Monday, 21 July 2014

Who Let The Dogs Out?

Cycling can present many challenges, steep hills, strong head winds, hard saddles and inconsiderate motorists being amongst them, but an added hazard can be Man's Best Friend, the dog. More accurately, it is not just the Best Friend but also the Man (or Woman) accompanying them who is part of the problem. Most of my rides take place along waggonways, cycle paths and bridleways which are very popular with cyclists but also very popular with dog walkers. On a recent trip to the Cycle Hub and back, a distance of about thirty miles, I counted the dogs along the route. On the way there I passed fifteen dogs, five of which were on the lead, and two cats (neither of which were on the lead) and on the way back there were thirteen dogs (seven on the lead) and no cats. This is fairly typical in my experience. So what? Why should this be a problem to a cyclist?

Those of you who use Strava, the mobile app, for logging cycle activities will be familiar with segments. They are a specific section of a route created by users for the purpose of comparing performance over time. One segment on NCN 72 is called Dog Dirt Dash. The reason is obvious. Not all owners clean up after their dog. As well as having a spare tube and a puncture repair kit in my bag, I also carry latex gloves - just in case I have to remove a tyre which has passed through something nasty.
Of course some dog owners do clean up - but get the final step wrong.
Hedgerows are festooned with discarded dogs' colostomy bags.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Cycle Challenge 2015

The weekend of 23rd - 25th May 2015 will see Seaton Sluice Backpedalers undertake their third long distance cycle ride. The chosen route is from Edinburgh to Seaton Sluice along the Coast & Castles cycle path following National Route 1, a total distance of 186 miles.

The breakdown is as follows:
Day 1 - Edinburgh to Melrose, 55 miles.
Day 2 - Melrose to Purdy Lodge, 69 miles.
Day 3 - Purdy Lodge to Seaton Sluice, 62 miles.

According to the Coast & Castles Guide, this is the wrong way round. Most people start in Newcastle and finish in Edinburgh. The reasoning is:
  1. The prevailing wind is likely to be south to north, and
  2. Edinburgh is a nicer place to finish than Seaton Sluice!
The first point is highly debatable. As regular cyclists in the north-east of England we are aware of trends in wind direction and are prepared to take our chance. If we're cycling into a head wind we'll get our heads down and get on with it. As regards the second point, what could be better than arriving home to a welcome from friends, families and supporters? Judging from our previous experience, the Delaval Arms is a pretty good place to finish.