Book Review-Dividing the Great

A page turner by John Metcalfe.  This is the story of the authors trip down the Great Divide from Roosville in Canada to Antelope Wells in New Mexico a 2500mile mountain bike route which he completed with his long suffering friend JK.

Witty and well written the book has the right balance of stats and descriptive narrative.  The writer manages to give a daily account of social, economic, historical and geographic facts.

Describes potential problems you might encounter if you fancy tackling the route.

A great read.

Shoe review-Brooks Neuro

I wont bore you with the technical details you can get all that from Brooks lets look at the important things!

Looks:  A bright pair of shoes.  Not in the fluorescent all over way but a pink diamond pattern almost resembling snake skin! Black laces with web straps rather than lace holes.

Fit: I went for the woman’s eight,  oops that might have something to do with the pink colour then!!, Brooks have been wide on me in the past and a mens nine is too big so I decided to try a woman’s eight and although the fit is too tight with thick socks they fit really well with a thin pair on.  The uppers almost wrap themselves around my feet.

The run: Light and agile with the sole pods providing plenty of power transfer.  The sole is similar to the old Reebok soles.  Not a shoe to take off road or even on tony paths as stones get picked up in the sole unit.

Verdict: Good shoes doing the rounds on sale at he mo grab a bargain!

Urban cyclery.

Taking bikes to a Jean Michel Jarre gig might not be the first thing that pops into your mind but with gig tickets and 2 nights hotel booked it seemed like an ideal opportunity to explore some of Glasgow on two wheels.

Carol and I travelled by train to Glasgow Queen Street and then onwards to our hotel in the West End by a very effective protected bike lane which took us through the traffic and over the motorway system safely and efficiently.  Before heading for our hotel we nipped into the Siempre bike cafe on Dumbarton road to while away some time till book in.  We had checked with the hotel that they had storage for bikes and this was in the main corridor under a cctv camera which, by the markings on the wall was a pretty regular occurrence.   With bikes stowed and after a wash and change we headed out for food and the Hydro which was just a short walk away.  Whilst browsing the net for food outlets in the vicinity I came across Fanny Trollopes literally 200yds from the front door of our hotel, Fannys it was. Advertising a two course pre theatre dinner for £15 I would happily have paid double for the food.  It was excellent.  No use describing what we had here as the menu changes on a frequent basis but suffice to say even if you think you know what you are getting it will be different with some twist to the flavour.  The gig at the Hydro was amazing and JMJ in his seventies still has the energy and passion he showed at the Docklands in the 80’s.

After a not too heavy breakfast served efficiently and quickly by the staff in the Sandyford we climbed on our bikes and headed back to the Hydro and the Clyde walkway.  This had been work in progress when I did my LEJoG and although some stretches were still undergoing work had vastly improved in the 3 years since I had last been thru.  We followed the walkway out to Clydebank and Dalmuir where we had a break for a cuppa mainly to warm ourselves up as a slight rain was falling.  We had lunch booked at The Ubiqitous Chip in the Centre so after tea we headed back to the centre but along the F. C Canal.

WE followed the canal back towards the centre, through the Botanic Gardens and into Ashton Lane and the Ubiqitous Chip.  Unlike Fannys this was booked on purpose and features in Peter Irvine’s Scotland the Best.  Soup and an open sandwich was the order of the day here and the results are shown below.  Another gem of a place!

After lunch we headed back to The Sandyford.

We had return tickets for the train but decided to bike down the Canal to Lenzie or Croy and catch the train from there.  So we headed back to the Canal via the River Kelvin and the Botanic Gardens and headed NE first then due East along a well tarmaced canalside path.   We stopped at a canalside pub for a cuppa and sheltered under an umbrella from the rain. Then continued on towards Lenzie.  We left the canal at Kirkintilloch and picked up a cycle path near the marina from there it was simply a case of following signs to the station.  On the way there we cycled across a nature reserve and through a wood both of which even in the rain were very pleasant.

We now begun a tour of Central Scotland’s lesser known rail stations from Lenzie to Larbert where we changed to get our train to Edinburgh and were told in no uncertain terms by a surly rail guard to move our bikes two carriages down as the bike storage was full.  We would have done this anyway. But a smile doesn’t hurt does it!!

