Date: 17th March 2012
Length of route: 15.6 miles/25.0km
Route: Old Aberdeen-Ruthrieston-Garthdee-Bieldside-Blacktop-Mastrick-Kittybrewster-Old Aberdeen
Difficulty level: Easy-Medium
Seeing as it's the weekend and Aberdeen was blessed with yet another gloriously sunny day, the new bike was taken out on it's travels yet again. The original intention had been to cycle only to the Newton Dee Cafe and gift shop at Bieldside then head back the same way, but to keep things interesting, I decided to head back through the rural country lanes to the west of Aberdeen, as I have so far not ventured out into that neck of the woods.
As usual, I left Old Aberdeen and went down King Street, before following halfway up Union Street and turning off just over halfway along onto Crown Street - not a shortcut as such, but a more direct and quieter route to Duthie Park, where the Deeside Railway Trail I would be taking begins. As it's Saturday, there were a lot of people on the trail when I joined it, including a remarkable number of runners - I think they were running some kind of marathon or something, as they all had numbers on their backs. There were also a number of cyclists and dog walkers, but mainly runners. As I continued up the trail, I remembered that when you see the green bridge, that's where you should come off for the Newton Dee centre on the Old Ferry Road - the only problem being, there are several green bridge's along the way, and I had to check the map once or twice to make sure I was at the right place or not.
Nevertheless, when I went into the centre, I purchased some wonderful little gifts for my Mum for Mother's Day, and all at very reasonable prices. Bought a few bits in the health food store as well, but as I don't have a bike rack or panniers yet, the amount I'm willing to carry is limited. After leaving the Newton Dee centre, follow the Old Ferry Road to the end for a brief stretch on the A road back to Aberdeen, before turning off to head into the hills. This is where the climbing began, and was definitely the steepest climb I've yet undertaken in this area of Aberdeenshire. Although I struggled a bit in places, and stopped once, I did not have to get off and walk up the hill, which I would most likely have had to do on my other bikes.
Forgetting how swiftly this bike moves once it gets going, despite the hills I found myself at both turning off points I needed much sooner than I anticipated. Turning off right to head back down into Aberdeen at the Kingswells road was a pleasant surprise, as at the crest of the hill a panorama opened out showing a large part of Aberdeen and a view out to see, which the sun illuminated perfectly. After this, the rest of the route took me back down into Aberdeen proper, before a swift descent down Ashgrove Road and Bedford Road back into the heart of Old Aberdeen and home. All in all, another successful ride for the bike - I still found myself itching to go a little further, however!
For full route information: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/75744292