Parliamentary Pedalling

Seems like I’ve fallen into my old ways of “forgetting” to post again, so it’s time to redress that.   Since returning from Texas my cycling has been a bit fits and starts – partly because of the weather, and partly because at this time of year work is a tad hectic because we are winding up classes for the academic year.  This is always accompanied by students you have seldom seen suddenly materialising and expecting to be able to do twelve weeks’ work in a day and then getting huffy when you suggest they can’t just copy what their pal has written.  But that is another story, and no doubt one that is universal.

Cycling events in May were mostly local, but involved my first century ride of the year. (It was actually only about 97 miles but that’s near enough and I am claiming it on the basis of not having switched the Garmin on while I searched the length and breadth of the Royal Mile looking for a toilet.)

The event was the second Pedal on Parliament – a “protest cycle” of some sorts in which cyclists (of all sorts) converge on the Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh to lobby for change.  This is usually a call for more cycle lanes, better driver (and cyclist) education and this year, the campaign for strict liability.  Just how much success the event enjoys is debatable but it certainly forces the issues into the public spotlight and that in itself can’t be bad.

Along with some friends from the Glasgow Road Cycling Meetup and the Spokes groups, I set off from George Square Glasgow on a coolish morning though mercifully at this point dry. Our plan was to head straight out along the A89 to Bathgate and then to head to the A8 approach to Edinburgh.  This was the straightest route and was also less hilly than the route chosen by some other groups.  We encountered a slight drizzle along the way (what we’d call “dreichness” over here) but little in the way of headwind or real chill.  Our journey across was marred somewhat by an accident to one of our party who tumbled (still no explanation of why) on to the tarmac. Fortunately she suffered only a concussion but no broken bones, but it just goes to show how an accident can happen in the blink of an eye.

By the time we were ready to head back to Glasgow, the sun was beginning to sneak through the cloud. So much so that I had removed my arm and leg warmers before we left the Edinburgh boundary. Some ten of us had opted to cycle back rather than take the train and we held together as a group until just around Broxburn  – averaging around 17mph along the stretch from Edinburgh city centre.  Two members opted for the train at this point and the racing snakes were eager to blast off at the front, so we let them just  go ahead, leaving myself, Andrew, Jacky, Ian and Jim E to bring up the rear at a more gentle pace.  Ian had just got back from a walking tour and was tired (and was also beginning to feel the pinch of riding an MTB on tarmac) so he nipped off to catch a train at Bathgate.  The rest of us grabbed a quick carb intake courtesy of Mickey D’s before completing the final miles to Glasgow at a reasonably comfortable 16mph.

All in, a decent day’s cycling and a worthwhile event to attend.  Our average speed over the (nearly) 100miles was 14.6mph which is close enough to my target speed for this year of 15mph average over moderate terrain.  I am attributing the slow sections to having done the decent thing and held back for about 25miles on the outward leg to keep a slower cyclist company.

And you won’t shift me from that excuse reason.

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