Totals for the weekend were 30 miles 530 feet climbed in 3h 27.  Not great distances but the whole point of the trip apart from JMJ obviously was to do some biking in Glasgow. 

A-Z race review K for Kielder

Kielder a local race compared to China and Berlin and with a plea for car sharing by the organisers I decided that it could be done in a day.  I managed to get a lift thru FB and rose at 4am Sunday and headed for Rosyth and my ride south.

Numbers were sent out by mail along with a 4 page guide which included a route map but no route profile.  WE arrive at the village of Falstone and after some food and drink and the almost inevitable pit stop we headed for the buses. 

The buses took the full marathon runners to the start at Leaplish waterside park, there were marquees available for bags, massages and food and drink with a wandering MC doing a fine job.  The announcement came over the tannoy for runners to head to the start which was published as being at 10:15 but ended up starting at 10:30.

The course heads north out of the park and heads around the lake.  It was a dry warm day and the trails were in excellent condition.  The course undulated all the way round the lake with a couple of larger lumps and some sharp bends.  There were drinks stations approx every 5K with isotonic drinks being provided from 15K there was no food available.

At the end of the race you got a medal and a shirt then a goody bag with drinks and a muffin.  There was also bananas available.

After the race it was back on a bus to the village and the journey home.

Not a race I would like to do again. Time was 4:53:49 442nd overall.

Double decker trains, Swiss efficiency and the Lake Geneva Shoreline

Today truly is Trains, Planes and Automobiles.  Four trains changing at Interlaken, Speiz and Visp arriving at Geneva for my 14:10 flight to Edinburgh then drive home.

The Swiss rail system from its app to travel is an amazing organism.  Everything interacts.  The app gives you all the changes that you need to do to get to your destination the arrival platform and departure platform is listed and when you get on the trains especially the more modern ones a screen details the journey for you with arrival times of the stations and if that wasn’t enough on the way out it shows the connecting trains.  I didn’t have a bike with me this journey but cyclists are well catered for even on the Inter country trains. Train I had chosen this time was going around the other side of the lake and we were soon picking up customers at a rather famous train station well if you are of a certain musical bent! 

 I arrived at the Airport with enough time to get some food before my departure which was a few minutes late but made the time up.  An uneventful flight followed and I was in Edinburgh in no time.  THe drive to the Forth road bridge at 6 pm was another matter

Post Jungfrau post.

A bit of a restless night and one of the disadvantages of being near the rail station is the noise when the first trains begin at about 0600.  My legs felt stiff when I woke up but surprisingly no m ore than they would feel normally.  I got out of bed and made my way downstairs to the toilet without the post marathon hobble!  After a shower I felt good as new and had a very light breakfast and set off to hire a bike for the day.

I hired a BMC 29er from Imboden bike just up the road from the hostel.  The staff at the shop gave me some suggestions for rides and provided me with a map.  Off I went.

I headed out to the Schilthorn cable car station and took the cable car up to Gimmewald a very short journey which took me up about 400 m.

Leaving Gimmelwald I headed for Murren and found a sandwich and a coke with my name on it.  The day was heating up and with the climbing involved there wasn’t much chance of cooling down.  All the trails are well marked with timings given for walking between villages.  Leaving Murren I headed for Wintereggand then Grutschalp.  The trails up until then had been quite good but things began to get a bit more technical between Grutschalp and the turn off for Sulwald.  I reached the turn off and headed up the 2.7k climb to Sulwald basically so I could come down it again!and what a descent it was all the way back to Lauterbrunnen via Isenfluh and fly I did.

After arriving back at Lauterbrunnen I headed for the campsite shop to get some food for the evening.  Unfortunately it was not open and  didn’t. open for 15 mins just enough time for a beer.

Book review-The Hungry Cyclist Tom Kevill-Davies

A Transamerica journey with a twist, the author decided to cycle from New York to Rio De Janerio in search of the perfect meal.

A quest undertaken on his own and through some dangerous countries in common with books of this genre he describes notable encounters and events on his joiurney.  One reason why I never get fed up reading this type of book is each one truly is different.

As he progresses on his journey hee thoughtfully provides recipes of meals he has tried and enjoyed although I dont know how my local pet shop would take it if I asked for two guines pigs to go!

An enjoyable read I wont spoil it for you by revealing the perfect meal.