Two Men, Two Bikes, One Wall

After the success of yesterday’s run, today I was exhausted. The weather was horrific, and we found ourselves having to pedal hard to get DOWNhill.

On my account, we had to take several extended breaks, which had us arrive in Stornoway, isle of Lewis, half an hour outside of our target window. I just collasped into bed. In less than 6 hours we’d be on a ferry to Ullapool.

Tried to call Claire, but couldn’t get through. Miss her. Hug her for me, Aberites.

Miles today: 57
Miles total: 170 (+2, wrong turn)

Two Men, Two Bikes, One Wall

You get to your third day of an exercise that your body isn’t used to and you hit the wall: the point at which your body runs out of all it’s immediate sources of energy and has to start the complicated chemical reactions that break down fat into sugars.

You know this has happened because suddenly every muscle in your body starts begging you to curl up into a ball and go to sleep.

For me, this happened half-way up a 700-metre mountain on the island of Harris, on day three. During a hailstorm. And a gale.

Two Men, Two Bikes, Six Islands

Farmer at Berneray warned us that Stornoway, where we’d be tomorrow night, was a bed of sin, with young people drinking at taking drugs (this is a town barely larger, and more isolated, than Aberystwyth). He’d lived his entire life on this tiny island, and knew everybody on it, and it therefore stood to reason that my dad should know everybody in Lancashire. He threw some names of previous guests from Lancs. at him, and asked if he knew them.

Miles today: 72, fast – a good run.
Miles total: 113

Two Men, Two Bikes, Six Islands

Just wrote a fantastic piece about the islands we visited on our second day’s cycling only to have this shitty device eat it. So here’s a summarry:

Barra – small. Cycled over mountain, took ferry North.
Eriskay – tiny fishing community.
South Uist – long, flat, full of highland cattle and sheep. Heavily Catholic.
Benbecula – picturesque.
North Uist – hillier, wetter. Protestant.
Berneray – tiniest of all. We stayed with a sheep farmer and his wife, and ate fantastic home-grown food from their croft.

Two Men, Two Bikes, One Mission

The keyboard on this tacky little GPRS device is crap, and I just lost this entire entry to bad user interface design (if you press the biggest button on the device, it throws it all away):

My dad and I drove to Glasgow, arriving this morning at about 2am. Then, up at 8am for the first leg of our bike ride around Scotland. Train to Crainlarich, then cycled the 42 miles or so to Obar.

Good bits: downhilling, meeting some highland cattle, eating lots of Dextrose.

Bad bits: getting really, really wet, using this shitty thing, shoelaces caught in pedals, twice, not being fit enough.

Now we’re on the ferry from Oban to Barra. Look it up yourself, I’m not posting a link. We’ve just waved to Mull. Can’t believe this is a five-hour ferry journey. Don’t think I’ve ever spent so long on a ferry and not had to wind my watch back or forward an hour.

Oh, and have met other cyclists on the ferry. But that’s not terribley interesting.

And I’m Off

[this post has been partially damaged during a server failure on Sunday 11th July 2004, and it has been possible to recover only a part of it]

[additional fragments were recovered on 13 October 2018]

Off to Scotland, that is, where I’ll be spending a long weekend cycling and island-hopping. I’ve got a brief stop in Preston for tea with my folks before I catch the train up to Scotland… but for now, I need to do some laundry, get a train ticket, and get out of Aber.

I’ll be back on Tuesday night, if anybody’s interested. My mobile’s not making outgoing calls at the moment (forgot to pay my bill, now can’t afford to – at least until my paycheque comes in), so if you call and you can’t get through (not unlikely: I’ll be hitting some low-signal areas) try my dad’s mobile number (Claire has it) or drop me a text – not an answerphone message.

Odds are very high that I won’t be anywhere near an internet connection, so don’t expect ‘blog updates or participation in the usual forums, either.

It’s a shame I won’t be here to see Kit off as he moves to Scotland (coincidence?) this weekend. But hey, at least I don’t have to help him pack and/or carry boxes around.

Oh; and I think you should all…