A facebook post led me to writing this. I had things to say, but they extended far beyond what is an acceptable length to a facebook comment, so I apologise only a little bit for going off on one here. It suppose it might mean something for cycling in Aberdeen, and although I no longer live in Aberdeen the topic is one I remain passionate about.
Archive for the ‘news/events’ Category
In the last of these ride reports, I mentioned that we sunbathed with coats on, because this is North-East Scotland. Well, now Summer is here and it works like this: it’s warm enough that, if you wish, you can cycle to the beach in shorts and a short-sleeved top. You carry with you a warm top which you put on when you get to the beach, where there is no shelter from the wind and so it’s colder there.
This Sunday, seven cyclists met at the workshop and rode to Forvie beach, near Newburgh (map and suchlike here). Not far out of Aberdeen we were able to join small back roads, of which Aberdeenshire has many. They are wonderful for cycling; rolling, scenic, and underpopulated by cars (although those that do come along have a way of signaling their presence). Arriving on the North side of the Ythan estuary, a short but enjoyable ride up a gravel rode took us to within walking distance of the beach, across some extensive sand dunes whose flora provided much interest for the two plant biologists in the group. We picniced and sunbathed before setting off for home. This was the moment to discover that the prevailing southerly wind had not deserted us, meaning we would have it in our faces practically all the way home. While this kept the ride’s average speed down, cycling more slowly just means you have more time to look at the scenery, and with patience you reach your destination anyway. We rode the last few miles into town down the dual carriageway, and I was very impressed with the standard of cycling shown by the entire group, from experienced touring cyclists to people on their longest ever ride, everyone stayed on the wheel in front, and this is the way to make sure drivers show you respect and don’t do stupid things while overtaking you.
Sunday at 10 a.m. has become a regular thing over the past month or so. The rides are accessible to all, so if we keep getting the sunny days (or even if we don’t), why not come and join us?
If you look back through this blog you will see some reports of Sunday rides in the past, they are a fairly irregular thing but we like them when they happen. If you’re reading this and would like to join us for something similar in the future, please get in touch.
Seven riders met at the workshop at 11 a.m. sharpish, completely undeterred by the brief but fierce hailstorm at 10:50. It was a sunny but windy day and the wind was blowing these squalls in, but we didn’t care, so we set off Northwards anyway, destination Tolquhon Castle, about 20 miles away. We rode at steady pace to a lunch stop near Newmachar:
At which food and drink were shared. I suspect it was the drink that was shared, more than the food, that contributed to some of the later shenanigins, but before reporting on that I should mention that although the photo above was taken in the idyllic bright sunshine with which we were blessed for most of the ride, about a minute after setting off again we were hit directly by another short but very very sharp hailstorm. Still not to be diverted from our purpose, we continued North along roads coated with the icy water from the newly-melted hail. This stuff is slippery and it caught a couple of riders out, but since no-one was seriously hurt so, still not discouraged, we carried on to our destination. The castle, when we found it, was closed. By this stage, however, we were not in the mood to be put off, and a heavy wooden door of imposing size, firmly locked, was not the sort of obstacle to hold us up for long. They’re a lot easier to open from the inside:
So, we were able to fully explore the castle, including its disappointingly small dungeons. After trying to imagine life in the middle ages for a while, we then sat outside for a very enjoyable phase two of our picnic, and to bathe in the afternoon sunshine (with coats on: this is North-East Scotland):
We avoided a lot of roads and their population of loud and aggressive motor cars on the way home by using the excellent Formartine and Buchan way, a former railway line and very pleasant bike path.
You can see details of the route here:
and we hope to have the pleasure of your company on another such adventure sometime soon.
Tags: breakfast, cider-ride, ride report
Well, Sunday rides have been tried in various forms but we hope this will become a regular thing again. There were three of us this Sunday. Of contributors to this blog, there were the irrepressible cydanil and your correspondent. The former was not in the best of shape, munching croissants and muttering darkly about the lemonades the people he’d been made to drink by the people he’d met the previous evening. Nonetheless, it was a fine sunny morning, and we felt cheerful as we cycled down the coast, so we kept on going, over the ups and down the rather steep downs until we reached the end of the road in the lovely Cove Bay;
But no-one felt like any cider on this particular morning. Instead we attempted a new route back into town, and after getting past some roadworks and a barrier we found it. After that we tried a few back alleys and short cuts on our way back George Street and a well-earned coffee. The sun was still shining.
You can see our route here;
We’ll be meeting at 11 at Castlegate for a repeat performance next week. See you there!
The bicycle as cultural agent. Fantastic book and a great post about it here. Read more. National Geographic‘s Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a Few Flat Tires Along the Way) tells the riveting story of how the two-wheel wonder pedaled forward the emancipation of women in late-nineteenth-century America and radically redefined the normative conventions of femininity.
It was Sunday the sixth of March and Cyril, Ziai, Manuela, Mia, George, Pablo and Cameron assembled at Castlegate with one common goal – to ride to Cove Bay and a bounty of cheap cider.
The first part of the route took them around the Nigg Bay Golf course past the lighthouse. The wind was against the 7 adventurers but they persevered, finally reaching their destination. After emptying the shop of a local delicacy, White Ace, they made their way down to the bay where festivities took place despite the efforts of the breeze.
After this a strange thing happened; The sun, wind, excersise, and cider collaborated to produce some curious behaviour in the 7. Bicycles were used improperly but no lasting harm was done, Cameron’s knees would soon heal.
Next on the agenda was tea, a likely establishment was chosen near the bay and the steaming pots did eventually arrive after an improperly long wait. It is thought that important BeCycle business was discussed at this point, however no records survive.
The brave cyclist’s mission complete, they turned their handlebars homeward and despite an encounter with some cows, made it home safely.
This Sunday, we’re heading north-west to the Loch of Skene.
Here is the draft route, it might change on the road.
Again, get some lunch, it is supposedly sunny, so we will try to have a picnic!
We shall see you on Castlegate at eleven.