Holy torpedoes that was a crazy ride! I’m normally pretty comfortable in the dark, but riding a bike (without a tail-light I might add) on roads in pitch black is TERRIFYING. And yet, in that insane way only petrifying experiences can invoke, it was EXHILARATING. Maybe the adrenaline got to my head, but flying through the night with no clue about what lies ahead felt like bathing in the universe. Never have I had to rely on blind-faith so explicitly.
A long, long, LONG trip.
Level: Hard. This is a long route with a pretty steady set of inclines.
Trail: National Cycle Route 1
Condition: Paved all the way. Most of it is on quiet-ish country roads. I think a lot of cars like to use it as a slower alternative to the highway so you have to remain viligant.
Length: 31.9 miles. Google predicted we’d cross this distance in about three hours, but we took about six.
Train Stops: No luck.
I will admit, this route had me hankering for the end pretty much from the beginning. It didn’t have the enchantment of Dundee to Perth, the diversity of Tentsmuir or the history of Dundee to Arbroath. It was just long.
We did pass through a beautiful forest about halfway, but the scenery was marred by an endless symphony of screaming rubber in the distance. Any ideas of setting aside our bikes and basking in the stillness was wrecked by what I’m assuming was race day at the Knockhill Racing Circuit.
Our other big problem was misjudging our time! Eek!
I like the night. I’m a real fan of hanging out under the stars and soaking in the peace of nighttime, but I was not at all thrilled to be stuck on a bicycle with what may as well have been a penlight. By the time we were on the downhill section of the route I couldn’t see my hand in front of my nose! Walking in black is fine. Riding down a hill at who knows what speed? Questionable. Especially since I was wondering whether I’d suddenly get tackled by a car as I rounded each bend. Not cool!
However. There were sweet moments. Like when everything was engulfed by darkness and I rounded a hill to find a tiny town hiding in the valley. I felt like a giant. I was the night – eternal, all-encompassing and gentle. A lullaby incarnate. I wanted to hug the town, but it chose to hug me. As we neared its boundary the glowing lights welcomed us in, and they continued to call even after we all-to-quickly passed through its reach. We fled on into the night.
If you do this route, make sure to leave early in the morning and bring energy snacks and water. Also remember to have good lights on your bike just in case you do dawdle too long, like us. :3
Just a note:
J and I discovered our bikes were missing on New Years Day :'(. Some jerk(s) stole our bikes. This was the first time I’d ever had anything stolen from me and I’m baffled! The thieves cut through two chains to get our bikes!!!!! Sigh, but the worst bit was that they stole my mustache bell and the recycled-bomb-metal key-chain I bought in Laos. I adored those two items and they’re irreplaceable….
But the suckiest news is that J and I won’t be buying new bikes until we have moved to a more secure apartment in July some time. Bike Trips will resume then and we’ll have many more awesome routes to share with you!
I hope you are all well and 2016 has been treating you great!
Ta ta till next time!