Sunday, 27 July 2008

Eleven hundred miles by bike in 4 days

So, night three at a campsite near Glasgow on the way back (a site full of chavs and loud drunkards having a cheap holiday), some drunk comes up and says (roughly translated), "Have you put up a tent before, because you are doing that all wrong" to which I replied, "Have you grown a moustache before, because that one looks crap" and we fell about laughing. It broke the tension a bit after a tiring day on the road. We laughed and laughed.

ok, I waited for the drunk to walk off before I said it, to be honest :) but it was a side splitter anyway, though maybe you had to be there.

John had intended to get as far as somewhere or other even further north than Glen Coe and I pissed him off by not wanting to go that far, because, to be honest, we were rushing past some wonderful scenery to get to somewhere which neither of us knew and which was not certain to offer more than we were missing, as it was. I guess my philosophy of riding is just different from his, which is fine but it did make things a bit tense at times.

We covered over 250 miles per day, which I thought was pretty damned impressive, until we came across a cyclist who was doing 130 miles per day, just on a pushbike!

Glen Coe was absolutely fantastic. The campsite was a valley at the end of a long and windy road, and surrounded by 9 (John counted 10, but I didn't want to seem to boast, and anyway some of the peaks were parts of the same thing!) mountains. We discussed whether they were strictly 1000'+ and decided it was academic, as they were more than hills and bloody impressive anyway. Below them all round was forest, and beyond the mountains, an estuary from the sea. Marvellous. We followed the coastal road that night after supper, just for a laugh, and followed the 30 miles or so of the A838 circuit.

I figure we rode 1,150 miles in four days, which is easily the most miles I have done continuously, and certainly on a bike. I got really confident....better at reading other people's driving ; anticipating etc.

On the way back we stopped at Falkirk Wheel, easily one of the most ingenious engineering feats in the world. Have a look on this film on YouTube - speeded up by stop-motion.

The wheel cuts out the need for the 11 locks which were there (until dismantled in the 1930s) the space on just one and lifts boats 35metres! Wonderful, practically and aesthetically!

Here's a nice model of it in Meccano. There was a terrific architect's model of it in the exhibition centre, and I plan on making a moving model using some of the ex-school Fischer Technic John gave me this summer.

pics to follow -(they're on non-digital and on mate's camera)

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

5 days of biking - East Anglia, round Scotland and back

(John and the bikes at a really nice little kiosk at Felixstowe seafront a few weeks ago.)

This time next week I will have completed the first of five days with my mate and fellow-holidaying-teacher, John. We are counting down the days. On Sunday we are doing oil and filter changes, etc, test packing the bikes and planning our routes.

When we get back I am off to Sywell to learn to fly.
All in all, it is going to be a great summer!