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 ‘night-ride’ Category
Cycling in misty or foggy conditions is always something a bit special. The lack of visibility makes things a bit spooky, which is only enhanced in the vicinity of an airport. When you see headlights coming towards you, but hear a ‘place coming in that you can’t see, you start to wonder what tricks your mind wants to play.
Other special bit: riding on an unlit gravel path under trees in the fog for a couple of miles.
Other highlight: seeing your shadow projected onto the mist in front of you by car headlights on full beam.
Other highlight: the Machar, as always.
We were seven at the start. This was a bit longer than usual for a night-ride, so people with work on Friday morning headed for home a little earlier. Five of us made the full loop you see mapped here;
and sprinted up the last hill before the pub.
Well, I said I was looking forward to this one and it well lived up to expectations. We found an unfamiliar and exciting way of covering some well-known ground in superb late-evening sunshine. It made for what I hope was a satisfying farewell for two people who’ve been good friends of beCyCle in the last few months, and who we wish well.
The mood was relaxed at the start;
Someone picked the perfect moment to get a puncture, right at the start of the ride with the workshop handy, and while we were fixing that someone else arrived, bringing the group up to seven, which is a great turn-out for a Summer ride.
We set off along the familiar route out past the Harbour and through Torry to the lighthouse, then on towards Cove: and that’s where it got interesting. Instead of taking the predictable, easy tarmac route along the coast, we instead went for narrow, loose-surfaced, and twisty coastal path. To make it more interesting, six-sevenths of the group were on road bikes with slick tyres. Since it wasn’t so long ago that I used to wonder why everyone except me turned up on mountain bikes for a ride that is usually 100% tarmac, I’m not sure what to make of the fact that now that road bikes are nearly universal, we’ve been getting more and more adventurous when it comes to off-road routes.
It’s a lot of fun and a great technical exercise though, making a bike do something it was never designed for. Describing the joy of riding on this path is a challenge, not made easier by this somewhat blurry attempt to capture the feeling;
And probably not something I can put into words here. But I will remember this as one of the better Night-Rides, and I’d like to think we felt we’d earned the copious Tennent’s with which we celebrated our achievement in the Ferryhill Tavern at the end of the ride.
One last thing: there are those who come who want a faster ride, a slower ride, a longer ride, a shorter ride, a harder ride, an easier ride. Then there are those who come out and enjoy it for what it is, and they end up being the ones who make it what it is. Jez, you were one of those. Thank you, and all the best.
It’s been suggested that the term “evening ride” would be more appropriate. Those of us who were riding all through the winter might feel a slight sense of disapointment at the lack of freezing cold, ice, snow, hail, or sleet, but there are some distinct advantages to summer nights;
– We are in the Northern part of the Northern hemisphere, it’s midsummer next week, and it stays light ’til very late. You didn’t even need lights for about the first half of this ride.
– It was warm, there was a nice sunset, and the view from the top of Brimmond Hill was spectacular.
– You can go for a longer ride. It’s a combination of it being light, warm, and summery, people feel good, you feel like adventuring a bit further than you would on dreary winter’s night.
I can’t wait for next week’s midsummer night-ride.
Well, I seem to recall a certain beCyClist promising faithfully to make a blog post after every single night-ride. It hasn’t quite happened yet, so here is a summary of the night-rides since there was last news on the blog:
rain, hail, sleet, snow, fixed gears, broken chains, extraordinary kindness of strangers, repaired chains, broken bottom brackets (unrepaired), Duthie Park, exploration, fun, beer.
All of which brings us to last night, and the successful third attempt to complete a route that has twice eluded us in the past. We set off North through Bridge of Don and out into the wilds of Aberdeenshire, turning before Newmachar to head into Dyce on the Formartine and Buchan Way, which is not a road and therefore has the advantage of no cars on it to spoil your ride. Heading back to Aberdeen, we stopped for a quick drink at the Masada bar.
See you next week?
So, these rides go on every single Thursday, but it’s a while since there’s been a blog post, so this is by way of putting that right. We were a small but intrepid group this week, thankful that the day’s rain had stopped by the evening. The nights are definitely getting warmer and by staying in tree-lined places we avoided having to deal with the wind, which was moderately strong. Riding down the Deeside line at night with your headlights picking out the trees at the side of the path is something quite special. As is the Old Bank bar in Peterculter and their 2.70 pints of Guiness. We only stopped for one, though, before heading back in along the North Deeside Road and then up the hill to head back in along Countesswells Road, Seamount Road, and Union Grove.
A slightly belated report. A group of eight assembled at Elphinstone lawn. It was a diverse bunch, including novices, touring cyclists, fixed-gear heads, an even a slightly strange wannabe road racer. It was a fun ride through some of the roads less travelled in the centre of Aberdeen and out along the Deeside line, well enjoyed despite, or perhaps because, of some slightly comedic naviagational errors. It all ended happily though, at the Prince Of Wales.