Saturday, 31 December 2011

End of year round up!

2011 has been quite a year. It started with snow and ice, went very warm and dry in April and then deteriorated from May right through the summer and autumn with rain and cold weather virtually non stop. Winter began later than last year despite warnings of several feet of snow by the end of October and has alternated up to date between short cold spells and severe gales and rainy spells. The night riding has been a feature this year with the new Magic Shine lights on the bike and the Aye Up helmet lights making things decidedly easier, though I still manage a few offs in the dark! The tinted riding glasses certainly don't help the night time riding so maybe I'll invest in a pair of clear lens ones next year. The overall mileage on the Trek stands at 9764 miles so I'm still on target to hit the 10000 mile mark before the end of February, weather permitting
Happy New Year from Scotland!!

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Mid-day bike ride (makes a change seeing where I'm going)

After yesterdays storm when bike riding would have been impossible it was relatively calm today, that is only a 20mph wind which was kind enough to blow us back up from Harelaw to the saddle. Only mishap today was Dougie having a flat on the descent to Glencorse but that was rectified fairly quickly. There may yet be a video of this descent to put on the blog as Roger had his camcorder today in the hope he'd record me on my backside at some point but sorry to say I managed to remain upright! Sorry, Roger. 24 miles in temperatures hovering around freezing.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

The calm between storms?

Always liked this little bridge, reminds me of the bridge on the willow pattern for some reason.

The sheep obviously can get a bit embarrassed when getting up close and personal.

I never get tired of this view of Glencorse reservoir, especially today when it was dead calm.

The house known as "The Howe" which stands at the top of Loganlea reservoir, a desolate spot on a wild winter's night!

After the last day or two of gale force winds (nothing to do with the brussel sprouts eaten at Christmas) it was a relief to get a wind free day and with a ride planned for tomorrow when another storm is forecast I decided to get out on my own today and attempt to burn off some of the Christmas calories. I did the 25 mile winter route in the Pentlands which doesn't have just as much mud as some other routes but still has a fair bit of climbing. This was a daylight ride, the downside of which is that there's loads of walkers out as well who don't take too kindly to bikers for some reason, (we're probably getting more miles in than them)!
If the weather does turn out crap tomorrow at least I've done something this week!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

The annual Christmas bike ride.

A short break in the ride!

Last years ride never took place due to heavy snow but conditions couldn't have been much different this year with the temperature around 10 degrees C. Keeping riding clothes to the minimum while still remembering its pretty cold higher up at Glentress was quite tricky. Its the first time we've been to Glentress for a few months now and I for one had forgotten how hard the 9 mile climb to the mast on the black route is! We did most of the black, then went back up to the top of the red and finished off with the final descent on the blue. No mishaps, but a close shave here and there, in our 20 mile ride.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Ice cold in Scotland!

A short video clip highlighting my inadequacies as a commentator as we pedalled up towards the descent to Glencorse on Sunday morning!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

This was a morning for ice spikers!

Looking east along Threapmuir reservoir.

The long haul up from Harelaw.

The sun just rising above the horizon at the top of the descent to Glencorse.

There's more than us who are a bit wrong in the head on a winters morning up in the Pentlands, here's a couple of runners we met!

If ever there was a need for studded tyres it was this morning. The snow that fell a couple of days ago had melted slightly and then froze leaving ice everywhere we went this morning. With the temperature at -5c Baz's front and rear derailleurs froze, leaving him pedalling furiously, stuck in a low gear! The average speed today was 6.5 mph not one of our fastest jaunts but the conditions dictated caution, and with dire threats hanging over our heads if we returned with broken limbs we took it easy! 24 cold but enjoyable (and injury free) miles. 

Sunday, 11 December 2011

S'no there anymore....(the snow that is)

This time last week there was about 2 inches of snow, in fact even on Friday night there was snow and ice, but an overnight thaw meant that this morning it was mud instead of ice we were faced with. Temperatures were only a couple of degrees above freezing but it meant no black ice, my worst case scenario, after coming off twice last week. I'm developing an impressive bruise on my arm down from my elbow and if this continues there'll be a picture of that posted up for posterity's sake!
My helmet resplendent with its new lights courtesy of Baz who had an unfortunate incident with some new lights he ordered, (the battery blew up), and managed to blag an extra set of lights out of the supplier if he didn't publicise the fact, it could have ruined the company, so I got an early Xmas present!!
25 miles today and no mishaps to report!

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Wasn't looking good this morning for tomorrows ride.

This was the scene this morning, 3 inches of snow and bitterly cold. Things didn't look promising for tomorrow morning's ride but there's been a partial thaw through the day and we're hopeful we'll get out for our Sunday morning jaunt in the hills!
I was out last night with Dougie and managed my daily over the bars when I caught my handlebars on his back-pack as I attempted to pass him as he held a gate open for me! However, one thing about frequent fall-offs is you learn how to fall off!!! So no harm done and we managed a respectable 24 miles in icy conditions at an average temperature of -4 Celsius, cold enough to freeze my front derailleur and the jockey wheels on the back one. Good night's riding........... Dougie then went off to work night-shift!!!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Ouch!! That was painful!!!

You've heard of knobbly knees, well I've now got a knobbly elbow as a result of a fall on black ice this morning before we'd even reached the hills! the bike just disappeared from under me and I went down quicker than the Titanic, landing on my elbow to the accompaniment of some foul and abusive language!

Barrie sits astride the "throne" after the hard haul up from Harelaw.

It's good to be alive on a fine morning like this!

Off at 6am and immediately Baz and I discovered the roads were icy, Three miles later and I came off  taking a corner at about 3mph on black ice and ended up with an elbow that looks like its got an egg attached to it now!
We ended up having to walk up Castlelaw tar, it was just too icy, but once we got higher up into the hills the covering of snow gave us grip. The average temperature was a couple of degrees below zero for the ride but with plenty layers on we never felt it, 26 miles today, and winter's definitely arrived.