Last Saturday I took a train from Selhurst to Milton Keynes and started cycling back home. (At the moment you can get 15% off off-peak Southern tickets when you buy them at least 2 hours before travel, online.) I’d been thinking about doing that cycle since the Milton Keynes Mapping Party back in May last year.
The first part across Milton Keynes to the Grand Union Canal, and then down to Leighton Buzzard went fairly well as the towpath is paved and some of it is part of the National Cycle Route 6. South of Leighton Buzzard however, the towpath turned to grass and for some of it mud. There were patches where it was paved nicely. There was one point the mud had got so bad I had to stop to clean the bike.
Heading through Berkhamstead there were some birds that really didn’t like anyone going along their path, so had to hop off the bike and walk around them.
Past the M25, and almost into Watford and I find another pile of mud in the path, so I stop to take a look at TrackMyJourney’s map viewer to see if there is an alternative route that may be better. Via the help of the OpenCycleMap (from within TMJ), I seen that there was the National Cycle Network Route 61, that hopefully would have been less muddy. About to move off and notice I had a puncture. So instead of trying to fix in the dark, with a muddy bike to hinder things, I decided the best option was to push the bike to Watford Junction station to get the train home and deal with the puncture once the mud had dried a bit, thus the mud would flake off.
Also on the way to the station pushing the bike I manage to map a couple of missing street names, post boxes, benches, bike parking and found a street name that was mis typed into OSM.
After the first attempt, I found that I had a slow puncture. It was another puncture elsewhere in the tube rather than the repair failing. It was a total of just shy of 40 miles, which is about half of the distance I was expecting to do. Considering that I’ve been doing very little cycling at the start of this year due to the bike being serviced from the accident at the end of last year, and the not so great weather, it’s not too bad. I suppose I’ll have to just postpone my annual maddly long first long cycle of the year until March. I also got a bunch of nice photos to add to the CycleStreets Photo Map, and test a new method that makes it faster to import photos from Flickr. This will mean that there will be photos of the route, when someone plans a journey that takes part of the route that I took.
Last Thursday I was in Stirling for a presentation in the morning. I took the train out, so that I was able to be out there for the start of the presentation at 9:30. Unfortunately as I was travelling before 10am and it was not yet July or August, I had to pay the full fare of £5.80, rather than get a third off with the Young Person Railcard. I’ll need to keep in mind that for the next 2 months, I’ll be able to get the discount even when travelling before 10am Monday to Friday.
After the presentation finished at lunch time I cycled to Glasgow for a Scotlug meeting
, where there was a presentation by Chris Fleming
. It took about 5 hours, including some time for a few breaks. Unfortunately there was some rain showers on the last half of the Cycle from Stirling to Glasgow. At one point it was so heavy that I decided to hide under one of the bridges that go over the Forth and Clyde Canal to let the heaviest of the rain to pass over.
As it had been so wet, I decided to take the slow train home, otherwise I would have cycled through the night back to Edinburgh.
Yesterday I cycled 140KM (87 miles). I first headed out to Balerno along the Lanark Road, where I joined the National Cycle Route 75. I followed it as best as I could all the way into Glasgow. Along the Clyde I switched over the the National Cycle Route 7, which took me out to Bowling, where I took a break at the Bowling Basin/Harbour. Bowling is where the Forth and Clyde Canal joins the River Clyde.
Unfortunately I managed to get 2 punctures from the rim side of the inner tube. The first around Coatbridge I managed to fix. After that I got all the way to Bowling and then start heading back along the Forth and Clyde canal. At the towpath access point for Kilsyth and Croy I got a second puncture in another place again on the rim side of the tire. I tried to fix it, but as soon as I got it all back together, I start to hear a high pitched whistle coming from where I just fixed the puncture. The tire was flat within minute. It was getting dark and it was still about another 20 miles to Falkirk, so I decided to head to Croy station and get the train from there back home for £6.05.
It wasn’t all that bad, it seems to be the second most I have cycled in one day. Maybe I’ll get around to doing the trip again and set myself a new record for how far I can cycle in one day.
Some photos of my trip
Maps of the trip (in 4 sections):
Edinburgh -> Livingston
Livingston -> Puncture Repair 1 (Coatbridge)
Puncture Repair 1 (Coatbridge) -> Bowling
Bowling -> Kilsyth/Croy on Forth and Clyde Canal