Sunday, 21 December 2014

A cold cycle back from Edinburgh

I've been away the last couple of weekends visiting family so haven't had anything to post. But on Saturday I had to go to Edinburgh to collect my first pair of reading glasses, age is catching up with me! So I took the chance to make an outing of the appointment by taking the Long Haul Trucker on the train and cycling back.


I was waiting on an empty platform at 09:50, although by the time the train arrived there were loads of folk heading to the city for Christmas shopping.

Twenty minutes of standing on the train and I was in the centre of Edinburgh where the build up to seasonal excess is in full swing.

The merry-go-round was suitably festive but the 'Star Flyer' looked frankly terrifying to me. I was also freezing so I didn't hang around too long and was soon cycling over to St Leonards.

At the back of the police station I took the little cycle path that snakes through a housing development, past some lock-ups and then disappears below ground through the innocent railway tunnel.

This is a well surfaced track and I quickly made my way out of the city, relaxing as the sun shone through the bare trees and birds flitted across the path.

This little dog also jumped out in front of me and tested the trucker's brakes. He looks suitably guilty.


From the peace of the old railway line I crossed through the edge of Magdalene Glen and up to Asda to collect my glasses from Specsavers.


The bicycle parking at the front of the store is pathetic with small row of old fashioned 'wheel benders'. I had to move abandoned shopping trolleys to create a space for the trucker.

With my glasses collected I quickly picked up the trail again and headed along muddy lanes and cycle paths to the shore at Fisherrow.


The wind was biting at the coast and I didn't spend long looking around. It was a quick pedal along to the river Esk where I decided to cut back inland and and start the climb up to Tranent.

The view back to the coast with Fife in the distance. The demolition of Cockenzie Power station continues and it was only when I had climbed up to this point that I relised that I should have stuck to the coast and taken the chance to have a look at the chimneys as apparently, now that the metal work has been removed, you can see inside them.

At Haddington I found a suitably sheltered bench and stopped for coffee and a roll. It didn't take long before I started to feel cold and although it was the middle of the day, the sun was low in the sky and not providing much warmth.


A quick climb up over Pencraig and the the last six miles to home where El was excitedly waiting to make fun of me wearing my specs. 


Tuesday, 2 December 2014

A Long Haul Trucker along the coast

The days seem to be flying by recently. It's Tuesday evening already and I still haven't got around to posting Sunday's cycle. So here goes.

I headed east in bright midday sunshine out of Dunbar with the vague notion of going to Cockburnspath. The Long Haul Trucker just keeps on doing the job and although it is not the most exciting of bikes, it is comfy.

At the end of the cycle path I passed a large group of travelling people with their assorted 4x4s and caravans. They seemed to be entertaining their hordes of noisy offspring by setting off fire extinguishers. Perhaps they were training for when they are burning the insulation off the copper cable that they "recycle" from the quarry.

I gave them a wide berth and continued on by the fields at Torness. I couldn't resist this shot of the farmers scarecrows.

Further along and I've posted pictures of the bridges at Bilsdean before, but these have usually been during the summer when there is a lot more greenery. When the leaves are gone, the drop is all the more impressive. Unfortunately cloud was gathering and the pictures were quite dull without pushing the exposure a bit.

There wasn't much happening in Cockburnspath. I spent a week there one afternoon! It's an old one but it does sum the village up. I know a few folk who live there and they tend to agree that nothing happens.

Then it was back to Dunbar, a quick loop of town and spin through the woods to round the mileage up to a relatively easy 20 miles. I kept up a good pace and there was no coffee stop this week.

 It's been a mild winter so far but the forecast is suggesting some weather coming from the north. These woodland trails would be pretty special in the snow with fat tyres. Here's hoping.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Winter colours

I couldn't think of any particular route for a cycle today, so I put the LHT in the back of the car and headed to the hills.

I had a few ideas for short loops so I just unloaded the bike and cycled around a couple of miles before loading it up again and heading off to another spot. It seems a bit lazy but it suited me.

When I was cycling along by Garvald the highland cows were over near the fence. I have been meaning to get a picture of them since Pondero posted a pic of a Texas Longhorn.

Their shaggy coats were ruffled in the wind and the low winter light made their colours really stand out.

Back on the bike and I slowly spun away in low gears up the steep hills to get some shelter in the woods for my coffee. The autumn colours continued with various fungi. I have tried to learn some basics about which mushrooms are edible but if you get it wrong, the risks are a bit high for my liking.

Back in a loop to the car, then I drove over to the Whiteadder Reservoir and had a cycle around there.

The light was getting low so back to the car again, finish the flask of coffee and home. Not the most exciting of cycles but I got out there and enjoyed it all the same.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Cycling, woods, horses, surf, breakfast.

 A wintery sun was doing it's best to provide some watery light on my cycle this morning; it wasn't, however, having much effect on the temperature. There was the occasional patch of frost and for the first time this year I felt the need for proper gloves. Unfortunately I couldn't find them, so I made do with my short fingered ones and worked a bit harder.

The woods provided a sheltered cycle with loads of birdlife and everchanging colours. The single track is great too, with fast sweeping bends through the trees.


Once I'd had enough fun linking up all the tracks in the shelter of the woods, I looped back around town to Eweford. There was new Heras fencing along the track and it looks as though that tree line of old Scots pine will soon be replaced by a new housing development. It's a shame, but so far the developments have probably resulted in more paths and cycle routes than were there previously so I can't complain too much.

Along by the farm and the horses came across to say their good morning.

I scratched their noses then pedaled back down to the coast to have a look at the sea that I had heard crashing in during the night.

It was all quiet at the Biel Burn, but just offshore the surf was up.

 Which of course brings surfers and..

 kayakers and..

 ...happy dogs!

 Then back home for breakfast.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Easy Sunday Cycling

I was away on training last week so it was good to kick back and take an easy weekend before the return to the relative normality of work on Monday. I usually find going for a cycle relaxing, and so it would seem sensible that I should have been out over the last few weeks, but I just couldn't get into it. Now that the pressure is reduced, I find getting out on the 'trucker so simple. There is something counter-intuitve going on with my thinking. Perhaps something to take time to reflect on.

But back to the pedalling. On Sunday morning I pumped a bit of air into the neglected tyres, and headed off into a dreich grey day.

There has been more than enough rain recently and the roads are beginning to get that slippery winter damp that local cyclists know so well. The multitude of autumnal colours in the leaves are wonderful to see but a different matter when you come across them on a corner.

I wasn't that sure where I was going this week so I just wandered along towards Haddington but then turned back toward East Linton with its bridges and then on to Preston Mill.

I met a dog walker and there was a couple putting their boots on to go for a walk but otherwise, I had the roads pretty much to myself.

By the ford on the river at the Knowes Farm I stopped for coffee and some fruit loaf a friend had baked.

A simple breakfast and then an easy pedal home. A very welcome and very relaxed early morning cycle.