The Grand Tour: Fife and Beyond

Ramblings of an inveterate cyclist

Checking my e-mails before I left the house this morning there was an advert (fitness singles) offering me the opportunity to find a cycling partner with equivalent ability to my own. As I peddled my way home from Crail I was thinking about this advert and as ever some silliness popped into my head.

I’m sure you have had a lot of suitors,

That has impressed,

Tall, dark and handsome and attractive in dress,

Still, if there is a chance that at your feet,

Non did fall,

Then you could always,

Give me a call,

Though I have to admit,

I’m not rich,

Not handsome,

And not really tall.

Today was a bit special, I decided to head out on the Anstruther road, a very light wind helped me up onto Brownhills, but I was already climbing well. I had intended to take the B9171 over to Crail but I was still feeling fine and the day was warm, skies clear, and the sea constantly drawing me on like a magnet into Anstruther. A cyclist emerged onto my road at the crossroads, about 100 yards or so ahead. His bike looked very similar to my own. There is always a tendency to click up a gear and chase down other riders ahead, sort of built-in competitive spirit, even knowing at my age this is futile nonsense. I was cycling slightly downhill and up at around 10-15 miles per hour but never seemed to be closing the gap, we held station for about a mile then he simply, went off and left me for dead.

In Anstruther I dropped off my bike and started to walk along the harbour, admiring the beautiful sailing yachts, many never having left their mooring in an age. As I continued my way along the quay there was my mysterious cyclist, but where were the mahogany coloured legs, with calf so hard and knotted with hard riding they would not look out of place holding up a billiard table and thighs the circumference of a young woman’s waste? No the secret of his sudden and dramatic burst of speed was his back wheel, it had been changed for one with an electric motor in the hub, no contest there Hamilton.

We blethered a while, he looked in his mid to late fifties and lived local, a little village, which he told me has no real bus service so he found the bike a very convenient and economical way of popping into town. We said our goodbyes and I climbed out of Anstruther up into Cellardyke and the A917 for Crail. It was such a fine day cycling on these quiet roads with the sea never far away.

Crail and into the headwind that doubled the distance, and steepened the long climb through Kingsbarns, Boarhills and all the way up to Kingask, then respite, the long drop down into St Andrews. The views from Brownhills was breathtaking, all the way across the bay and Tay estuary to the low lying hills on its north shore, the clear blue skies high above in perfect contrast to the dark blue of the sea, the wind against tide breaking up the surface, into dancing white horses. Sometimes life is just this good.     

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