Recently Scotland has been doing a great impression which people from less soggy places would recognise as summer. This has opened up the possibility for flappy jerseys, cultivating tan lines and diversifying rides. Rather than a head down character building pedal from shelter to shelter there are now opportunities to explore parched singletrack meandering off into woods, partake in outdoor cooking and other such activities.
I have so far not been convinced by the emerging #coffeeoutside trend. The idea of burdening your bike with stoves and pots and sitting down to make stuff seems like a sure fire way to introduce a lot of faff to a perfectly good bike ride. Faff that could easily be avoided by simply buying a flat white and a pastry before jumping back on your bike to continue the pedal adventure. No packing, no washing up and no smooshed cakes. Superb.
Rich had bought a new stove/stem cell and was excited to try out his shiny cooking setup. Although the appeal of roadside artisanal coffee is somewhat lost on me I do enjoy sitting around in the sun so I strapped a mug to my saddle and was ready to go for a nice Sunday jaunt around East Lothian.
My real excitement was that this was new bike day and would be the first ride of my Dolan Seta. Parts had finally come together and no longer is this glorious crabon beauty sitting in a corner waiting for other projects to be completed. The Steamballer tried to capture the track attack vibe but it never really filled that uncompromising bike hole that the Kagero with its semi lo pro frame had left behind. The Steamroller always reminded me that its utilitarianism was only a few component changes away with its wide clearances, mud guard mounts and bottle cages. The Seta however is unapologetic about only wanting to be fast on nothing but tarmac or wood.
The weather forecast was pessimistic but we called its bluff, the clouds stayed away and our gamble paid off. Its been a while since I have gone on a ride that was gravel free and enjoyed the change of pace. Smoothly spinning along back roads in the warmth with minimal risk of surprise rocks and potholes was a pleasant change of pace. I had forgotten how relaxing riding is when you aren’t worrying about being poked in the face by a low hanging tree branch or death by a thousand nettle stings.
Soon the coffee cravings were too much and we set about looking for a suitable stop. After a few miles of looking for a countryside bench with a view we arrived in East Saltoun and set up next to an old fountain. Jetboils were configured, fingers were scalded by what seemed like instantaneous boiling water and soon coffee was brewing.
We stretched out in the sun, talked and enjoyed our hot beverages as we watched other cyclists go by unburdened with outdoor kitchen equipment but without an excuse to be lazy and enjoy the Sunday sun. They looked at us as they passed and I wondered if they were thinking that we had ruined a good cycle or if it was an envious glance before continued with their planned route. I was certainly satisfied with my choice, maybe there is something to this whole relaxed and highly caffeinated bike ride mindset.
Strava link here.
MAKE FIXED GEAR GREAT AGAIN