Tag Archives: holiday

Canal des 2 mers test trip.

On the weekend on 4th/5th June Carol and I boarded a train for Falkirk along with our bikes and 5 panniers for a weekend testing kit, bikes and bodies before our trip to France in July.

The kit being tested included my new bike the Genesis Tour de Fer 20, Carols saddle and v expensive Sweaty Betty cycling underwear and her new panniers.IMG_2613

We alighted the train at Falkirk and headed straight for the Union Canal then down to the Falkirk Wheel which Carol had not seen before.  An amazing piece of engineering that transports craft from the Firth and Clyde canal to the Union canal.25321299924_0e5f08625a_z

After some sightseeing and a cuppa we headed out on the Union Canal and the first leg of our journey to Dunbar.  This trip had been chosen to emulate our French trip with the canal being nice and flat and distances being approx the same as those we will travel daily in France.

We had been having some amazing weather and the sun continued shining on Saturday.  The canal and the canal path were both busy with boaters, canoeists, bikers, runners and dog walkers.  Things were going great till just outside Linlithgow when Carol got a puncture.  I had the wheel off in a jiffy and the spare tube out unfortunately I had not packed a pump just as well the path was busy we eventually managed to stop a cyclist with a pump and we were on our way again.  DSC02502

Alas it was not to last long and I found myself on the way to Elevation Cycles in Linlithgow to purchase spare tubes and a pump.  We were on our way again and this time our luck held and we were soon approaching the Canal Basin and food!

Carol had had the forethought to call our B & B and tell them we would be late so we made a little detour to the Filmhouse and had our lunch/tea/supper there!

We were booked in the Preistville near Duddingston chosen for its proximity to the cycle path for next mornings start.  It turned out to be a stunning old house and although it was clearly newly decorated the owners had not changed any of the original features.  We spent a good 30 mins looking at the wall decoration, pictures and letters from bygone days, very interesting.  The room was clean and comfortable with the best tea tray I have ever seen in a room!

After a good nights sleep and a hearty breakfast we were on our way once more heading for North Berwick and Dunbar following the John Muir Way.  This part of JMW is on a mix of surfaces with a lot of it on roads and whilst this is fine for cycling I wouldn’t like to walk it.  DSC02504The route takes you through Prestonpans with the street murals, Cockenzie with the remains of the power station still visible, Gullane famous for it’s golf courses and North Berwick dominated by Berwick Law and where we stopped for a spot of lunch.IMG_2624

After our lunch we got back on our steeds and began the climb out of N Berwick and headed for Carols friends at Canty Bay.  We had seats and bikes booked on the 1930 train from Dunbar so after a cuppa and some home baking we headed for the station.  Time flew by unfortunately we seemed to be getting slower. It was time for some head down and hard pedalling.  We rolled into the station with just under 10 mins to spare.  I checked with the station staff what coach the bikes would be on and was told coach D.

We headed down the platform and noticed another two bikes waiting by the coach D stop.  The train arrived and the other two cyclists got on first, the guard shouted down the platform as the train could only take 3 cycles we explained that we had reservations and the other two cyclists were asked to leave the train.  A bit unfair and the guard could have allowed them on but rules is rules and they left the train!

Totals for the weekend were 83 miles with 1700 feet of climbing.

How successful were we?   Well we (I) need to remember to pack a pump.  The Tour de Fer was great, Carol’s panniers passed the test although the jury is still out on the Sweaty Betty’s and the saddle!.  It is now less than 3 weeks till the Grand Depart and to say we are excited would be a major understatement!


A catch up

Been a while since I put a post up so what’s been happening?

Well today I finished my second week of training for the Jungfrau marathon.  Training is coming along slowly but well.  I have introduced intervals, marathon pace runs and am increasing the distance of my long runs.  All good basic stuff no magic bullets there consistent training is the key.  So what have my stats looked like over the last few weeks?

25/4 Runs:29 miles in 4h 52 with 1500 ft climbing.  Biking 47.5 miles in 4h 28 with 3000 ft climbing.

2/5 Runs 30.5 miles in 4h50 with 3500 climbing biking was 99 miles in 8h 18m with 3500 ft of climbing.

Two good weeks with everything on the up.

Programmes for the EdFoC have been distributed now and bookings have been coming in for my tours.  I even have a honeymooning couple interested!  With less than a month to go I am really looking forward to it.  Other cycling news is that I have finally made it to both Middleden helping with the youngsters and to Talking Tandems a local charity which helps visually impaired people to cycle by providing pilots for tandems.


Planning is finally finished for Carol and I’s trip from the Atlantic to the Med in July and we both can’t wait to start our trip.  We have planned a weekend trip to check all our kit and we have been buying stuff that we need to try out before we get to France.  Our pre trip trip is from Falkirk to Dunbar the first part to Edinburgh along the canal and the second part following the JMW.  Hopefully everything will go well but we will have nearly a month to make any final adjustments to our kit.

Marathon week 3rd August.

Since we returned from Skye Carol and I had been suffering cold symptoms.  Mine seemed to be approx 48 hours behind Carols but were running the same course.  Last week I struggled through 38 miles nearly all easy with 1 set of half mile intervals.  The planned 15 miler was reduced to a ten and I decided to drastically reduce training for the the week prior to the marathon.

