Banana power

Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony. Although he had to work all day, he had time to enjoy the sunrise in East Wemyss as he walked his dogs.

Having tried an electric bike yesterday, it was my plan to leap up early and go for a run on my normal road bike today, just to show that I hadn’t forgotten how to do it. The plan worked quite well except for the leaping up early bit, and it was eleven o’clock when I packed up three bananas and a marmalade sandwich and finally set out.

It was a calm and reasonably warm day, so I was in no hurry as I went over Callister, past Paddockhole and along the side of the valley of the Water of Milk. The road is undulating to say the least.

I didn’t go as far as Lockerbie, but turned off the main road and followed a side road along the Water of Milk until I got to Castlemilk itself.

I passed through the village of Kettleholm, where St Mungo’s School and Church live in the metaphorical shadow of the big house . . .

. . . and came to a bridge over the Water of Milk where I saw lambs and a grey wagtail.

Rather than go straight along the road the village and down to Hoddom, I had taken a side road that I hadn’t ridden on before. It took me to two small and undistinguished bridges, the first over the Water of Milk where I saw the wagtail, and the second over the River Annan. There were vivid chestnut leaves beside the water of Milk, and a stiff climb followed by a quick descent between the two rivers.

Two steep valleys, and a single track road with lots of sharp corners probably mean that it will be some time before I take this particular road again.

All the same, I enjoyed the new experience. I was ready for a light lunch of a marmalade sandwiches and some dates by the time that I got to Hoddom and the big bridge over the River Annan.

There was wild garlic and a small crop of bluebells to be seen beside the bridge . . .

. . . and I liked the look of the bridge so much, that I crossed the road and looked at it from the other side.

Refreshed by my lunch, I headed on to Ecclefechan and then down the old main road to Kirkpatrick Fleming. Dandelions and cowslips gave me excuses to stop.

By now the sun had come out, and it was a really good day to be out on a bike, especially as I had finally got the light wind behind me.

Apart from the sheer pleasure of cycling, one of the chief motivations for the route I chose was the chance to inspect the Korean pines at half Morton churchyard. The church is now a private dwelling . . .

. . . but the graveyard is still in use and is well looked after. There is a line of Korean pines between the newest part of the graveyard and the house. At first sight, although there were plenty of male and female flowers, I feared that I had come too early to see them at their best. However, as I walked down the line of pines, I found that the ones at the far end were looking lovely.

I cycled cheerfully home after that, and found that my route was just over the 50 miles that I had aimed for.

Mrs Tootlepedal had spent the afternoon planting potatoes, and was ready for a cup of tea when I got back. We were joined by our neighbour Liz, and the day was so good by this time that we were able to sit out in the garden and enjoy the sunshine, while the bees buzzed round the plum blossoms.

After we had finished our tea, I had a quick walk round the garden . . .

. . . filled the bird feeder and had a quick look at the birds . . .

. . . and then went for a five mile ride round Potholm with Mrs Tootlepedal on our new electric bikes. We faced two steep climbs in the direction that we chose to go, and we set our bikes to maximum assistance and fairly flew up them. Otherwise we used as little help as we could and pottered along enjoying the beautiful evening.

A near perfect day was rounded off by rhubarb and custard for afters at our evening meal. There is no doubt that the rhubarb tastes at its best at this time of year when it is young and fresh.

The flying bird of the day is a siskin.

Those with time on their hands can click on the map below to get a fuller picture of today’s route.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

30 thoughts on “Banana power

  1. The Korean pine cones would have been worth the entire trip to me. They’re beautiful things.
    It was nice to see the bluebell too. I hope it is joined by many thousands more.
    Those were nice reflections of the bridge in the river. It looked almost dead calm.

  2. A most enjoyable ride done from an armchair. Thank you. I did just do one double take. ‘The road is undulating to say the least’, followed by a picture of a river undulating sideways. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. I enjoyed your lovely photo selection, and I hope to see Scotland someday. I am in agreement on the Korean pine cones. They almost look like candles.

  4. Those bridges you have in the borders are much to be admired, I struggle to find any as majestic. I had a look at the Evolt Confort pedal assist bike, and they look like a very good option. Ideal for a more relaxed pedal. Will you be opening up a new spread sheet for pedal assisted miles? I have to say riding the Evolts sounds a lot of fun. Cheers

    1. I have added an electric column to my spreadsheet. I am currently debating whether to add electric assist miles to my annual total but I think that I will as I have to pedal to achieve them even if i get a little help.

      1. I was passed yesterday by two electric bikes on my commute to work. They fairly scooted past me doing 15 mph or so, me doing half that speed. I think that is too fast for the towpath. But using one would get me to and from work a lot faster. Still haven’t got myself new socket bolts to attach my eccentric pedal to my single speed. Then I can have a go. Cheers.

  5. More than 51 miles… I’m happy I can do 51 km (without elecrical support) ๐Ÿ™‚ One thisn is for sure, it was a beautiful trip and you had nice weather too. Thanks for sharing the many shots you made.

  6. A very enjoyable selection of water and bridges, as well as that beautiful church/residence and churchyard. I think it would be quite wonderful to live in such a place: an historic building that’s surrounded by a quiet and well-maintained graveyard (especially when you don’t have to do the maintenance!).

    Re. the e-bike: when you pedal does that recharge the electric motor? Is the motor controlled by a switch, or does it engage when you stop pedalling?

    1. No, you can’t charge the battery by pedalling. That would make it very hard work The motor stops when you stop pedalling so you have to keep going to keep the bike going.

  7. Another very busy day with two cycle rides and wonderful photos of all those beautiful views and scenes. Good to see the Korean fir doing well. A perfect pud to end a lovely day.

      1. ๐Ÿ™‚

        The Korean pines are stunning! Thanks for the tip on when to pick rhubarb. I have it, but donโ€™t know much about it except I do know how to cook it.

  8. What is your opinion on the ebike..Ive been thinking of getting one so wouldnโ€™t mind an opinion from an experienced cyclist like yourself.

    1. My view after a short experience of the pedal assist type is that they are very good in a number of ways. They keep you exercising so there is no slacking but they make the unpleasantly hard parts of riding into pleasantly enjoyable ones. This is good for ageing joints in particular. They let me cycle along at the same speed as Mrs T very comfortably as she is now going a quite bit faster than she used to up the hills. If you get one with a good enough battery I can see no downside except that they are heavy so lifting them is hard.

  9. I am not familiar with Korean pines, but now am trying to see if we can grow them here! That first photo of the undulated river, daffodils, and sheep would go really well with the photo of the narrow one-way road. A curvaceous theme.

    1. The first half of the ride was indeed quite bendy but the second half was much more straightforward. ๐Ÿ™‚

      The Korean pines are wonderful trees. I hope that you find that you can grow them.

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