Dalkeith Country Park

The main purpose of my scoot today was to try out some new items I’d recently purchased for the Swifty Air, a pair of Schwalbe Big Apple 16″ x 2″ tyres. Now, I already have a set of these tyres on one of my bicycles, a Surly Ogre, and I’ve found them smooth and fast on easy mixed surface rides. The secret is the range of pressures they are designed to handle, from as low as 30 psi up to 70 psi. They offer comfort yet still keep a reasonably low rolling resistance, something that is really essential on a kick scooter. Other scooter tyres tend to need higher pressures, usually around 100 or 110 psi and few offer any guidance on running at lower pressures.

The route I decided upon was to scoot the 3 miles or so from the house in Bonnyrigg, through Dalkeith to Dalkeith Country Park, then follow a 6 mile route that myself and my wife Cathryn had walked at the weekend, giving me a decent scoot of about 12 miles. The route would include a range of surfaces including smooth tarmac, well-compacted gravel footpaths, rough muddy farm tracks and even some granite cobbles. Fitting the tyres was fairly easy and I started off with the tyre pressures set at approx 60 psi, which I thought would be as good a starting point as any.

My route to Dalkeith made use of the local cycleways and pavements with the roughest section at the entrance to the park, a stretch of granite cobbles, and even with the Big Apple tyres it was still a fair shoogle riding across them. Once into the park, I followed a well-compacted footpath through the beech woods, with the scooter running fast and smooth, and comfortable as well, the new tyres doing their job well.

Then it was a fast downhill through Restoration Yard, to a few odd looks from people as I passed, and into a tarmac estate road heading out though the park to the farmland beyond. I must admit the tyres were excellent, running quite fast with not too much rolling resistance. Not a good as the smaller 1.50″ tyres on the Swifty Zero but a good compromise. I then followed a circular route on farm tracks, with a mix of surfaces including some sticky mud, not a few potholes and some steep sections where walking was the only option.

One observation on the muddy stretches is that mud can really impede progress on a kick scooter. You sometimes just have to get off and walk, not like a bicycle where you simply drop down a gear and keep pedalling. The area is also popular with horse riders and dog walkers, and having learned from experience, I now make a point of slowing right down just in case. Dogs are unpredictable and horses are much bigger than me and I don’t one prancing about in  panic.

A short loop on a well-compacted gravel path near Dalkeith Palace, a fine building that was completed in 1711 for Anna, 1st Duchess of Buccleuch and now used by the University of Wisconsin for a study abroad programme, brough me back to the entrance gate and the final 3 miles scoot back home.

As a keen photographer, I’m always on the look out for locations to pose the scooter and used some of the alleyways around the centre of Dalkeith, usually called a “close” here in Scotland to good effect. Finally, verdict on the Big Apple tyres, 9/10. I didn’t give them 10/10 as they are not 2″ wide, measuring 1.95″ wide.

Copyright ©2019 Gary Buckham. All rights reserved.

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