I’d thought about cycling from Edinburgh to Dunbar via the coastal A198, then returning via the almost direct A199. This would have been about 63 miles.
But there were several reason for doing something different:
- the after-bikeability chat meant I didn’t set off until well after mid-day
- by then, I had over 150 unactioned emails, so I wanted to get home before 6pm
- my brother is getting married next week, so I didn’t want to risk damaging myself
- I need some hill-training
So I decided on doing 10 laps of Holyrood park. The 3·3 mile circuit is quite challenging but is maybe the smoothest tarmac in Edinburgh. It also has little traffic, so is often used by roadents who want to push their carbon-fibre street-beasts against gradient and headwind. As ever, I was over-ambitious – I thought I could do 10 laps without stopping, taking around 20 minutes per lap.
Getting there was trivial, albeit sloooooow. I did the first lap in 21 minutes, and stayed in the big ring until lap 5, when I dropped a range to avoid wobbling as a car passed me.
<rant>I’m puzzled by driver behaviour here. The road is narrow, so cars have to be very close if they overtake. If they misjudge or I wobble, I’ll be strawberry jam – and they will lose hours filling in forms, washing off the blood and making up excuses for the dents int heir chrome. There are lay-bys, which are perfect passing places, every few hundred yards. So did the 4-wheeled w***ers wait until I can pull in? Only one did. The others saved themselves a few seconds. Why? If you’re driving around Holyrood Park, you’re not doing an urgent journey, so please slow down and give the wheezing cyclopath a chance to get out of your way!</rant>
Here’s a helmet-video of the first part
I also stopped briefly during that lap for a toilet break and to eat some chocolate. I have two hands, so I can multi-task. I stayed in the big ring for lap 6, then stopped to let Elly know I was safe, check how far I’d done (I thought I’d only done 4 laps, and so doubted whether I’d be able to to do 6 more), put on my overshoes and take in more fuel.
The last four laps were basically torture. The gradients earlier asked me to drop a few gears now asked me to drop a whole range. At some points I feared I’d need to drop into Lev’s smallest range. The headwind on the stretches above Duddingston Loch made even downhill gradients very hard. I had another brief break after lap 8 and then ground my way through the final two. Here’s the cyclemeter map and statistics:
It started to rain just as I finished. I sheltered under the booth next to the carpark entrance, then pottered home. So today I did less than 40 miles, but I’m vaguely pleased that I didn’t stop on any of the slopes except to donate aqueous nitrogen.
And here’s what Lev and I were carrying:
- Frame bag
- energy gel
- spare lights
- Left pannier
- iPad mini
- instructor vest
- pouch containing wallet, pen, medications and sweeteners
- USB charger, adaptors and emergency iPhone
- pistol-grip screwdriver and socket-set
- camera-case containing GoPro camera, battery charger, two charging cables, extra memory cards and card-USB adaptor, headstrap, mounting bolts and adaptors
- 4 pens
- analgesic cream
- Right pannier
- track pump
- Cyclecraft book
- Bikeability level 1 trainer’s guide
- Bikeability level 2 trainer’s guide
- Bikeability level 1 cyclist’s guide
- Bikeability level 1 trainer’s prompt cards (2 copies)
- Bikeability level 2 trainer’s prompt cards
- 12 pairs of gloves, from lightweight fingerless gel mitts, via e-tip and liner gloves to full winter gloves.