There is magic right behind your front door – A day out around Edinburgh’s Firth of Forth
It was a rather spontaneous decision to head out to explore some bits of the paths around the Firth of Forth a bit more. after fixing my singlespeed MTB I couldn’t wait to get out and see if the combination of improvements on the recently converted CUBE Ltd frame, which consisted of a new gear ratio (32-18), new chain (KMC 610HX), freshly serviced fork, new saddle (Specialized Phenom SL 130), new riser bars and stem (Race Face Deus) and freshly bled front brake, worked in reality. Simple answer, it did, I had a ball on the bike! There are still some tweeks to be done, the new XT hub waits to be built in a new wheel, new tyres are in the mail as I write this, I treated myself to a rather cheap new neoprene chain guard and a bunch of new brake pads for the mud to come, and a much needed seat post clamp will be ordered tonight. Other than that the bike is a beauty and works fantastic, and the new gear ratio worked great to get up almost everything today, some of the pushing was due to my lack of riding trails recently. Summed up: I have now a second singlespeed in the shed which will be seem more often on the trails soon.
Apart from the satisfaction that I managed to successfully converted a geared into a single geared bike myself, today was the perfect example for the fact that adventures can begin right in front of your front door, especially if you live in Scotland. All you need is some fantastic winter sun, a calm and frosty day and a gem of a town like Edinburgh. Originally I had planned to cycle the Fife Coastal Path from Inverkeithing to Dundee to test the bike, but it was clear that this was a prospect unlikely to happen as soon as I got to the coast heading towards Queensferry. As much as I liked my last trip cycling home and back to Germany from Edinburgh, but I didn’t really have proper time to play with the camera. And as soon as I took the first picture today I was hooked again and knew that distance would be not important at all today. Being on a singlespeed MTB helped as well, the beauty of mountain biking best summed up in ROAM with the following words: ‘To roam is to search for something new. On a mountain bike you can cover a great distance in a short period of time, or a short distance in a great period of time. They say that the journey can be more important than the destination. In mountain biking there is no destination. Just a bike, a rider and a place to ride.’
And so I had a fabulous day covering a short distance in a long preiod of time. I did some exploring of the tracks that branch off the main track from Dalmeny House to Queensferry, passed the Eagle’s Rock with a great view towards the Fife Coast and Cramond Island, then headed through South Queensferry and over the Forth Road Bridge to North Queensferry. Don’t ask me exaclty where I went from there, as I carried the bike up the steps after the bridge and had half an hour of gorse bashing on top of the hill, went through North Queensferry towards Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay. On the way I stopped and looked at some diving action in a lake, before heading out to St. Bridget’s Kirk. From there I followed to Fife Coastal Path until the tun-off to Braefoot Point. This was a wicked place to test the bike, with loads of trails tucked away in the forest surrounding the former gun battery. Especially the rocky and technical descent down to the actual point was second to none in terms of good mountain biking, and sitting on the bottom at an abandoned pier looking at the Forth Rail Bridge to the right and the silhouettes of Edinburgh’s hills to the left was stunning. Everything here reminded me of all those fabulous trails in Wellington I so dearly miss, but this was a great place to be instead with the bike. I did some more exploring, eager to return soon, and headed towards Aberdour. As it was frosty the whole day I decided to end a brilliant day here with a coffee and take the train back to Edinburgh. I was surprised that I was the only one on the train with a bike. With so much great stuff to see there should have been more bikes and like minded people. But then again there wouldn’t have been any space on the train, so this time I really didn’t mind, took some more pictures on the train and headed home to Edinburgh with great pictures and memories of those great days passed and to come, on a mountain bike!