Today was one of those days when a few things just came together – a couple of jobs successfully finished and the next one not yet arrived, a decent weather forecast, the looming prospect of six weeks off the bike for me and the distinct danger of employment for the other half – and suggested that now was the time to do a ride that we had been talking about doing all summer – take the train up into the hills and then ride home. Thirty-five miles in total, and a net downhill, although as we learned, roads can go up as well as down.
Once we’d packed the essentials we required for the trip (newspaper, waterproof, puncture repair kit, and map for me, phone, spare inner tube and credit card for the other half, who travels light) we rode to the station, arriving in time to fuel up with egg and bacon rolls and a nice unexpected bonus: free blueberries courtesy of our local guerilla gardening group
Once we’d arrived at Sanquhar and cleared up a little misunderstanding with the other half’s GPS routing app (no, we didn’t want to take a 49 mile detour via the highest village in Scotland, thank you very much) we were off
And very nice it was too.
We stopped for more fuel at a tea-shop-cum-post-office-cum-secondhand-book-shop in a village on the way (where, this being Bigtownshire, I bumped into someone I knew) and worked out our final leg of the route that would supposedly avoid the worst of the contour lines. This turned out to be a bit of a kitten blighter – one of those roads where you turn a corner and realise it kicks up just as you get around the bend.
Worth it though.
It took us an unspectacular 3.5 hours to ride the 27-odd miles home, although that did include the tea break and the time spent reasoning with the satnav. In total we rode about a mile on any road with a number or any white lines down the middle, and the worst hazard was the descent towards the tea shop where the desire for coffee and cake had to be tempered by the coonsil’s habit of spreading loose chippings on any roads where you might want to be able to use your brakes occasionally (and apologies to the Landrover who rounded a bend to find me taking rather a wide line straight towards it in an attempt to keep the bike rubber side down on a particularly loose patch).
We are now installed on a sofa each, and won’t be moving for a while.