I have been needing to buy a new bike for about 18 months. I use one for work and getting around town and daily life so couldn't make up my mind about what sort; courier, hybrid, trail, mountain, cargo or what? However I was realising I wanted to be able to ride off road and that probably meant a 29" wheel MTB would tick most boxes and Glentress were selling off ex-hire bikes at bargain prices. I am now wondering why I waited so long.
Mary was kind enough to run me to Glentress on Friday. It was absolutely Baltic and quite spectacular on the journey. She looked around the Alpine Bikes shop while I tried a couple of bikes in different sizes. I was pretty sure I wanted a Genesis Mantle and it felt great riding it 100yrds up and down the road. They sell them after 40 hires, replacing chains and rear cassettes and doing a thorough service, as well as giving you a 3 month parts warranty and free service after that time. (You can get this in their Edinburgh shop - they don't make you return to Glentress.)
Today, Mary was planning a 10miler from Gullane and knowing I was keen to go for a cycle dropped me off there. My plan was to bike along to N Berwick and pick up the John Muir Way doing the 19 mile loop round and back to NB. The first 4 miles with a very light breeze to my back were super fast - buzzing along at an average of 20mph. I was measuring this on the Garmin as I haven't fitted a speedo yet to the bike. There's something you never see when running: sub 3 minute miles (over 20mph.) Many moons ago a friend of mine who knows a lot about bikes reckoned 29" wheels were the next big thing, back when Gary Fisher was just about the only person producing them. It has taken me a while to get there, but so far I am delighted with the bike - a slightly different aesthetic to standard mtb 26" wheels but they are rolling very well.
The weather was nearly perfect today. If a bit on the cold side. But the lack of wind made it possible to ride without a jacket till the sun went down. There is quite a difference from running to biking - much less of a work out so you don't stay as warm, or even sweat. Or rather, a lot of the trails I was riding were so wet and muddy I was going slowly in order not to shower myself in glaur. After those initial tarmac miles I slowed down to the sort of pace I could run at. My heart sank every time I had to take this lovely machine through ankle deep mud and I wondered was this the first and last day all the mechanical stuff would work perfectly. I don't mind running over very wet and muddy trails - you can throw everything in the washing machine after scraping the muck off, but it's much more of a pain to strip and regrease bearings etc. The first mile of JMW was along the side of a field and I stopped after it to run a stick along the sidewalls of the tyres which had picked up an inch of gloop on either side and were threatening to drop it onto the disk brakes. However it didn't really get much worse and some of the trails were dry and a pleasure to fly along (by comparison to the usual jog.)
Now this image I really like as you can just about make out the tiny silhouettes of 2 ponies on the far distant skyline of Traprain Law to the left (and above) of the left chimney.
too much of this sort of thing
This is me blatantly copying Hilary R's great idea of using a vertical panorama shot to capture the length of a tree. (I told you I would Hilary!)
The trees were particularly fab over in Binning Woods - my dad resides here. Normally I stick to the smaller trails through the woods but they were so soft today I went down to the main road, and nodded a hello to Alastair.
Best dead thing today, although I would rather it wasn't.
These growing tubes, glowing and backlit, were an excellent art installation.
The light today was spectacular. I was realising this is because the sun is so low it's a bit like a sunset all day - the orange light streaming through the trees. The down side is that by the time I got to the beach it, the light, was blocked by the dunes. As was I. I didn't want to fill my gears with sand and so stayed off the beach. I also went along by the holiday homes (the Harvest Moon folk who put up the private and keep-off-our-land signs), which was silly as I missed the lovely well drained trails near the estuary and St Baldrid's Cradle etc. Oh well, best not have an epic first day out. I managed to get onto the concrete paving near Seacliff then follow the road up and along to NB. Normally this is a chore to run along. Today was a pleasure to zip along at 2 to 3 times the normal speed.
I have never till today noticed the fog horn(?) at 2 o'clock on the rock. (Actually it was taken at 2.30ish)
My first thought when I popped my head over the dune was oh dear I'll have to photoshop out all the people littering the beach.
classy drinks bottle
moon came up
sun went down
An older American gent saw the bike on the train and said "you've been enjoying yourself!"
It was too cold to stop and eat so I quickly shoved down a couple of sports bars and saved my sandwich till the train. Cycling does not make you as warm as running and I could feel ears, toes and fingers suffering in the cold air more than if I had been running. If it had been all tarmac it might have been different although the faster speed makes for chillier extremities. It's too long since I have done regular recreational cycling and I hope to get back into it and get up to speed with equipment and clothes, but it won't be replacing running. For one, I need to burn off the christmas tummy I seem to be sporting. But excellent to be back on a properly working bike. I got back around 5pm and spent half an hour or more washing the filth off the bike in the back green.