Thursday, 5 May 2011

Pentlands trial run

I thought it would be a good idea to load the bike up with all the kit and have a trial run before the epic adventure of North America. So on Tuesday I set off for a short 20 mile trip to the Pentland Hills on the outskirts of the city.

Though it was a glorious sunny day it wasn't warm by any means, but luckily I had the wind at my back. Setting off for the first time with 25kg of kit strapped to the 17kg bike, things were a bit wobbly. The smallest of hills saw me changing down a few gears and crawling along. The odometer on the handle bar was rarely going past 5 miles per hour.

As the miles were eaten up my average speed doubled and the handling of the bike improved. Edinburgh is built on a series of hills and it felt like on this particular day they had all joined up and I was continually climbing. This was good practice I kept telling myself.

I stopped every now and then to break out the video camera and film either myself talking nonsense, in what they call a piece-to-camera, or I'd set the camera up at the side of the road, run back to the bike, then cycle past.

By mid afternoon, after a total cycle time of just under two hours, I reached the end of Loganlea reservoir in the hills and set up camp for the night. The rest of the day was spent trying out the tech equipment, such as the computer, the Kindle book etc, before tucking in to a bowl of noodles and lamb casserole.

The following day I had to rise very early in order to break camp and cycle back into Edinburgh city for a university course I attend every Wednesday. At 6am the first of the days light touched the top of the tent signalling it was time to get up.

I stuck my head out of the tent only to find everything covered in a thick frost and the bike was completely white. After a good bowl of porridge I was nicely warmed up and quickly packed the kit, struck the tent and set off by 8am along the shores of Loganlea and Glencorse Reservoirs for what would mostly be a downhill run.

There wasn't a breath of wind as I cycled out of the hills, past the moored fishermen's boats, new born lambs bounding about, a dipper in the stream having an early morning wash, a heron waiting patiently and motionless and a family of geese with new borns borns waddling after their mum.

Just over one hour later I was in the centre of the city and downing a well deserved latte at Starbucks, well in time for uni.

Lots of little problems and enjoyable moments of living in a tent were highlighted by doing this all important trial run, but one thing stood out among all others: as I lay there in my tent, tightly bundled up in my sleeping bag, I was happy in the knowledge that being the Pentlands I was not surrounded by bears.

Boy is that about to change!

No comments: