Ride to the Sun (Edinburgh / Carlisle) (Jun 2017)

17-18th June 2017

I can’t remember how this started, I know I signed up on the 11th of
November and Simon was involved in planting the seed; in fact Simon was
the one who made me aware of it. I believe it went along the lines of
“So you’ve done relentless and you’re giving up MTB for a bit, how about
this, it’s a bit like the Dunwich Dynamo but in Scotland so it won’t
actually get dark”

I don’t exactly need much convincing of a
challenge, and as much as riding from Carlisle to Edinburgh overnight
sounds like a challenge, the route was only 162Km and there’s a bit of a
logistical problem there too!

Parking the motorhome up at
Cramond beach car park early on Saturday morning I planned to get a bit
of a snooze before meeting up with another fife rider who had given me a
route down, unfortunately he needed to bail at the last minute so
instead I set off early; spinning through Edinburgh as Saturday business
kicked off for the day the weight of my touring bike showing it’s hand
on the climb up to the bypass; I had intended to use my road bike but a
failed gear cable and bottom bracket has seen it consigned to my LBS for
repairs and not being happy with the bike I borrowed off a mate for the
distance I stuck with the bike I knew.

I rolled on at a
comfortable pace reaching a busy Peebles earlier than expected I wasn’t
impressed with the choice of Costa or Greggs, so I pressed on hoping for
food at Cardrona or Traquair; mistake!

Thankfully I didn’t need
to press on in the heat to Moffat unsatiated as I rolled down
Mountbenger the George Arms was busy selling lunches and gave respite
before the climb over the watershed and county march to take me past the
Grey Mare’s tail and into Moffat

From Moffat my route duplicated
the ride North down beside the A74(M) a rather boring ride along the
B7076 which is the old A74 giving some spots such as abandoned petrol
stations and repurposed little chefs along with a terrible surface.

again and aware the Start of RttS was far from food shops in Carlisle I
paused again to raid the fridge of a petrol station in Longtown, this
was also handily the start of near constant down hill to the meeting

The rather more sensible Simon was sitting waiting for me
and after short discussion we decided to set off slightly early like
many I had passed on the way in due to our expected low speed. By now
the sun was beginning to lower in the sky, shining brightly directly
into our eyes as we climbed towards Lockerbie where the road swings

Arriving in Moffat at Sunset we got stuck in to a plate of
chips and an extended rest (the queue put the Ainster Fish bar to
shame); as we queued groups arrived and departed and a bowser full of
water was disgorged into bidons ready for the highlight of the ride.

off in the darkness under the still sky blue sky it was clear we were
gaining height, house lights pierced the darkness of the valley below
and a string of blinking tail lights rose toward the sky. The Devil’s
Beeftub is not a difficult climb, it is neither steep nor technical but
its 10Km at a 3% gradient in the dark was fantastic.

As too was
the descent off the otherside down to Tweedsmuir where at just before
1am the darkest part of the night, the Crook Inn although closed was
playing host to a CycloRave with Bananaman handing out Bananas to the
sleep deprived and possibly hallucinating riders.

Leadburn was
the next mental target, from there it’s almost all downhill, through
Penicuik at 3am we were on target to arrive at Cramond before Sunrise
the sky was lightening over the Pentlands, but my mind was tiring and I
called to Simon to go straight on to Bilston rather than slip right up
to Damhead; in daylight a critical failure as it takes you into the
madness that is Ikea traffic, it meant descending into Edinburgh to the
wrong end of the New Town; the sky now very light behind Arthur’s Seat.

the error by crossing the Meadows we found our way onto the Queensferry
road and picking up speed rolled into the finish crowd Cramond
Foreshore at 0420 moments before the Sun started to rise over Fife.

course there was still the matter of needing to sleep before heading
home, as I rolled into the overcab bed Simon told me he was heading out!
A few hours later having been woken by a backthrottling Pratt and
Whitney or possibly Rolls Royce I was aware Simon hadn’t yet returned;
over 3 hours later. Wandering back down to the now near deserted
esplanade, Simon and a couple of other hardy soles were sleeping out in
the open air. Looks like I need to Rule #5.

Niall Stats:

Distance: 335.6Km

Moving Time: 15hrs 45min 45sec

Moving Average: 21.3Kmh

Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/1042751044

  • Report by Niall
  • Who was there: Me, Simon and around 600 other nutters