East* of Eden

June 13, 2018

For those of you awaiting with bated breath to find out whether I chose to risk cycling the A701 to Eden, or indeed whether I survived, you may breathe out – apologies for leaving you all in suspense, but an unlucky lightning strike on Saturday took out our phone line and internet and we only got it back yesterday.

This enforced digital detox did not exactly bring out my best self, but hey ho. Anyway, it did tip the balance towards cycling to Eden, because what else was I going to do at home? And besides, it was a nice morning

view on the road

In the end 90% of the ride was just lovely. Avoiding the A701 for most of the way meant lots of zigzagging back and forth and a fair bit of unnecessary up and down but the day was warm and not too windy, the roads were quiet and it was pleasant to be out on the bike exploring new places.

road not takensignpost

Including the intriguingly named Murder Loch … a story there, surely?

Murder loch

“There’s been a murrrrder …”

As I approached the point where I had no choice but to join the A road, the gathering clouds started to feel a bit like a harbinger of doom, but in the end the mile or so was … doable. On the plus side the tarmac was lovely and smooth and flat all the way to the edge, and the lanes were reasonably wide so the fact that many of the drivers passed me without crossing the white line didn’t feel quite as threatening as it does on our B road where the road edge is crumbling and steeply cambered. On the other hand, with everyone doing at least 60, and only one driver bothering to wait before passing me until it wasn’t a blind bend, it did feel all a bit too high stakes for me. Uninviting, to say the least. Unsurprisingly, the festival itself looked like a giant car park, which is effectively what it was.

gathering clouds

When I got to Eden, it turned out that the gathering clouds were in fact a harbinger of rain. Fortunately I had got to the backstage area by there where we had a nice tent (even if it did have a stream running through it after a while). We sang, we had more people watching us at the end than we did at the beginning, and it was an enjoyable enough experience.

backstage watching the rain

There was no bike parking, but I think the bike enjoyed its access-all-areas luxury covered spot just behind the stage. Hopefully it won’t go to its head…

bike back stage

Personally, as soon as we were done, I was ready to leave, so I wheeled the bike back through the crowds and was happy to get out on the open road, especially once I’d turned off the main road and was back on my own. Even a little rain couldn’t dampen my enjoyment.

road home

I think I can now safely tick off ‘go to a music festival’ as an experience I have tried and won’t be hurrying to repeat. Who knows, I might even try oysters next, but I doubt that they will beat the pleasure of finally tearing into one of those Snickers bars on the bench at home, with 40 miles in my legs and a well-earned cup of coffee on the side.

On Friday we set off for an even bigger adventure, of which more tomorrow.

* Well, more like South West of, but what does Steinbeck know?