Go Forth

February is not known as a good cycling month, but suitably dressed it is still possible to have enjoyable days out.  A northerly wind meant it was important to think carefully about route choices and options for getting inside for lunch.

Last Thursday I had another of my four-weekly immunotherapy infusions.  The worst side-effect so far has been a small bruise on the back of my hand – this time there wasn’t even that.  The following day I had a scheduled visit to the oncologist in the morning to report on the CT scan done the week before.  The news was excellent!  Whatever had been on my lungs in previous scans was no longer visible, so either was never anything to worry about, or the drug has done its thing and so there’s no longer anything to worry about.  My treatment will continue through to June as planned.

Kenny and I had contingency options for cycling after my appointment.  I was on my bike and heading for the station less than ten minutes after my appointment time, so Plan A was to meet at Haymarket.  A signal fault at Dunblane meant that our train only went as far as Stirling, so we were on Plan C before we got off the train.

Multi arch stone bridge over the River Forth.  Blue sky is reflected in the river. The Wallace Monument is just visible above the far end of the bridge.
Forth Road Bridge, Stirling

We headed west from the station along a section of road that is in the process of being transformed.  A new cycle path is taking the place of a former road lane, and the pavement is being widened too.  When it is finished this looks like it will be an excellent route out of the city.  We soon reached the outskirts and followed a path under the motorway bridge. After crossing the main road, we crossed the Forth on another bridge closed to motor traffic.

A cyclist waves from a stone multi-arched bridge over the Forth.  The water below the bridge is a deeper blue than the sky above.
Forth Road Bridge, Raploch

The next section of the ride was across the Carse of Forth.  The land here is exceptionally flat, providing no shelter from the northerly wind.  When we were forced to turn in to the wind for half a mile or so, we were firmly reminded why our route was mainly avoiding doing that.

We climbed up the hill to Kippen where we’d planned to stop for lunch.  Warmed by the climb, and with shelter from the buildings, we decided to eat outside in the warm sun.  Soup and a sandwich still left room for a cake.  At the top of the village, we joined the pretty lane which avoids the slightly busier road for the rest of the climb.   We swooped down through Fintry then up to and along the Carron Valley Reservoir.

View across the Carron Valley Reservoir to low hills beyond.  The vegetation in the foreground is brown.  A weak sun shines from a blue sky with light clouds.
Carron Valley Reservoir

At the far end, we turned south and dropped down to join the Forth and Clyde Canal.  We followed this until we got to the Falkirk Wheel, where we joined the Union Canal to take us to our train at Falkirk High.

Trip boat moored beside the Falkirk Wheel.  The wheel towers above, its ends looking like enormous beaked heads.
Trip Boat at Falkirk Wheel

Saturday was the last one of the month, so Kenny and I also joined the Critical Mass bike ride for a gentle tour of the south of Edinburgh.  The traffic was sufficiently jammed up on Comiston Road that we had plenty of time to wait.  staying warm was much harder at the lower speeds. 

Critical Mass bike ride. Cyclists filling one side of the road as far as the eye can see.
Critical Mass waiting on Comiston Road

Kenny and I were out again on Sunday. This time we took a train to North Berwick and cycled home by an unusual route for us.  It took in a Sunday Lunch in the Garvald Inn – an experience we’ll be happy to repeat!

This morning, I cycled the ten mile round trip to Ocean Terminal to get a pneumococcal vaccine.  I’m feeling a bit wiped out after the vaccine, but I expect I’ll be fine again before my sixth medical appointment in a fortnight, a check-up on my eyes on Friday.