The trip to Scotland started at 07.00 at home with a taxi ride to London St Pancras, arriving in plenty of time for the 08.00 departure. Immediately on arriving on the platform an aggressive guard told me 'You'e got to have a reserved ticket for that, mate', indicating the bike. On being told I had one he lost interest and walked away - without asking to see it.
Greg Woodford arrived around the same time, with his race-quality aluminium Principia bike and looking twenty years younger than me. This estimate turned out later to knock ten years off his real age, but at the time I began to wonder whether, if this represented the standard of riders on this run, I wasn't in for big trouble. He was also carrying just one rucksack, about a third of the luggage I had, prompting thoughts that perhaps I'd over-catered. It's quite intimidating to conteplate two possible mistakes without even being on the train to the start.
No-where to pack or mount the bikes properly, so we took advantage of just one bungee-hook I had with me to secure both machines to a grid at the back of the guards van. And for all the guard's insistance on reserved tickets, there were still only three bikes in the guards van by Edinburgh. The railways would lose nothing by being a little more friendly to cyclists.
The bus was parked not too far from the station and with the precision organisation for which cyclists are famous (how's that go again...) we soon were all ready to go.