We headed to Edinburgh in the early morn and found it incredibly difficult to park, so we had to venture into the valley ( not really thinking about how we would get the bike up to the castle).
Ed, Ian, Miss CoBi and I had a practice run ( you would have thought we might have tried the bike before setting off for a month long endurance ride) and then turned onto our first hill up to Princess Street (just the three of us!). We appealed to random passers by for pedal power, and some lovely old guy named Ronnie/Ernie(we’re not sure) hopped on and stayed with us for 3 hours. I needed a pee, and so ran into the Co-op, in which time a sweet old lady had donated £5 to our cause (spend a penny make a few pounds, that’s my motto, do you think it will catch on?).
I have never steered a vehicle on public roads, and I have no knowledge of the Highway Code, so what better time to start than on the main road through Edinburgh? I only cut-up one or two buses before Ed took over and crashed into a bollard (OK it might have been me who crashed into a pollard).
The good people at Beefeater offered us free lamb, chicken and steak, which was really nice (NO, NOT AS GOOD AS PIPER’S FARM, ED) and then we climbed up the the Royal Mile. The cobbles played havoc with our cobblers, and I decided this probably wasn’t the best day to wear jeans.
The castle was beautiful and we took some beautiful shots – everyone was so interested and supportive and suddenly the pounds started rolling in which was a nice surprise (drinks on me – JOKE).
The lovely Lewis, the self-proclaimed king of Scotland helped pedal for a while, singing his song, kilt a-flapping (we didn’t look); some lovely American girls came along for a bit and then invited us out clubbing in town – tree, barking, wrong, up? We were given $3 by a minted Indonesian business man, who treated us as his personal tour guides for half an hour. Ed tried his Thai out on an unsuspecting Thai family, and we learnt Ian is a really good cyclist (knowledge I am sure he wished we did not possess).
The Critical Mass group saw us, hunted us down, and insisted they escort us through the streets back to our van, sticking two fingers up to all motorsied vehicles – 2 wheel good, four wheels bad (unless you are a CoBi bike).
It was brilliant to be in Edinburgh; we were photographed more than Lady Gaga, generated more interest than RBS, and finally realised we might actually be able to do this (although everyone keeps warning us, the climbs will be longer, steeper and much harder).
After a great day, we drove to Dundee to stay with The Baldwins, where I met a gorgeous maincoon cat named Rocky (that is the most interesting bit so far, yes?). After supper Ed delivered the most profound statement, ‘we can flatten the hills with our minds’ …. The room went silent, then everyone laughed.
We still need volunteers for the Scottish legs, please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help. We are fully prepared for wild camping but if you can offer us food or shelter please phone our project manager Sophie on 07958527107.Please check back soon for more travel reports and updates.
Jack, Ed, Ian and Miss CoBi