Sunday, 26 February 2012

Cycling sunday

Date: 26th February 2012
Length of route: 14.0 miles/22.5km
Route: Old Aberdeen-Hayton-Danestone-Dyce-Bridge of Don-Aberdeen Beach
Difficulty level: Easy

I recently found out about a Cycle Touring Club in Aberdeen who do different kinds of runs on different days, and as today was a Try Cycling day, and I fancied a relaxing cycle ride, I thought I'd try something different. Unfortunately, I woke up rather late, and dashed out of the house at exactly 10 o'clock, when they were due to leave. Anyway, I decided to circle Seaton Park (the established meeting point) and luckily I spotted a group of suspicious-looking cyclists doing the rounds and caught them up - fortunately, it was the Cycle Touring Club.

As they had only just started, I cycled up to them and introduced myself then we set off through the back lanes of Aberdeen and out into the open country lanes heading towards Dyce, where we saw a plane landing as we cycled along the way. I don't know about everyone else, but for me this is always an exciting thing to see in the country, especially as Air Transport was my undergraduate major. After gradually climbing up through Dyce, the rest of the route began to level off and then head down into Bridge of Don.

While we were cycling, I got chatting to a few of the others about cycling and other things, and it really made for a pleasurable experience and took your mind off the effort involved. Whilst we were talking, the miles/kilometres seemed to just fall away with the legs feeling little or no effort. Having said that, this was not the most demanding of routes and the weather was clear and bright, with little wind. However, it really does help if there is something to focus your attention other than the efforts of cycling.

It was decided that we would head from Bridge of Don down towards Aberdeen Beach to stop for a drink, which is where the run ended. I myself felt I could have carried on cycling for another few hours, and have already planned routes to Stonehaven via the back roads and along the Old Deeside Railway to Banchory (and perhaps beyond!). When we stopped for coffee, I noticed that we'd done 22.5km - which was amazing considering the other day I'd done 5k and felt tired! I guess it depends on your preparation and what you've had to eat, but I shall most certainly be looking to join in with the CTC again, perhaps on a longer run next time.

For full route information:

Sunday, 12 February 2012

First cycle of Winter

Date: 12th February 2012
Length of route: 11.9 miles/19.2km
Route: Old Aberdeen-Bridge of Don-Danestone-Woodside-Kittybrewster-Aberdeen-Old Aberdeen
Difficulty level: Easy

I've just returned from my first proper cycling trip of the Winter, and my first since I got my new bike up here in Aberdeen. I haven't written, or ridden for a while, so I'm a bit out of it, so the main purpose of today's ride was just to get back into it, and was decided pretty much on the spur of the moment as something to do on a spare Sunday. Anyhow, I ended up really enjoying it.

Started off by leaving my flat in Old Aberdeen and heading North down Don Street past Seaton Park and heading across the river and West towards Danestone, where I stopped off at a rather large Tesco, that happened to be a great hidden wonder. Inside was not only a supermarket, but a travel agents and a health food/nutritionists store selling everything the travelling cyclist could possibly want - protein flapjacks, bars, energy drinks, soya drinks, you name it. After buying a few supplies in here, I carried on south, back over the river and headed back down into Central Aberdeen.

This was easily the best part of the journey, and one I hadn't intended to spend as much time on as I did, but the long straight downhill stretches made for wonderful riding, and apart from a few traffic lights towards the centre, I had a solid 25 minutes of riding without any real stopping or slowing down. With it being Sunday, the roads were not overly busy and I could ride at my leisure. On some of these roads, I discovered that my bike, although hardly one of the most expensive models (it was £325 from Rutland Cycles, whom I highly recommend), can corner really quite well, however the corners in Aberdeen are certainly far from the most trying, I was very comfortable with the way my bike handled them.

After heading out of Central Aberdeen once again, I decided to make a circular tour and took the coastal road back North and then West back to my flat. As today was a very warm day (for the time of year and for Aberdeen!), and there was only a light breeze, cycling along the coastal road was also a real pleasure, with the sea on my right and no major obstacles to constant, consistent cycling. The only issue was the roads are pretty much ready for resurfacing in this area, so I had to simply avoid the cracks occasionally.

All in all, today was a very successful ride, which left me feeling refreshed but not too exhausted, and was purely about getting back into cycling and cycling for cycling's sake - purely for the enjoyment. As such, there are no photos this time, but as I hope to get back into it once again (if the weather keeps up), then I shall hopefully get out a bit further next time and have something decent to show for it.

For full route information: