Yesterday was a Turf walking day, too much ice around for safe cycling. And later that evening a walk to the Tesco for essential supplies, namely chocolate and coffee, was more slithering than walking. However, during the night my prayers were answered and it snowed, not too much snow that it was too deep for cycling, just enough to provide good grip. It was the perfect day to unleash the Surly Pugsley fat bike and go turfing.
My plan today was to follow the Dalkeith to Penicuik cycleway, picking up zones on the way. Last night the cycleway was sheet ice and you could barely stand upright but add an inch or so of nice fresh crunchy snow, run the fat tyres at 10 psi and it grips like a limpet, inspiring the confidence to tackle just about anything. First stop was HopeBridge (185 points), quickly followed by ExitRosewell (185 points), then a spin through Rosewell village to take HolyStMatthew (185 points), before exiting at EnterRosewell for another 185 points.
Now back on the cycleway again, RoslinGlen (185 points) was the first to fall to myself and Pugsley, we then hared through the snow for TwoHares (170 points), HareWhere (170 points) and OneHare (185 points). The snow was slightly deeper here as Rosewell sits on higher ground than Bonnyrigg.
Bright blue skies and fairy-tale trees made stopping at FirthViaduct (185 points) a must for a photo shoot, though far too cold to linger for too long. The old railway line was now loosing height and the temperature was also falling. There used to be a paper mill at OldDalmore (185 points) and I once had a job interview there but didn’t have any luck, which was just a well as the mill closed soon after. It’s now private housing and very cold today. The slightly deeper snow was noticeable as I had to pedal that little bit harder, the fat tyres compressing the snow. But who cares when the scenery is like this.
I was now starting to encounter lots of dog walkers and lots of comments about the big tyres, which is par for the course when riding a fat bike. Some people think they are ridiculous but I’ve yet to find anyone who did not come back with a big grin on their face after riding one.
In between dodging dodgy dogs and their owners, or was it the other way round?, RiverNorthEsk (185 points) was next to be taken, followed by TheLoon (185 points), EauDePenicuik (170 points), TheBackdoor (170 points) and EskBridge (185 points). The final zone for the day was Valleyfield (185 points), a small pond, completely frozen over today and no chance of seeing the Water rail that has been sighted here recently. Probably flown off somewhere warmer.
Cycling comfortably is sub-zero temperatures is an art. Getting your clothing just right, enough to stay toasty but not too much that you get too hot and sweaty. It was perfect today although my toes were nipping at bit. Pugsley was doing okay as well although gears and brakes were not a smooth as usual due to ice build-up. Will need to look into that later and see what can be done.
Overall a grand day out. Rank was up to Rank 17 – Experienced Adventurer and I’d also gained another medal, the Take-250. Round points was now 23,100, though I guess still little chance of catching up with féarglas but you never know. Total points now sitting at 67,400.
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