Cycling Across Britain, Day 20: More surprises, more fun people

Miles: 41, Town nearest to hostel: Invermoriston (on Loch Ness)

7 August 2011

The good news is that my bike is much, much cleaner than it was yesterday. I was worried that it was looking a bit too grimy, very unfashionable. The less than good news is what made my bike so very tidy, water, lots of water, lots. The rain today was a proper Scottish shower. Even the Scots told me it was an impressive rain. I didn’t want to have my camera washed, so once again, I didn’t take many pictures. The rain didn’t reach the point of being unsafe, but it did reach uncomfortable a few times.

One such time, I was pushing my bike up a long hill. I  stopped at the top to have a snack, when an older couple cycled by. I was just about to call out, “I’m impressed you made it up that hill.” when the man yelled something at me, “Would you like a coffee or tea?” I was cold and tired, so I yell back “sure.” He said they had a caravan at the top of the hill, which is a camper for American readers. He added that he would put his bright red jacket in front, so I could find it. Even with all the friendly folks I’ve met and generosity I received, I was still surprised that a couple would cycle up a hill, see me pushing my bike, and offer a coffee to me in their caravan.

I found the caravan easily enough. We introduced ourselves, and unfortunately, I forgot their names. The man told me that we talked yesterday, when I stopped at the Glen Coe Visitors Centre. At the time, I was looking for a place to spend the night and noticed the man looking at my bike, so we chatted a while.

Back to today, the man wanted to cycle the LEJOG route. His wife and son came with and took turns driving the caravan and cycling. They invited me inside, made me a coffee, and a sandwich. We exchanged cycling stories and had a few laughs. I left re-energized, partly because I’ve only had coffee about once a week since I started.

I started by saying the good news was that my bike was clean. Some other good news is that it had 2 inflated tires, all day. The front wheel is making some noise, once a rotation. My guess is that it’s rubbing against the front brake, but I’m just too tired to see if it’s a problem, tired physically and tired of repairs.

On this very rainy day, some more good news came up. I’m sitting in a youth hostel on Loch Ness while I write this, at a window overlooking the loch. No, Nessie isn’t showing up, but even better, a “busking group” is playing some incredible music. There’s about 7 musicians. About 2 guys playing acoustic guitar, one playing a yukallalee, one on a base, one on a clarinet, and at least one instrument I don’t recognize. I love this kind of music, which is always better when there are no amplifiers. I honestly don’t know why so many bands must have an amp. Even more impressive, the entire band  is cycling the same route I am. They cycle for a while, play for a while to make some money, an cycle some more. These are the kind of treats that seem to come up in youth hostels.

I need to stop writing and enjoy the band.

2 thoughts on “Cycling Across Britain, Day 20: More surprises, more fun people

  1. Steven

    Just got round to checking your progress. Richard and I met on your day 3 or 4 ? up on Dartmoor – Fox Tor cafe. Seems like you are having a great trip. Best wishes for the last few days.

    Cheers

    David

  2. Good to hear from you David! The coffee and treat you bought me was the first of a few friendly moments I’ve enjoyed on this trip. I’m happy to say that I’ve learned a lot more about climging hills since you past me on day 3 or 4. Thanks for adding comment. How long did you have to wait for your friends to show up, on their journey south?

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