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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Better of ED: E-Bike Graveling Route #1

“I’m by no means happier than once I’m writing.”
~ Ed Hood, as spoken to Martin Williamson from the passenger seat, driving alongside a stage route on the Tour de France.

Expensive Readers – Our beloved colleague and buddy Ed Hood suffered a severe stroke in February.  We don’t count on Ed will make it again into our bunch, so we’ve began a GoFundMe web page to assist Ed together with his future.  Learn the complete submit right here – and please contemplate donating.

** Click on this hyperlink to donate to the GoFundMe web page to assist Ed **

We’ll be posting a number of Ed’s work from the previous 16 years, as a result of nice story-telling by no means will get outdated.

Ed’s Native E-Bike Gravel Ramble: As an alternative of capturing over the Channel to ‘Race Chase’ the Classics or the Tour de France, Ed Hood has been getting higher acquainted together with his native paths, because of his Ribble gravel e Bike. Right here is one in every of his favorite gravel rambles.

Ed’s Ribble e Bike – Very a lot at house in Scotland

I’d been that means to get again into semi-serious bike using for some time however a prognosis of spinal stenosis, which doesn’t have an effect on on a regular basis life an excessive amount of however which is rattling sore when you’re urgent exhausting on the pedals, made it tough.

Then got here the, ‘Eureka!’ second – an e Bike.

I’m fortunate the place I keep; simply yards from the Fife Coastal Path, so an ‘e Gravel Bike’ was the selection. I plumped for the Ribble machine, not like many e Bikes which have lumps, bumps and protuberances the Ribble has the motor within the rear hub and the battery throughout the down tube. To the informal observer, aside from what may very well be an ejector seat button on the highest tube, it’s indistinguishable from a traditional machine. The Coastal Path is for pedestrians and cyclists solely, operating proper around the Coast of the peninsula which types the Kingdom of Fife, 117 miles from Kincardine on the River Forth to Newburgh on the River Tay. I hope to trip all of it over time, not in a single go, I’m too outdated for that, moderately a bit at a time. It is sensible to begin in Kirkcaldy, not so removed from the place I stay in Dysart.

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Harbour Bar

The place else however at of my favorite bars; ‘The Harbour’ has simply modified possession, the earlier landlord, Nick died final 12 months, sadly. The brand new proprietor tells me that he’s going giant on Belgian beers, our first go to is scheduled for tonight.

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Ravenscraig Citadel

First cease after a brief part of gravel single monitor across the again of Kirkcaldy Harbour is Ravenscraig Citadel, a fortress from 1460, on a rock outcrop with a commanding view of the Forth. It was one of many first fortresses constructed to resist cannon fireplace with partitions as much as nearly 4 metres thick. Subsequent up was a trudge alongside the seashore, pushing the bike, the sand was tender and one has to surprise how Freddy Maertens used to do his coaching runs within the sand.
I like the Ribble however mild it isn’t – nonetheless, whenever you push the button as much as max of the three enhance ranges on tarmac or gravel the burden turns into irrelevant.

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Again within the day of the fortress there have been no supermarkets so that you needed to make your personal preparations for victuals. Ravenscraig had a ‘beehive doocot’ – that’s ‘dovecote’ in English. Pigeons had been inspired to nest in there and have become a supply of eggs and meat for the occupants of the fortress. The horizontal ridges operating across the doocot had been to cease rats operating up the partitions and getting in to ravage the doos.

Gravel paths now, the Ribble’s pure atmosphere which it handles with aplomb, these huge 47 mm tyres are very grippy however responsive. The trail runs by means of Ravenscraig Park, the place the perimeter wall follows the coast line, each cove and promontory. There are two tales in regards to the wall, one is that it was constructed by the Earl of Roslyn to forestall miners taking shortcuts by means of what again then was his personal park. However the different is that he commissioned it to supply work for locals in a time of want. Into my house village of Dysart now, when you’re an ‘Outlander’ fan then you definately’ll recognise the setting, it featured within the collection as a French sea port.

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Dysart Harbour

The roofless constructing on the suitable was supposed as a whale oil processing facility to make the most of neighbouring Kirkcaldy’s burgeoning whaling trade however the Earl of Roslyn vetoed that on the grounds that he didn’t need the odor of boiling blubber wafting as much as his house at Dysart Home.

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Pan ha’

Just a little methods previous the harbour lies the Pan Ha’ – a row of restored sixteenth to 18th century homes, as soon as fishermen’s properties however now extremely wanted. Saint Serf’s tower behind the homes was a part of the now gone church however was additionally a lookout tower to provide warning of marauders arising the Forth. The Identify Pan Ha’ stems from the times when there have been salt pans right here, huge metallic, sea water crammed pans beneath which coal fires burned to evaporate off the water and go away the valuable salt which was exported out of the harbour to England and the Low International locations. The structure betrays Dysart’s hyperlinks with The Netherlands and Belgium with ‘crow step’ gables and purple pantiles contributing to Dysart’s outdated nickname of, ‘Little Holland.’

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Woman Blanche

The Woman Blanche pit stood simply alongside from the Pan Ha’ and a tunnel lead direct from the pit all the way down to the harbour the place it was loaded on to the ships for export to the Low International locations and Baltic. The 2 flights of tough steps which take the Path up from sea stage to increased floor aren’t a enjoyable push – however I inform myself, ‘it’s all a part of my work out.’

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Frances Colliery

On the jap fringe of the village is one other of the only a few reminders of Fife’s as soon as large coal trade, the preserved winding tower of the Frances Colliery. The Frances workings had been linked beneath the Forth to the Seafield Colliery which stood on the western finish of Kirkcaldy. Nothing stays of Seafield, a housing scheme now sprawls over the positioning. The fallout from the miners’ strike within the 80’s put an finish to each pits nonetheless – Kirkcaldy and Dysart have by no means actually recovered from the blow. ‘The pits’ of their heyday introduced prosperity to The Kingdom however at a value; not simply by way of a number of lovely seashores spoiled by 1000’s of tons of pit waste but in addition in human lives misplaced.

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One of many particular issues for me in regards to the Coastal Path is the rock outcrops approaching the village of West Wemyss the place, when the tide is out the seals lay and solar themselves; lately the brand new pups have began to look – a deal with for the senses as they wiggle within the daylight and sing their songs.

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Michael Colliery catastrophe

Approaching the village of East Wemyss is a flat space the place stood the Michael Colliery. A brief distance in land from the Path, up in East Wemyss there’s a memorial to the 9 males who misplaced their lives within the Michael Colliery catastrophe of 1967 when fireplace ravaged the seams.

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Again down on the Path some sections have succumbed to the pressure of the North Sea, erosion now a serious drawback for coastal areas however fortunately, Donald Trump has advised us that we’re imagining international warming.

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The Jimmy Shand memorial

East Wemyss was the birthplace of accordion taking part in legend, Jimmy Shand – the village’s most well-known son has his personal memorial, simply off the Path.

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Wemyss Caves

Just a little additional east are the Wemyss caves, a few of which have Pictish artwork on their partitions and one was a doocot cave for close by McDuff Citadel. It’s unhappy that so little has been carried out to protect these historic gems.

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The steps to MacDuff’s Citadel

There are extra stairs to complete this a part of the Path as much as MacDuff Citadel; ‘again within the day’ there have been no steps right here, only a steep gravel path which was too steep for a giant outdated boy like me to trip – happening was fairly wild although.

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MacDuff’s Citadel

MacDuff’s Citadel is in a sorry state now however was as soon as house to essentially the most highly effective household in Fife within the center ages, though nothing survives from this era. The current ruins are the stays of the house of the Wemyss household, who lived right here from the 14th century, and their successors within the sixteenth century.

*With Secteur One of many path within the bag, it’s time to go again house alongside the coast street and residential – Secteur Two to observe.*

# You’ll be able to examine Ed’s journey from time trial bike to Ribble e Bike HERE. #

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