Monthly Archives: April 2015

Itinary, packing and sickness update

The trip looms ever closer and in the last week I have had 3 itinaries arrive by e mail and post.  One for my flights with etickets, one for the marathon part of the trip and a third for the Vietnam part all of which encouraged me to start packing and list writing.  I have nearly everything ready to go in my bag and it does not look like a lot for a month of course I dont have a dinner suit requirement!  
It has been a week since I first had a suspicion that all was not well GI wise things are getting better but with a diet of rice cakes, pureed bananas, peppermint tea and actimel I have been feeling really lack lustre with the result that hardly any training has been done 67 miles on the bike and only 13 miles running not good with the great wall marathon 17 days away.


Poleaxed by Malaria

As my trip draws close my thoughts turned to vaccinations!  I looked out previous vaccination certificates for travel to Mexico and Venezula and found that some of them were still in date.  Great I thought.  I then turned to Mr Google to see what I might need for China and Vietnam.  Mainly due to the activities I was undertaking and, expecially in Vietnam, the areas I was travelling through the picture was rather confusing.  I decided to go to my local doctors surgery.

The receptionist informed me that I had to complete a form and hand it, along with £10 back in at the surgery and after 3 days I would get a phone call to let me know what was required. £10! another hidden cost but little did I know worst was to come!  I completed the form and duly handed it in.  The next working day I was called by the nurse that had examined my forms, she wanted clarification about the areas I was travelling in in Vietnam!  After a discussion I was informed that I needed various vaccinations as well as Malaria tabs.

The NHS did not provide one of the vaccinations which was for a disease endemic in Vietnam nor do they provide anti malaria tabs so I was given a number for a private clinic.  I made a appointment at the clinic and after handing over a healthy wadge of cash left with a sore laft arm clutching a box of Doxycycline capsules and 5 caps to try to check for side effects.

I got the injection just over 10 days ago on a thursday so I gave it the weekend to let any effects from that clear and begun the 5 caps on Monday 20th.  By Weds evening my tumy was feeling really quite delicate and overnight and into Thurday morning things got worse with regular visits to the loo.  It is now Saturday 25th I finished the tabs yesterday and have continued to have GI distress!  Thank goodness for the 5 trial caps.  I will call the Travel Clinic on Monday and ask thier advice, no doubt thay will have a more expensive replacement for me to try!

A trip to Cramond Island

Today (22nd April) Carol and I took a train and bike journey to Cramond Island. Cramond Island is a small island in the Firth of Forth at Cramond Village reached by a causeway during low tide.  The attraction at Cramond Island is the proliferation of wartime buildings and emplacements from two world wars.  Unfortunately the buildings, indeed the whole island has been vandalised and mistreated by miscreants!

The buildings have been vandalised and used for some very doubtful activities the whole Island looks like it becomes the home of weekend campers and not very sober or tidy ones at that.  There is evidence of signage and information boards but unfortunately they no longer exist.

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We took the train from Kirkcaldy to Dalmeny and headed to Cramond using main and estate roads.  We had to get there as soon as we could as we needed to get there during low tide.  It was a great day and we made really good time covering about 8 miles in 45 mins.  The obligatory ice cream van was at the end of the causeway and we locked the bikes up and treated ourselves to a cone and walked across the causeway to the Island. After our visit to the Island we headed to a favourite wee cafe on the River Almond the Falls Cafe for some refreshment.  The bike path up by the Almond is really good with the exception of two rather large flights of stairs which require negotiating.  When we got to Cramond Brig we headed down a path we had not been on before a habit of ours which sometimes pays rich dividends with museums discovered, views seen and cafes found!  However this particular road took us back onto the estate and we continued on our way heading for the Forth Road Bridge.  We rode along South Queensferry high st and up onto the FRB unfortunately the west side of the bridge was closed so we could not get photos of the new bridge under construction.  We crossed the bridge and headed to Inverkeithing Station and home.  Another good day on the bikes.

The three P’s-Plants, Punctures and Planks.

