Honking Down Hill

Honking is the terminology used by cyclists when they rise from the saddle and force the pedals as they climb steep gradients.

I had dropped down onto the cycle path in ice-cold air and another one of those Irish, lazy winds, that can’t be bothered to go around you. By the end of the cycle track, I was wishing I had put on my winter gloved. Climbing out of Strathkinness and onto Knock Hill the wind was troublesome, then the steep downhill section to the Eden valley. Maybe the wind is funnelled along the valley floor, before hitting the face of the hill but as I crested the hill the wind was so strong I was almost going backwards. I dropped a cog and peddled, peddled, peddled, damn near had to honk, all the way to the bottom.

Now into the tranquillity of the Ceres burn valley, the sun was out casting dappled patterns onto the road ahead,

“Do I love you – my oh my – Rivers deep mountains high – ye, ye, do I love you, me oh my….”

A cyclist silently came up alongside

“Creeping Jesus” how embarrassing, then again it happens to me a lot.

“Tina Turner?” he asked, by way of introduction, “Bit of a fan are we?”

“Yes, I guess you could say that”

He was riding a lightweight road bike, not top of the range but up there. He told me he had not ridden a bike much since his teenage years, but now working from home, he felt he needed to be out of the house a bit more, so dusted off his bike, he had just turned 40, so a bit of a middle-age thing going on too.

Surprisingly the conversation was not about bikes or great bike rides, but Tina Turner, it turned out that he was a bit of a fan himself, well she has been around since 1957, decades really. I still listen to some of her early stuff when she was performing with Ike Turner.

“Did you see ‘One last time live in concert’ from the Wembley Stadium?” I asked, “How did she keep up that level of performance on stage, I don’t know what she was on but I could do with some myself.”

“And what about that gantry” he chipped in “Extending way out over the audience?” So he had seen the concert.  “The runway could have only been a couple of meters wide and there she was dancing back and forward along its length, the woman knows no fear.”

“Yes, any other industry and the Health and Safety man would have closed her down” I agreed.

All her concerts follow a well-versed pattern, however they just kept on getting better – better musicians, great backing singers, professional dancers, that became part of the performance (filling in during changes and wee rests) and of course new numbers added- 24/7 for example.   

All too soon we were into the village of Pitscottie and him off to Cupar, me to St Andrews, you meet the nicest people on bikes.

I did remember to put my Garmin on the bike today so:

Distance 16.1 miles

Time 1:22:59

Average speed 11.65 mph

Max speed 28.87 mph

Ascent 692 ft

Calories burned 638

Stay safe.

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