Thursday 18th August. New Bike Day

Woo hoo. New bike day has dawned at last. There has been a bit of a change of plan with it too. Kenn decided that I could have the new bike today and that he would wait a couple of weeks for his. Obviously, I wasn’t about to argue with him about it. I did check that he was sure about his decision though. Twice.

I think that Kenn decided that I could have a new bike first, was because I have been a bit depressed lately. Exercise is a sure fire depression sorter-outer for me. I have been very flat lately with work being slow and what have you. Maybe we should have used the money for more important stuff but the money was already with the shop as we’d been paying over 3 installments for the first bike. Anyway, I’m feeling a whole lot more positive about life now.

I now have a lovey Giant Defy 2. It looks a bit like the one in the pic.

As I said before, I got it from Square Wheels, in Strathpeffer. The lovely people there, added a water bottle and carrier on the bike for me and when we went to collect the bike, we also bought new cycling gloves for me and a new bike computer. We got 15% off those items, which was wonderful.

The gloves are a lot better than my old ones, that I got on the Norwich trip. Those gloves seem to have gone all flat in the padding department. Then again, they were less than £6 so I don’t suppose that I can complain.

The start of my ride from Strathpeffer to Beauly, was a bit hit and miss. Having ridden a pseudo mountain bike with 18 gears on a twist grip, I got myself in a big pickle with the gears. Soon had it sussed though. Big gear levers to go to bigger cogs, little gear levers to go to little cogs – or as I later worked out in my scribbly head, the gear levers move in the same direction as the chain goes on the cogs. Blonde moments or what! My new bike computer decided that working was for other computers. Despite poking and prodding it. My first mile was covered at a massive 0 mph and the trip meter did not budge. Kenn had waited at the left turn I was due to take, as I was not totally sure of the route. He had a fiddle and got it working. Once back on the bike, at the left turn, I crept down the hill at an idicated 3mph, it was hellishly steep and I am a big wimp. Kenn said I was doing more like 12mph as he was following me down in our jeep. Tatty jeep it is too, I don’t like to drive it fast anyway as I’m always worried that something will drop off. I reckon that the bike computer had then worked for about 5 seconds after being fiddled with.

Kenn waited at the next turning point, where I moaned about my bike computer again, Kenn dutifully had another go at fixing it. This time the bike computer worked for nearly a minute. I was getting fed up with it in the extreme. After Kenn had overtaken and was heading off to get the teas in, I pulled into the side and slid the magnet thingy down about 2 mm on the spokes, it looked a bit high to me, despite what the alignment arrows were saying. After that, it worked just perfectly all the way home. I reckon that the arrows are drawn on incorrectly, causing frustration in women.

After that, I made great time into Beauly, covering the 10.5 miles in 45 minutes. I was pleased with that. I know that I can nearly do that on my old mountain bike but I am getting used to my new toy and didn’t want to break it first trip out. Anyway, after the old mountain bike, this lovely Giant Road Bike is decidely twitchy and really really thin. My goodness, my thumbs are fatter than those tyres AND they are slicks AND it was raining. Right excuses over. Where was I? Oh yes, heading for the tea shop.

When it comes to picking tea shops, Kenn has an extra sense that other men do not seem to have in my experience. Kenn picked the deli on the corner, next to the co-op. We’ve been by it several times but never inside. They even had sample bit of cheese out. No wonder Kenn picked it. By the time I got there, Kenn was half way down a nice cup of very good coffee. He ignored me as I pulled faces at him through the window sorted my bike out and looked in his general direction. I tapped on and he looked a tad suprised to see me standing there. After a nice restorative coffee and a huge bit of tiffin cake (each), we got the bike out of the back of the jeep, where we had locked it in as both of us forgot to bring a bike lock. DOH! and I walked across the road at the pedestrian lights before getting back on my bike and heading home.

Kenn & I had already agreed that he would belt home in the jeep, grab his bike and head down to Struy, turn left at the pub as if to do the “House ride” and simply keep going towards Eskadale church which is where I figured that I would meet up with him. As it happened, he was 1/4 mile past the church, my way not his, when we met up.

I had forgotten about the rise from the Cannich/Struy/Kiltarlity turning and as I had had to slow right down for traffic before the right hand turn, I was in a hopeless gear and really had to work up that blooming hill. Once up, I was fine and looked for the turning for the back road. I had forgotten too about some of the hills I needed to get up along that road too. I got up the first one or two reasonably well. Then, on a long straight hill, I found myself in front of a bus driving by a most impatient man. About 50 yards ahead of me was a clearly marked passing place which I was heading for, but Mr Bus driver could not hold his passengers up for a whole 50 yards, no way. He just shoved past me, regardless of the fact that we were on a single track road. I had, as far as I could tell,  2 options. Die or get on the grass and hurl myself into a hedge. I took the latter option and hoped that I wouldn’t damage the bike. Had I not been in ‘survival mode’ I might have got the reg or at least the name of the bus company. How many can there be taking that road anyway? After picking myself out of the hedge, slower than planned as my right foot had got stuck in the ratrap pedal, I carried on a little shakily. I had lost all my momentum and the 10% hill ahead of me seemed steeper than it was at 9mph pre bus. My foot cramped, then my leg cramped so I had to get off and walk for 100 yards. Then I resumed cycling and then 200 yards later, I was back walking as my thigh was spasaming again. After a drink of water and massaging my thigh, all seemed well so back on my bike and up that bloomin’, seeminly never ending now, hill.

Guess what Mr Bus Driver with the waiting for 50 yards problem, was a mile and a half up the road at his turn around point and now heading towards me. Happily a passing spot was right where I needed one and I didn’t need to head for the hedge. Good job too as the hedge on my left was holly. Still didn’t get the bus company name.

I did come across a couple of 4×4 pickups, but they seemed patient enough for me to get into passing spots before slowly overtaking me. Once I ran out of passing place and had to stop. On a 10% hill, going up, this was simply not funny. Didn’t have to walk again though. I was beginning to wonder if I had missed a turning as the road was not looking terribly familiar, then I rounded the corner to see Eskadale church. Very pretty it is too. I have meant to go and have a look around. Unusually, for the area, St Mary’s is a Catholic church. I believe, but couldn’t swear to it, that the Chieftan of Clan Chisholm used to go there until he changed his mind and went elsewhere. As we live on Clan Chisholm land, the other side of the magnificent river Beauly, I remembered one of our neighbours telling us about it, in his brief “potted history of the area” done in 2 minutes or less. I would have liked to stop and look about then, and enjoy the view, but it had started to rain and I was getting tired and cold.  400 yards later a lone cyclist with a blue jacket, came into view. Pedalling hard towards me. My lovely Kenn. We stopped for a few minutes and like all good cyclists with their new toy I asked him “would you like a go?” Turned out he did.

Today is the first time I have ridden Kenn’s moutain bike. Blimey, that seat of his is comfy. My mountain bike seat is horrible and not comfy at all. Kenn’s mtb felt like an armchair after the road bike. With Kenn on my bike, we travelled the mile and a half to the “house” where we normally turn when going in the opposite direction. This is where we swapped back. My new bike looked tiny under Kenn, it really is way too small for him. Kenn’s first comment was “its so light” followed rapidly by “bloody hell its twitchy” and not long after by “this saddle is hard”. He is going to love his bike when we get it. It’ll fit for a start.

By now, I was pretty tired and was wondering if I was going to get up ‘Dolly’ hill. Struy bridge was nearly the ruin of me as I fluffed my gears, again. Dolly hill was not too bad after all. Half way up the hill my phone rang. Wondering if it was work, and if I could call them back in 10 minutes, I answered it. Wrong number. Typical. Lady wanting someone called “Tim”. Not us at all. Kenn was a good 50 yards ahead of me. He has never ever beaten me up the hill and today was not going to be the first day. I pedalled like mad and caught and overtook him about 20 yards from the gate entrance. I let Kenn belt down the drive and towards the bike shed though. I was not messing my skinny wheels up on *that* surface for anyone. By the time I was at the shed, Kenn had put his bike away and was taking his helmet off. I was being midged to death so we headed inside and tucked my new bike up, in the office. Kenn says that I can’t take it and keep it in the bedroom overnight, it was only a small suggestion.

I fancy going out again but its caning it down outside. We now have to drive back to Beauly as we have no bread or milk. Neither of us thought about popping to the co-op while we were there. I was reading the manual for my bike and Kenn was reading Cycling Weekly, our ‘comic’ of choice, neither was considering what we were having for tea. We both have blonde moments from time to time and I am really hungry now.


Goal:          1000.
Miles today:   22.92
Miles to date: 151.97
Miles to go:    848.03
Max speed:  26.31
Ave speed:      12.65
Feelings:      Woo hoo!! Can’t wait for my next ride.


About RosieRosie

RosieRosie is a woman of a 'certain age' - whatever the hell that is supposed to mean, known. I feel about 26. I have no idea what I look like as some older woman keeps getting in the way when I look in the mirror. Separated from husband but dating a nice chap at the moment. I have a proper wanderlust and have finally moved - using the housing exchange system from - where I started in Inverness, down to Cornwall and back up to the Flatlands and Big Sky Country. It's taken since September 2011, when I left Inverness until May 2017 to get to somewhere that I really like. That's not too shoddy with a swap here and a swap there, saving up again for each move. Not ruling out going home to Norfolk if necessary. Time will tell. For now my mates are just a 90 minute or so, drive down the road. I love my bikes, I love my dog and I love guitars. They all keep my busy.
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