Last year when I bought the flat I bought and planted a number of plants.  Not being green fingered and previously responsible for the demise of at least 3 bonsai trees I did not hold put much hope for their survival but as you can see they are thriving and add much colour to the back garden.  This year I have planted two troughs of strawberries we’ll see how they survive!



Having gone without a puncture for quite a while both Carol and I got 1 within a week of each other.  Carols was caused by a thorn on our last off-road ride together it just happened to find its way past the tread and right into the soft underbelly of the tyre.  The bike was put away at the end of the ride and it was only the next day she realised that she had a puncture!   Mine was on the road bike a pinch puncture caused by a pothole which went down straight away and was fixed by the side of the road.  They are not a big deal just inconvenient and messy, easily fixed and wheels back on the bikes for our next ride together.

As fitfifertraining I started a plank challenge on my FB page, 3 sessions a day increasing in duration a new plank every 3 days the challenge lasting for 33 days.  The plank is a great core exercise and so easy to carry out with literally just enough space to lie down in being all that us required.  Everyone should be doing them!!

An MTB ride from Leven to Muddy Boots Balmalcolm

Fife has a load of paths called the core path network They are well publicised and maps are free to print from the net.  A site details latest closures or diversions.

With maps 27 and 43 in my grubby little paws Carol and I headed from Leven to Muddy Boots on the MTB’s.  We left from the Broom and headed up the Kennoway road taking path 375 from Wester Durie to Bonnybank.  In by the Inn and onto paths 377 to Balgriebank and 267 to Devon Wood and Clatto Hill this is the worst stretch as the ground is v rutted and muddy not deal for biking!  A nice descent from Clatto Hill leads you to Clatto farm and onto a road for a short distance.  Into  the left following signs for Burnturk.  You go by Downfield and Middlefield cottages once more on a minor road for a short time till you come into Burnturk village.  From Burnturk you take the path from Kettlehill and Airdits farm this path leads you straight into the back of Muddy Boots.

A good ride of 9.7 miles with just over 1000 ft of climbing.  We returned using a mix of roads and paths.

Book review Cycling back to happiness

Written by Bernie Friend I purchased this book as it was the only account I could find of someone cycling the North Sea Trail.  Unfortunately it did not leave me very happy.  I found reading this book to a total chore and not an enjoyable one.  There were spelling and grammar mistakes that one just does not expect to find in a published volume.  The author had a habit of using strange phrases when describing events and was often lost in describing or bemoaning his paranoia.

Published by pen press and with excellent reviews from the likes of Cycling world, London Cyclist and Adventure travel mag  I’m afraid it’s going in the bin!

An MTB ride from Waverley to Haymarket 34 miles.

It was the last week of the Fife school holidays and Carol and I headed for them thar hills!  We got the train into Edinburgh and exiting Waverley station headed for Holyrood Park and the Innocent railway.

We followed NCR 1 past Bingham and Newcraighall joining the River Esk cycle route heading for Dalkeith.  In Dalkeith the NCR1 comes to an abrupt end due to the new borders railway and we ended up going through Dalkeith on the main road and crossing the A7 on a footbridge.  The route now heads towards Bonnyrigg and Rosewell you pass the old Bonnyrigg railway station as most of the route you have been on were railways this shouldnt come as a surprise!  The next landmark on the route is Auchendinny tunnel we headed through the tunnel and up a slope towards Glencorse and the A702.  Imagine my surprise when it was the A701 a quick backpedal and we got back to Glencorse and headed north for the A702 and the Flotterstone Inn. Heading past the Flotterstone Inn we followed the road to the reservoir and headed off up the hill towards Currie.  The weather had not been kind and we were both tired from heading into the wind we decided t push the bikes up the hill, half way up we stopped for some food.  We got to the col and started the descent down to Currie and the Water of Leith path.  We got on the path and followed it till we joined the Union canal.  We followed the Canal towpath and at Harrison Park East came off the towpath and wound our way through the streets to Dalry Road and down to Haymarket station.

A hard ride on a cold windy day.  The majority of the route was on good surfaces with only the short foray into the Pentlands causing any trouble.   Total distance 34.3 miles with 1889 ft of climb.