The Grand Tour: Fife and Beyond

Ramblings of an inveterate cyclist

Yesterday, (Saturday) the weather was a bit iffy, but I was keen to try out the e-bike in earnest. I stayed on the main road (the A91) out of St Andrews, much to the annoyance of impatient motorists, who hooted on their horns and pointed to the cycle track, sorry folks but the cycle-path is less than two meters wide, social distancing and all that, anyway, I have as much right to this road as you.

Guardbridge, Leuchars then St Michaels where I turned off for Tayport. There I joined the coastal road into Newport-on-Tay. The sun had come out to welcome me into Newport-on-Tay, and the first real climb of the day up into the little village of Wormit. From here I did intend to head back to St Michael’s via Links Wood, but I remembered the struggle I had climbing the steep hill after visiting Balmerino Abbey, some months back. I was down to walking pace and winding backwards and forwards across the road to keep any kind of momentum, just the hill to test out this little baby.

Up until this point I have been stotting along in the high teens, and on downhill sections, even if only a slight incline, would see the numbers on the screen rise into the 30kph. I simply did not have the hang of this motor yet, rather than pottering along at an easy pace, the pedals were so light that I could not help myself, and continued to go faster and faster. Years had disappeared, my legs felt young again. The momentum I was building up on the flat was carrying me up the next hill, so rather than change down I pressed a little harder, much like the old days when I would climb onto the pedals and honk up a hill. I never once dropped into the lower front ring and most of my time was spent in the 6 or 7 rear cogs.

I hit the hill just as you pass the sign for Balmerino Abbey, the road rises up in front of you like a wall, all the way up to just below North Hill at 123m, and all within 2.5 miles. I dropped down onto the middle ring and dropped a couple of cogs at the rear, pulled the trigger, now with my legs spinning like a hamster in a wheel, we shot up the hill at 12kph all the way to the top. It was here that I joined the A92 and with beautiful smooth blacktop and a downhill incline the screen was now showing in the low 40kph, at these speeds I really should be wearing my cycling helmet, possibly my motorcycle helmet. I turned up onto the A913 for Cupar, the best of the day was now over and dark clouds were assembling, time I was heading for home.

I stayed on the A91 all the way out of Cupar, the long slow climb out of the town into Dairsie was a breeze. As I neared St Andrews I had a puncture, and of course, it had to be in the rear wheel. What a disaster. As luck would have it I was able to blow enough air into the tyre to get me home. Removing the rear wheel would be a big job, having to cut cable ties then wrestling the wheel out would be bad enough but getting it back again with all those spacers to contend with, a nightmare scenario. I went online and ordered a roll of puncture protection tape for the inside of the tyre, I do not wish to be doing kerbside repairs, more so in the dark and winter rain. I’m sure I can remove the tyre and tube, with the wheel still in situ, bit fiddly I grant you, but the alternative is not worth thinking about.

The battery icon on the screen had not moved from ‘battery full’ and most of the day the Watt reading remained at zero, only when I pulled the trigger to climb steep hills or long inclines did I see this rise, sometimes close too 290W, this is one powerful motor. Back home, I removed the battery before tucking the bike in the back of the van and plugged the battery into the charger when back in the flat, within 30 minutes it was showing a green light – ‘full charge’. The bumf that came with the kit said you can travel up to 40 miles on one charge, from today’s performance, I believe this to be no exaggeration, and if you are willing to put in a bit of effort and stick to around 10 mph, many more miles I’m sure.

Home and feeling good. On with the kettle and fill the pan with cold mash potatoes from yesterday’s meal. Wash up the dishes as the kettle come to the boil and relax with my first pot of tea, it really does not get much better than this folks. Keep well, keep safe.         

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: