his boat began to power up. The next four hours were a learning experience for the both of us. The "Wee Beastie", a Juno 560, is a seriously fast little yacht that reveled in movement of weight and tight sheets.

A bit later than expected, but we made it and tied up in Anstruther. As ever, the other little boats were welcoming and everyone lent a hand to make sure their pride and joy had a safe berth.

Speaking of berths, this was where I was going to sleep. Beggars can't be choosers, so I happily made up ma scratcher.

There was the usual greeting of old friends, taking of drink and nosing around as Friday night fell.

I didn't sleep very well, but Saturday morning dawned reasonably bright, and things improved appreciably after a shower and a visit to a local cafe.

I sat in the morning sun reading the paper, drinking more coffee and watching the harbour wake up. Simple pleasures.

It was a busy day in Anstruther with loads to see. The Reaper was looking amazing and the crew were kept busy with visitors.

Boats continued to arrive as the tide rose. Some sneaked in, some got stuck!

Clouds were gathering so I headed back to the boat for a lazy afternoon. Every so often a passer-by would offer for me to come visit their boat. This however nearly always involves alcohol so I stuck to my guns and politely refused. I know from previous experience how messy this can become!

A familiar bunch of faces appeared from Dunbar to visit their Anstruther colleagues who were receiving bravery commendations.

As Saturday afternoon turned into evening I went over to join others from Dunbar and we headed up to Anstruther Town Hall where a band were playing. No marquee on the pier this year.

It was a lovely hall and the band greeted us like long lost friends. They had felt quite lonely up to the point when we arrived!

The Wee Beastie won the trophy for the smallest boat to attend the muster. As I had managed to mislay my skipper somewhere, I had my moment of fame when I collected the silverware.

The evening wore on, more folk turned up, Davie was found, and the band played on. Drink was drunk and dancing/staggering commenced.

After the Hall I went back to the very steep ramp onto the pontoon and the boat. Throughout the night I could hear different boat crews negotiating it with varying degrees of success on their return from the pubs.

Sunday morning was bright and I packed up my kit as I had to head to Glasgow to collect El. I felt a bit bad about leaving Davie on his own with the boat, but I knew he could manage it.

So it was farewell to the Muster again as I cadged a lift from Denholm. In the distance I could see the Dunbar lot disappearing into a pub to watch the football. I can't keep up with that level of commitment to beer!

I stayed in Glasgow Sunday night and then it was back to Dunbar on Monday morning. In the afternoon I was back on the Heron. I put the wee kettle on and methodically stripped the engine.

I eventually found a blocked jet and was able to clear it after cobbling together a blow pipe made from some fuel pipe and a pen cap. Everything back together and the engine fired up fine.

Ah well. The rest of the afternoon was spent lazing on the Heron reading.

The good weather of the weekend had to break sometime and I managed to spot it coming and scamper ashore. As the rain lashed down a bedraggled looking Davie sailed back into Dunbar on the Wee Beastie. A weekend that did not go quite to plan, but a bit of improvisation and it turned out fine.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Lammermuir Rain.

After six weeks of roasting hot weather and beautiful sunny skies my summer holidays finally started. Guess what happened to the weather?

A bit of rain wasn't going to stop me, so off I went in the car with the LHT in the back. I parked up above Elmscleugh and then climbed up through the mist into Monynut forest.

It's as well he's still young as he didn't seem very pleased to see me come pedaling out of the mist.

The trails through the woods are probably better suited to something more mountain bike shaped but I was enjoying splashing through the streams and the hard climbing up the tracks. When I got to the point that I couldn't get any wetter I went back to the car and then drove over to the Whiteadder Reservoir for another very wet pedal.

Coffee under the shelter of the trees and then back around the reservoir to the car to head home.
But, the best is yet to come! I made a wee film. Its a bit dark, but so was the sky.