Forth Fat, Bruce – aka; Coastkid’s social gathering on the East Coast of Scotland in North Berwick. The idea of Forth Fat is simple, ride fat bikes and socialise. After making the journey last year I was keen to be involved again in a great weekend of bikes and beer!!
After unpacking my gear in the superb wigwams on the Tantallon campsite I strolled into town with my mate John for a couple of beers at The Ship Inn. The Ship was to be the unofficial Headquarters for the weekend’s shenanigans! The intended couple of beers turned into quite a few more.
Friday morning came with the sun shining in a clear blue sky which was to be the case over the weekend. The focus today was to get down to Law Cycles as Patrick Joscelyne from ISON Distribution had a fleet of Surly’s ready for a demo. I had an hour on an Ice Cream Truck down on the coast which was a blast. It made very light work of riding on soft sand. Others were grinning from ear to ear as they rode Surly’s on Coastkids patch.
Alex Zidarevich and John Fleck were released from Surly HQ and made the journey across the Atlantic to see what all the fuss was about, respect!
The afternoon saw us riding along the wonderful West Beach which gave my four mates a sample of what to expect for the return journey the following day. After a quick puncture fix we were joined by our leader for the weekend, Bruce, who gave us our own tour along the beautiful coastline and back into town along the John Muir Way.
In the evening, two time Iditarod finisher Carl Hutchings gave a presentation on his experiences of the epic event. The crowd were clearly in awe of the physical and mental strength of a great individual.
As the sun was setting it meant it was time to reconvene in the HQ, The Ship Inn!!
Saturday again started with the big yellow ball of fire shining down on north Berwick. The campsite had a few more arrivals overnight and it was time to lube up and head to the Celtic Cross for the official ride of Forth Fat. The usual squeezing of tyres and introductions were common place as well as short demo rides. The was riders from all corners of the UK as well as a couple from Holland who made another trip here.
Bruce led us through the small towns’ High Street, which had the locals looking on in amazement at the sight and sound of the fat bike procession. We soon turned onto the singletrack which skirted the boundaries of the local golf course and onto the paths through the fields. A short climb followed which gave way to some magnificent views over the Forth Estuary and the rolling hills in the distance. This is where the ride started to get sweet as we picked up speed descending down to the coast on rutted singletrack which have been shown on many of CoastKids videos. The sun was still shining down on us as we approached the famous midget submarines at Gullane Sands in Aberlady Bay.
81 fat bikers converged on the midget subs to which Bruce was truly happy with. And it was quite a sight watching a long line of riders enjoying the coastal return. The vast open beaches as the tide was out gave way to some very testing rock sections where you had to be at your best to stay upright especially on the slippy seaweed!
HQ again for food and beers which had us chatting over fat bike tales from the days ride.
51 fat bikes made the ride on Sunday which had us heading to the spectacular Seacliffe Harbour with views over to the ruined Tantallon Castle. Again we rode along the coast but with more testing rock sections for those who fancied their chances. Picking your way through the rock pools away from the seaweed proved a tricky affair but there was some good skills on show to pass the test. I was looking forward to this as it was the highlight from last year’s ride. At this point I could feel the back end was losing pressure but it made the going very easy as the Nates were clinging to the rocks with ease. Standing up on the pedals to get a better view as I quickly tried to piece a route together and to avoid getting wet feet. I was relieved to reach the sand dunes as it gave me some time to patch up the rear tube. Some of the group made the slog up to the top of the dunes for some fun fuelled sand dune descending. A couple of ‘spills’ gave the waiting crowd of fat bikers something to cheer at, with the only damage being some pride.
Bryan Harris from Raleigh UK was there to hand out some Salsa stickers as well as some new bike lube to try out and with my Fat-Bike.com stickers the crowd were like a pack of wolves, everyone loves stickers!
After a great weekend it just shows that fat bikes are not just for winter, awesome fun on the coast.
For me it was another long drive home but not until I said my goodbyes to yet more new friends.
Bring on Forth Fat 2017……..