The week of the marathon the only other run I did was my Jog Scotland commitment on Thurs evening and we headed down to Ulverston Friday morning 7th August.

Details of the trip and the marathon can be fond on my A-Z marathon page.

Pre Skye week!

Another wee break planned at end of week with Carol this time.  We have rented a cabin in Portree on the Isle of Skye a place we both love.  As is my habit I have been laying an assortment of clothes out all week-biking, running, walking and “day” clothes.

There is still five days of this week to get through however and I have been pretty busy getting the house back in order after my Marmotte break.  My thoughts have also turned to my summerhouse now almost a year old it needs some TLC to help it through the winter.  A closing DIY store has a big sale on so I took myself off up to ir and purhased decking paint and blue and cream wood paint for the shed.  I am going to attempt to paint this on my own!

Training for the week has gone pretty good although not up to the levels I would have liked with a marathon only three weeks away!  I have totalled 25 miles running and 45 biking.  When on Skye I need to get a few runs in over the hour mark.

With the car packed I left the house on Thursday and headed for Carols.

A week of ups and downs

Since my return it’s been a week of ups and downs in more way than one.  The first up and downs were mechanical-two flights and 14 hours to get me home.  Both flights on time and I even managed to grab some sleep.  I was met at the airport by Carol  and we had a very emotional reunion.  I had been away for a month and that was the longest we had been apart since we met.

I had never been that far east before and spent till wednesday getting over  jetlag and resetting my bodyclock.  On Tuesday morning I woke at 3am and after unpacking and clearing up set off on my bike to see if that would tire me out.  A good sleep Tuesday and Wednesday helped and I seemed to be back on track.

The week flew in I was so busy with washing, cleaning and shopping.  The weekend arrived and that was spent helping Carol clear her mothers house ready for the new owners in a few weeks time.


Yoga 3 classes.  Biking 125 miles with 7180 feet of climbing.  Runs 6 miles with 830 ft of climb.

So ended my first week back!

Mont Ventoux day 3 14th Sept

We had a lie in on Sunday and returned for more of the same after breakfast.  Later in the day we headed out for a recovery ride around the area again using a map supplied by VV.  The ride went past many of the vineyards in the area and through small villages we stopped in Beaumes-de-Venise for lunch then carried on back to Faucon.  44.6 miles 3:51:45.  Longer and harder than I would have chosen but a good ride nonetheless.DSCF2059











A reet good Tour (Part One)

Wednesday the 9th of July I cannot believe that it is over a week since my last entry on the blog. What can I say these 8 days have flown in and have been all about two things Le Grand Depart and FINALLY moving in!
First Le Grand Depart. Words fail me about how good this whole experience was the media have described it far better than I could. I have too limited a vocabulary to come up with any different superlatives than they did. Carol and I left on Thursday morning with 2 bikes and 4 days worth of “stuff” loaded into my car. We arr in Wetherby at The Swan B and B where we were staying for one night then being moved to the Swan apartments about 400 yards up the road! After unpacking we enquired about a local disused railway track which was now a cycleway/walking path and went out for a run in the sun. Turns out the railway was actually part of the North Yorks cycle network. We then got in the car and drove around to Harrogate to investigate the set up there and of course had food in Bettys. We then drove around to familiarise ourselves with the area then to bed about midnight.
Up early on Friday for breakfast and packing we decided to spend some time in Wetherby and just to move ourselves, which we did. The apartment was really good with views from the living/kitchen area. We set off on our bikes to Harewood Hall scene of the Yorkshire Festival of Cycling. Unfortunately it rained for most of the afternoon and meant a lot of dodging from tent to tent of exhibitors. It also meant a very wet cycle back! Saturday dawned with wet roads but dry skies and we set off in the direction of Harewood hall again once more on bikes intending to make full use of the closed roads. We stopped a few miles from K0 to watch the TDF caravan go by and grab some freebies. Then jumped on the bikes heading towards Otley but really looking for a sensible place to stop. The crowds were fairly big and every village seemed to have something on or a display or both. We stopped outside Pool at an area with toilets and burger vans for some refreshment and decided to stay there. We parked ourselves on a long straight and awaited the riders coming through. An early breakaway shot by much to our surprise and was soon followed by the rest of the Peleton. Once it was safe to do so we jumped back on our bikes and headed towards Harrogate and the finish line. The ride was about 10 miles and the road was flooded with cyclists of all shapes and sizes on machines of all shapes, makes and cost! Once in Harrogate we headed for a friends of Carols and left the machines there. We headed for the fan hub and the huge viewing screen not really through choice but realised that with us both being 5 foot 4 tall it was unlikely we would see anything out by the barriers in crowds that were just huuuuuuugeeee. The result as they say is history. After the race had finished we strolled our way round the centre just soaking up the atmosphere. IMG_0426[1] We then headed back to Carols friends, who believe it or not live in Cavendish Avenue, and after some drinks got on our bikes and headed back to Wetherby a little over 10 miles mostly on quiet roads or cycle track.