The Grand Tour: Fife and Beyond

Ramblings of an inveterate cyclist

Lazybones, I must not be,

Let’s onto the bike and cycle free,

For tomorrows, there is no guarantee,

Another month may pass on bye,

About “What ifs” we shall not cry,

Or weep over the loss of passing time,

Just get out there and have some fun,

Content in the knowledge,

Tomorrow may never come.

I set out along the cycle path for Guardbridge safe in the knowledge that if you do not know where you are going, all roads lead you there.

At Guardbridge I decided to turn right for Leuchars, I passed up by the old RAF station, Lightning aircraft in my day, 23 Squadron. The Bears would leave Russia and travel down the North Sea (always within international airspace) the Lightning would take off from Leuchars on reheat. Off up into the sky, they would go, almost in vertical flight. By the time they had reached their potential target, whose presences, direction and speed, had been known for hours, their progress would have been tracked all the way by the radar stations, from the Shetlands all the way down the coast. There was never any threat, it was all their little war game, big erections for those involved, with such big boy’s toys. These aircraft burned fuel at an astonishing rate, so bad was their flight duration that if they went up on reheat then they would be so low on fuel by the time they reached their potential target, they would have to fly on to Norway to refuel for their return flight home.

Tim and I were on a cycle/camping holiday over by the Market Weighton, travelling along the line of the Wolds. We came across an old RAF airfield, now a Depot, for EX military equipment. There behind the tall mesh fencing, almost lost amongst an array of drab green lorries, forklifts and cranes was a Lightning aircraft. I cycled up to the office and asked if I could have a look over the Lightning, “Yes, and it is for sale” the lad jested. Strange I remember them as being bigger. Returning to the reception, Tim worked his magic, and I was offered tea and biscuits, Tim, substituted tea for a bowl of water. Thankfully my window box would not accommodate a Lightning, aircraft as a garden ornament, so with our thanks ringing in the lad’s ears we pressed on.

Reminiscing over, I cycled on to St Michaels where I turned back on myself for Dairsie (A92). The road was not as busy as I had expected, possibly the late hour, all those going somewhere were already there. As I passed Middlefield Farm entrance, two girls, possibly sisters (possibly twins) waited with bicycles for the road to clear so they could enter, onto it. On each rear carries was large flat boxes, dead give away, electrical assisted. Instantly the image of a Bingo caller came into my head “88” he called, provoking an instant reaction from the audience, “two *** ladies” such things are not politically correct now. Were we really that insensitive to the feeling of others or have we maybe just become a little too thin-skinned?

Electrically assisted bicycles and conversion kits for bicycles seems to be a growth market If you are struggling to make a living from your wee High Street boutique shop, more so after coronavirus, turn it into an electric-assisted bicycle, and conversion to electric, bike shop. However, remember the secret of a successful business lies “In allowing your customers – or potential customers – to be involved in any design of your sales and service decisions”. (Marketing jargon for ‘Market Research’). Keep well, and save.

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