Saturday, 9 May 2009


In August of 2008, my wife and I packed up our life in Boulder, Colorado and put most of it in the basement of my Grandfather's house in Minnesota. Then we hopped on a plane and landed in Scotland, where I work at a University. Our home for now is Dundee, which I like to describe as my ancestral homeland (my great grandparents emigrated from here around 1920) and the Scottish riviera (it's supposedly the sunniest place in Scotland. And it's on the water!)

Over the years that we lived in Boulder, I came to really enjoy bicycling. The town is a hotbed of cyclists, with lots of amazing trails, road rides, and bike shops. (Also lots of amazingly fit riders.) I moved out there in 2002 with my 1994 Bianchi Ocelot. I had two bikes before this, the BMX-style bike I learned to ride on, and a Diamondback mountain bike-style that got stolen after something like two years. This was the first bike I had a part in buying, I think I went halves on it with my parents. Through high school and college this bike got a bit a bit abused due to lack of any sort of knowledge about keeping bikes running cleanly. I think I used WD40 on the chain more than once.

The first week I was in Boulder, I bought a 2003 Gary Fisher Hoo Koo E Koo. This was the first time I'd ridden with suspension, and I loved it. I spent a couple years exploring the trails around Boulder, then had a few scary over-the-bars incidents that put me off mountain biking for a while. So I got a 2003 Giant OCR2 road bike, and the Hoo Koo sat unused for a while. I commuted almost daily on this, and started getting more and more into road riding. The canyons and roads around Boulder make for some fantastic rides. The highlight-ride I'll always remember is a long climb up a canyon through the strange town of Ward, rollers along the scenic peak-to-peak highway, and then a screaming 20 mile descent down another canyon back to the flats and another 20 miles of cool-down with beautiful views of the mountains.

In the last year or two in Boulder, after I'd forgotten the scary crashes, I got back into mountain biking with a vengeance. I started hitting Hall ranch semi-weekly with a guy from work, and the new trails at Heil ranch made that place a lot more fun to ride. My increased fitness from the road biking certainly helped too, letting me focus more on the technical bits rather than worry about the hills so much. I had a couple more over-the-bars moments, but nothing to make me want to give up mountain biking again. One ride I'll always remember clearly is an after-work loop around Heil Ranch- I was moving faster than usual, since I was fighting darkness, and it started lightly misting as I climbed up the Wild Turkey trail. Climbing up through the trees with just enough mist to keep you cool, all alone, and then coming to an overlook of Longs peak as sunset began- that was an amazing moment.

Anyway- when we packed up our life into a basement, that included our bicycles. We thought that when we got here, we'd pick up some bikes and use them for transport. Then we got a taste of the narrow roads and the driving habits of the Scottish driver. Peering down the front of a double decker bus at a cyclist mere feet ahead as the driver waited to pass was enough to put me off the idea of commuting the ~15 miles through Fife to get to work.

When spring sprang up, though, and the days started getting longer, the itch took hold and I really started wanting to get back on a bike. Additionally, we found out we'd be on this island for three more years, and that's way too long to go cycle-less. I'll write about what I ended up with shortly, but I now hope to commute once or twice a week by bike and hopefully ride some local trails when I get the chance. I have no hopes for any readership of this blog- I mostly want a place to collect my biking links, muse about riding, post some pictures, and have a place to look back in a few years and find some memories recorded.

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