Around the Pond: 5000 km on the North Sea Cycle Route

I manage to pack my tent while it is still dry, but as I depart it starts to rain. During the morning the rain increases in strength. After a while I put on my rain gear.

The countryside is hilly, and covered with fields. The last part of today's tour uses the Formatine & Buchan Way, a former railway line, now used as a foot and cycle path. This is a nice change, since it is mostly highways here in scotland. But it has been raining the last few days, and the ground is soggy and a bit too soft for riding. Every few kilometers, where the track crosses a road, is a gate to keep out the cars. These gates have an opening for bicycles, but they have not been designed with laden recumbent bikes in mind (or with any laden bikes, or bikes with a trailer...). I have to to some heavy lifting every time I reach such a point.

Somewhere on that track I have my first (and only) flat tire on this tour. A bang, a short hiss, and the rear wheel is flat. At first I fear that the tire itself is torn, or that the valve is damaged. Luckily the rain has abated a bit, so I detach the bags and dismantle the tire. It turns out that only the inner tube has a small tear. That can be fixed easily. Everything else seems to be OK. What hinders the repair a bit is the fact that you can't turn a recumbent bike upside down to remove the wheel.

It is already 5 p.m. as I finally re-assemble and load my bike. There is no camping site nearby. The next town is Ellon, just a few kilometers down the road. I decide to look for a room there. I find three hotels, but all are booked. However, in the last Hotel the receptionist takes a pity and makes a call to a B&B to get me a room. Another three or four kilometers, and I reach Balmacassie House B&B. I get a very friendly reception, a nice, big room under the roof, and a place to put my bike.

Day 65 - August 6th: Portsoy - Ellon


Portsoy - Banff - Turriff - Maud - Ellon


Distance: 79.34 km
Cycle time: 5:17 h
Average speed: 14.97 kmh
Height difference: 712 m
Total distance: 3538 km
© Thomas Stets
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