Today, I was intending to cycle from Edinburgh to Berwick-upon-Tweed and back. Unfortunately on leaving the lights a Regent Road to head down on to London road, my gears started making a grinding noise.
Gears 5-8 all made a horrible noise. Luckily I still had gears 1-4, though unfortunately I had a top speed of only about 15 miles per hour, which is way too slow when on the road. I cycled down to Halfords at Seafield to see if they could see what the problem was. One of the guys at the BikeHut took a look and said that I could either wait about 10 days for a gear service (£14.99), or replace the gear cable myself, which probably would be the problem (£1.99).
The old gear cable has had one of the strands lose in parts of the cable. However the change of the cable hasn’t made the noise go away. So it seems that the gear unit will need to be opened for an half yearly service. I also need to get a new chain and front cogs for it too some time soon. 🙁
At least I did manage to do some more mapping for OpenStreetMap.org, so it wasn’t a completely wasted journey.
One of the great things about being on a push bike, is that you can ignore “Road Closed” signs, instead of taking a long diversion. In this case, a bridge on the National Cycle Network was getting replaced. Though there was a temporary scaffold bridge available for use by cyclists and pedestrians.
Parts of the journey were quite tough, even so they were downhill on quiet roads, there was a strong head wind. At Innerleithen, I stopped for a short break to grab a pizza, so that I would have enough energy to get back home. From there the cycle route starts heading east to Galashiels and Melrose.
After Melrose, I decided it would be better to head back home rather than continuing south on the national cycle network. At that point I seen a distance sign that said that Edinburgh was 39 miles away on the A68. At that point I predicted that I’d be home some time between 12 midnight and 1 am.
As I was heading up the first part of the A68, which was quite a bit of uphill, I was starting to extend my prediction as to the estimated time of arrival home. However the downhill at the other side made up for the extra time to get up the hill, with me arriving home around quarter past midnight. 96 miles in 9 hours 45 minutes is pretty good, with a few breaks. It is however only a third of the speed required for setting some UK Road Records.
On Friday I went along to the monthly Critical Mass again.
I managed to arrive just in time this month for them setting off from the foot of the Mound at 6pm. This month seems to have been busier that the previous two months. There was about 44-55 people on their bikes there.
This month there was no major problems. Unfortunately at a few points there motor vehicle getting into the middle of the group, but we managed to sort that out quite quickly. Also on our way up Leith Street, when we were stopped at the traffic lights, there was two police cars coming up behind us with their sirens blaring and lights flashing. Unlike motor vehicles, we were able to rapidly shift over to one side of the road and on the pavement and let them past.
In true Critical Mass style at the last minute, we decided to head to an off-licence and then the Meadows for the after cycle drink and chat instead of the usual trip to The Peartree pub.
On Thursday evening, I took the train over to Glasgow for the Scotlug meeting. There was an interesting presentation about phidgets. Afterwards I went along with the other geeks to the pub to grab something to eat and have a natter. I’ve even now seen an iPhone (not just in pictures), though not yet had a chance to play with one.
After 11pm, I set off back to Edinburgh. On my bike. I could have taken the train, but that would have cost more and I was needing the challenge of cycling over night home.
I headed North from George Square to the Glasgow spur of the Forth and Clyde Canal. I then followed the Forth and Clyde Canal, the whole way to the Carron Sea Lock, where I then hit the road for the rest of the way home (except the cycleway parallel to the A90 from Dalmeny to the Crammond Brig pub, where cyclists are not allowed on the trunk road).
By the time I was nearing South Queensferry, first light was starting to show. See the picture below, where you can just about make out the towers of the Forth Road and Rail Bridges.
The journey took 5 hours, and was about 53 miles in length. It’s not very often you’ll see me arriving home at 4:20 am.
The greatest thing about cycling at night is that the roads are really quiet, especially after 1am. It also makes cycling on the bigger roads a lot easier, and saves you from having to use the quieter and hillier routes. It can also be faster as you don’t have to deal with other traffic or air turbulence caused by other traffic.
I’d be quite happy to do it again, as long as I don’t need to get up the next day before lunch time.
Many people have commented on the various day cycling trips that I’ve taken. However yesterday when shopping, I found someone who has been doing a lot more cycling than myself. He took the train from Cambridge up to Inverness. Then he started cycling and camping rough. That was two months ago.
He was taking everything he needed in panniers on his bike. He was looking at doing around 50 miles each on the way back down to Cambridge.
See the attached photo of his bike with the panniers full.
On Friday I headed to the Edinburgh Critical Mass again. It was a lot busier than last month, which meant that it was better perceived by the public.
As the route of the Critical Mass is not predefined, it is very easy to change the route. When we tried to turn right from Princes Street into North Bridge, no vehicles were allowed, so instead we headed down Leith Street.
Last Night I took a cycle out to Prestonpans. I then took the train to North Berwick for £2.50, and cycled all the way back to Edinburgh.
I was originally going to cycle to North Berwick, though unfortunately I had a head wind, which would have meant I would have missed the last train from North Berwick towards Edinburgh. The route that I changed to was also cheaper, because if I had gone all the way to North Berwick to take the train back, I would have taken the train all the way back to Edinburgh. That would have cost nearly twice as much.
I have also got the North Berwick branch line and the coast road into Edinburgh mapped on to OpenStreetMap.org. The signal of the GPS on the train wasn’t perfect the whole way
Yesterday I cycled in the Edinburgh Critical Mass.
The idea about Critical Mass is to raise awareness of cycling. A large group of cyclists just get together and cycle around a city as a group. It is completely unorganised except the starting location and time. No route is planned in advance. Anyone in the group can decide to take the lead and the route is chosen on the fly by consensus. In Edinburgh, on the last Friday of every month at 17:30 for 18:00 set off, a bunch of cyclists get together at the the foot of the mound beside the National Galleries of Scotland. The cycle takes around an hour or two.
On Wednesday I cycled about 36 miles from Edinburgh to Dunbar in just over 2 hours. The tail wind and my significant amount of recent cycling helped with the short duration. I lazily took the train back.
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.