exo : rides


Sat, 15 Sep 2018


I don’t really need an excuse for a bike ride but it’s nice to have a reason. In this case a voucher for a free cake/pastry from a bakery. In Dunkeld.

So, lunch in Dunkeld it is.

The nice thing about this is it means new roads. There’s the usual run to Dundee and then it’s North and West and new roads all the way to Dunkeld. There’s a stop in Longforgan for water, which is a bit early, but a squiz at the map the night before didn’t turn up anywhere obvious between there and Dunkeld, and it’s moderately toasty.

It turns out the new roads are lumpy. Nothing substantial but constantly up and down, and a bit twisty too. Quite pleasant though and quieter than expected. Not entirely free of shops either which is useful to know for the future. Not entirely open either.

With closed roads that I know I’m usually willing to chance it, especially at the weekend when there’s not likely to be anyone working on it. On unknown roads though there’s always the chance that it’s closed because they’re fixing a bridge so the diversion it is. Quite a long diversion meaning my lunch by 12:30 goal isn’t going to happen.

As it turns out ten to one is lunch, and very nice it is too.

Post lunch I could just turn round and head back the same way but where would be the fun in that? Instead it’s under the A90 and off towards the Sma Glen. It’s also towards some not very pleasant looking weather. I’m sort of hoping that it’s just cloud hanging on to the top of the hills as I’ve gone a bit minimalist and only have a gilet and arm warmers for bad weather. Fortunately I seem to be skirting the edge of the grim so there’s wet roads but no rain.

The one disadvantage of new roads is not knowing where the hell you are so if the computer gets confused there’s a chunk of stopping and looking at phone maps to work out whats going on. And either the computer is very confused or it doesn’t have the route I thought it did; there is a lot of checking the phone between the bottom of the Sma Glen and Auchterarder. It doesn’t help that the roads aren’t at all what I was expecting. I grew up near here so I had an idea of what the roads would be like and, well, they aren’t. The run over the hill in to the back of Fowlis Wester feels impressively remote, not at all the pastoral farmland I imagined.

The rain hits at Auchterarder. It’s more of a strong drizzle but it’s a bit grim. The plan had been to head up and over the Ochils from Dunning but the top of them looks even more grim so I bail on that in favour of the run along the side of the Tay. That it avoids the 15% plus hill out of Dunning is something of a bonus.

Despite having done this more times than I can remember it’s a pleasant surprise to remember I don’t need to go through Wormit etc but can cut across the corner to St Michaels. Feeling slightly refreshed by this I pick up the pace, as much to see if I can and it’s not too bad. Not super quick but I’m a hundred plus miles in and it’s just nice to know I’m not too ruined.

It’s a nice loop. And even the road through the Sma Glen was pretty quiet which I wasn’t expecting. The run to Dunkeld is certainly worth repeating and there’s quite a few options to get back from there. A post ride look at the map makes me think that Dunkeld and then up to Pitlochry and then back over the hills from there is something to pencil in for the future.

Of course the weather the next day is lovely.

posted at: 11:44 #

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