Having recently joined the dark side and bought a cheapo road bike for running up and down to work on my mate showed interest in coming on a bivvy as long as it was on the roadies and we used a tent, who am I to turn down some company and the chance to get someone new into bike packing!
So I set of on the train heading for Fife early on Saturday morning to meet up with Lee and show him what he's been missing, unfortunatly I left my backpack with all of the gear he was borrowing from me on the train when I got off at Haymarket so I ended up having to go all the way to waverly and run about like a maddy trying to find my bag on the plethora of trains which seem to frequent this station! Eventually I found the right train 5 minutes before it departed again and I was reunited with a bag full of old gear and my all important tent poles. A further half hour wait and an hour on a train got me to Fife and finally I could get on with some cycling.
I headed out to Auchtermuchty to meet up with Lee, strapped the gear to his bike and off we set in to the miserable pissing rain with me raving about how good a time we were going to have and that if you look really far in the distance it doesn't look like it's raining. For the first couple of miles I thought he was going to turn around and head home but we pushed on and by the time we'd ridden the short distance to Lindores it was dry and all was well with the world.
We pressed on towards Auchterarder, where we planned to eat that night, the pace was relaxed as we only had 30 or so miles to cover before dinner. We made Auchterarder at the back of 5 and the search for a pub was on, after much debate we settled on the Glen Devon hotel, this turned out to be a great decision as they served up the best steak pie I've had in years, all washed down with a few pints of Stella.
By the time we emerged from the bar it was going on for 9 and I was half pissed so we decided to find somewhere to camp sharpish as the tempreature was dropping quickly. About a mile out of town we found a small area of woodland which was perfect, we were nicely sheltered from the wind and hopefully not to much rain would land on us. I had a cracking nights sleep in my new Alpkit Skyehigh 500, Lee on the other hand spent the night shivering in an old synthetic bag and no ground mat, I wish I had a spare I could have lent him, it would have made it a much more enjoyable experince.
We rose late the next morning, at a quick breakfast, packed up and hit the road. It was far to cold for faffing around. Making it back to my house was the order of the day and a climb up and over Glen Devon stood between us and the warmth of home. We slowly pulled our way up the climb, I encouraged Lee with promises of an exilerating descent down the other side and flat roads all the way home. As we crested the summit and headed down hill it became apparent that I was lying, a feirce head wind meant we were struggling to hit 10 mph pedalling down the hill and then to add insult to injury it started snowing!
The rest of the ride was in truth a bit of a slog, head winds, blustery snow showers and busy sunday traffic meant we couldn't relax and enjoy the ride as we had done the previous afternoon and we were both glad when we reached the safety of home. Unfortunatly Lee still had a couple of hours on the train to get back to Fife but not before he got warmed up again at mine.
I had a great weekend, only 65 miles covered and not much climbing done but it was brilliant having one of my best mates along for the ride and in the end it's not all about suffering or KOM's it's about getting out and having some fun on yer bike. Hopefully Lee enjoyed it enough to come along again sometime, I bet it's not until summer though!