Hill climbing cycling in the Scottish Borders with some Cycling Buddies
I’d decided that I’d gone for enough cycles where I’d concentrated on raising my general cycling endurance on long flattish runs. I was beginning to wear grooves into my favoured Forth Valley route round to Kincardine Bridge. Now it was time to tackle some hills (God help me).
I queried some friends, Anna and Robin McBride, if they knew of a good route to get me going, and agreed to hook up with them for a Scottish Borders mystery tour…and boy, I’m really glad I did.
Anna’s a professional photographer, and you can have a look at some of her work here. The route they took me was certainly very scenic.
Fantastic introduction to the rolling hills of the Scottish Borders
First off, the weather was fantastic, cycling for only the second time this year in shorts and t-shirt for the entire day. Gorgeous.
Secondly, the route was fantastic – we rolled around the landscape on minor roads, up and down hills, through the towns and villages of Auchendinny, Penecuik, West Linton, Romannobridge, Eddlestone, Temple, Carrington, and Roslin and Bilston. I took in the views of the Gladhouse reservoir too. Lovely all around.
Thirdly, we stopped and had a lovely plate of soup and cuppa tea at an excellent teashop just north of Eddlestone on the A703, and…
Lastly, and not insignificantly, I had the benefit of Robin and Anna’s company, chatter and windcover protection as we meandered around the route. For someone who has cycled alone for a major proportion of the time, this was so helpful and uplifting for a couple of reasons.
Robins bike was a dark coloured titanium ultra modern frameset with hi-spec components – I decided it was the dark and forboding Darth Vader performance Tie fighter of our little group.
Anna’s bike was a reasonably lightweight tourer, very good spec and with mudguards and pannier – It is quite typical of what you might see getting cycled around on the open road.
I have to say, however, that my little Claud Butler still had a slenderness and classic look to it that made it stand out. The paint colour helps it stand out too. I verbalised this to both Anna and Robin and was very pleasantly surprised when they agreed that it had a “je ne sais quoi” classic elegance that was easy on the eye. Wish I’d taken a photo of the three bikes together to show you what I mean.
Good points to cycling in good company
1. Robin set a good pace – not too fast, but fast enough that I had to push myself on the uphill sections to keep up.
2. Having their company and a chance to chat was good for my spirits when tackling the uphill sections. I think that left to my own devices, I’d have chickened out of pushing up the hills and keeping on at a good pace. The urge to just settle down and plod around would have been hard to resist with achy legs.
3. The chance to ride in a group helped me appreciate the wind protection benefits of riding in the pelaton – a chance to relax and enjoy the ride instead of constantly pushing ALL of the time.
So thank you guys! – it was a really good start to my next stage of my cycling development.
The trip today was a decent 62.39 miles with 1939ft of uphill climb over the course. I even managed an average speed of 15.9mph, completing it in 3hrs 56mins cycling time.
For a detailed map of the route and a section of the hill profile – check the link below.
With one month to go however – I need to get cracking……..
Bike development notes
Finally got one bottle holder installed on the bike – a lovely colour matched metallic blue frame on the handlebars, old school style. Still got another to fix, but its getting a bit crowded at the top of the handlebar stem. I was cramping up from lack of liquids by the time I finished so I really DO need the two bottles on a 60-80 miler, however, regardless of stops. It was also hotter in the sun…..something I’m just not used to, obviously!
Also had some creaking noises from the pedal crankshaft, so getting it serviced straight away – straight in to the Bike Shed – no messing. Not going to chance ruining the ball bearing support of the most major component on the bike.
Thinking I need to tackle some of the scratches and rust spots on the bike…..how the hell am I going to get a colour match on a 40 year old metallic aquamarine paint finish? uh….got any suggestions?