The Bairn has taken to biking like a, well… Like a wee lassie whose dad is mad about bikes.
For Christmas Santa brought her a scooter but we’ve not been out and about on it much. The underused secondhand tricycle we carted down the road from Nairn over a year ago has instead become the vehicle of choice.
A few times now we’ve been down the street and around the block, and on at least a couple of occasions we’ve been a fair distance to a play park and back. Amazingly I don’t have to stoop and push terribly often - she’s pretty self-propelling.
|Flouting the rules. That's my girl!|
We’re lucky in that although we’re in a town centre and near some busy roads we do have a few areas of wide pavement and we don’t have to go too far to find some paths away from traffic and into parks or onto the links at the beach.
I guess at some point the scooter will take over and then it’ll be fun to see if we can move on to a balance bike or similar. I think one of our pals whose son is a few years older than the Bairn has offered a bike he’s outgrown, and we can take it away later this year.
Bizarrely the Honest Toun has been without a bike shop for a few years. The place is often swarming with cyclists and the route through from Edinburgh out along the coast towards North Berwick is incredibly popular with MAMILs. Thankfully a bike shop has just opened at the Fisherrow end of town. Ace Bike Co behind the Brunton Theatre already appears to be doing brisk trade and quite how they resisted ticking me off for the state of my commuting bike when I took it in for a service I’ll never know. I do sort of miss the mannie from the Nairn bike shop who used to roll his eyes and sigh whenever I hirpled my mud-caked calamity of a bike across his threshold for inspection.
To make the most of my freshly tuned machine (I was genuinely thrilled at having all 24 gears available again) I took it out for a bit of a thrashing around the B roads of East Lothian.
|Skies beginning to bruise over Macmerry|
Then a great freewheel downhill towards the sunset over the Pentland Hills, through Inveresk and into Musselburgh. Total trip? Probably 20 miles.
Of course there are some great tracks and paths, in particular the old railway lines. Occasionally there is talk of trying to revive the Longniddry-Haddington line but I reckon it’d be pretty pricey. It is weird that the county town isn’t on the rail network and bus services are so shoddy. Of course if the line was reinstated we’d have to find a fresh route for bicycles and I can only imagine that would mean a route on roads. Something of a backwards step as the old rail routes provide such a safe place to cycle, especially for kids.
It probably makes more sense to improve the bus services. However, the rail line does go through East Linton and it’s a thriving wee community so I can see a case for opening a station there.
As for opening new stations I’m already imagining a future bike trip when the Bairn’s older in which we cycle along the old line to Dalkeith, hop on the new train service to the Borders at the new Eskbank station, alight at Tweedbank, pootle around the backroads and forests of Selkirk, Gala and Melrose and hop on the Waverley line back home having loaded up on tea and slabs of buttered bannock.
Epicurus, the ancient PR account executive for joy and simplicity, said: “Bread and water confer the highest possible pleasure.”
I reckon the modern equivalent must be bikes, trains and cakes.