I'm a man that likes a plan, I work in projects so every day I'm creating and executing different plans to get my projects over the line. If I'm going on holiday I like an itinerary, I want to know where I'm going, when I'm going and how much it's going to cost me before I leave. Even when I go bikepacking I have a GPX to follow, my bags have been meticulously packed so I know how to get to everything and I know where I want to stop.
On my last trip I had no plan, I knew I had time to get away for the night but I had no where to go, no time to be there and come Friday night my bags were still lying in the loft unpacked and as far away from my dirty uncared for bike as they could be. When I woke up on Saturday morning I was freaking out a little, where would I go? I decided to just jump on the bike and pedal, I had a rough idea of doing a loop through Fife and back but no route set out. I'd just go where ever took my fancy, and that's scary!
I set off around lunch time and headed out across the Kincardine bridge following cycle route 76 before cutting through a housing estate and into Devilla forest, this is where the exploring began. I've cut through the forest before but this time I played around for a while, rode some awesome bits of single track and generally arsed around. I eventually met up with the old railway line that forms route 764 to Dunfermline.
I followed this for a while but it's a long drag up hill the whole way so I cut off at Comrie and rode some new tracks through to Oakley where I joined the road again. A mix of quiet lanes, farm tracks and pushing through bushes trying to find tracks my garmin assured me were there took me round the outskirts of Dunfermline, it hadn't been the quickest way to cover the distance but I was riding tracks I'd never been on where I could and I was focusing on enjoying my riding rather than getting my head down and covering distance.
Heading North I had to double back on myself a couple of times as I attempted to find an offroad route to Kelty, eventually I found a way through the old St Ninians coal mine where I climbed a man made hill with 3 separate peaks on the top. When I arrived at the summit I discovered a path lined with old digger parts, a clear monument to the areas past use.
From here I headed into Kelty, I started to tire as I rode into the town so I stopped for a coffee and some food at a a local shop.By this time I was really starting to enjoy myself, the sun was out and I was soaking the scenery in, I decided to head for my old stomping grounds in the Lomonds so I set course for Kinross before taking the heritage trail around the outside of Loch Leven. I then pushed on up the Dryside road for a mile or 2 until I reached the entrance to Glen Vale, this is one of my favourite tracks to come down but unfortunately I was going in the opposite direction.
After I few hundred meters you come to a bridge crossing the burn, an idyllic spot for a wee break. Off came the socks and shoes and I let my feet soak in the burn while I ate the pie I'd bought for dinner. I could have sat here all night but although I was without a plan I wanted to get more miles in. The climb up Glen Vale was easy having just had a break and some food, I decided to ride the tracks around the reservoir rather than pushing up onto the shoulder of the West Lomond. Next up was the Maspie Den descent, a fast, flowing bit of single track that I know really well so I can really crank the gas on. The vegetation was really high so you couldn't see what was coming round the next corner but I just kept it pinned all the way down and it was worth it, a PB on the Strava segment and grinning from ear to ear, this is why I cycle, for moments like this!
A quick pint in Falkland and then I headed off towards Strathmiglo and back round to Auchtermuchty, my plan had been to meet my mate but I ended up visiting my Grandad who was unwell at the time first. By the time I'd been in to see Lee as well it was getting late and I needed to find somewhere to bivvy for the night. A plan was forming in my head of heading for Perth and getting a train home from there, I'd had a nice tail wind all day and didn't fancy cycling home into it. I took the back road out to Newburgh and from there the main road to Perth, searching all the time for somewhere to stick my head down for a few hours.
Eventually I got in at the back of a hedge between the road and a field somewhere before Abernethy and rolled out my bivvy kit, this was the first time I was going to try and sleep with just my bivvy bag, mat and a thin down quilt from Costco. Within five minutes of climbing in my bag it started raining so I was back up, pulled out my tarp and set it up in the drizzle. I was kind of glad of the excuse to be honest, it felt weird just lying in a bivvy bag at the side of a field, somehow the tarp made it acceptable in my head! It rained steadily all night but I was nice and dry, my quilt was plenty warm enough as well although I may have to sew a foot box into it to try and make it more liveable.
4 hours later my alarm went off, today's plan was to head for Perth and catch the first train home, if I'd make it back in time I'd be able to watch Lucy's gymnastics competition. It was hard to get going again, I'd probably only had an hours decent sleep and I was feeling it. A pit stop in Bridge of Earn for coffee and a roll perked me up and gave me the energy I needed to make it into Perth. It was an easy spin along the road and I was soon in the centre of the fair city. It was 06:30 and unfortunately I had 3 hours to wait on a train, that meant I wouldn't make it back for the gymnastics competition and I should have slept for another 3 hours! Never mind, I grabbed myself a McDonalds breakfast and then whiled away the time on the phone to my mate who was still up from the night before.
Having no plan freaked me out a little but it ended up being one of my favourite trips this year, I just went where the wind blew me and enjoyed myself, I'll definitely be doing it more often.