Author Topic: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++  (Read 14140 times)

Matt2matt2002

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Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #60 on: June 21, 2021, 04:09:55 PM »
My heart’s in the Highlands



After one of the wettest Mays since UK records began – I managed a few days away on the Raven with my Hubba Hubba and Jet-boil. Running 38*17 rings on 1.5 Marathons with the Hubba between 2 front Ortliebs on the rear rack.

Living near Aberdeen is great for day rides (plenty of soft rolling hills) but for this trip I planned to head north into the Scottish Highlands. Restrictions are slowly lifting here; my last trip north was in September 2020.

Off to a flying start with a free coach ride to Inverness. Us oldies receive hee haw bus rides in Scotlandshire – as well as free medical prescriptions, eye tests etc.
The driver told me the fare would have been £13. He was my first ‘chat with a local’ as we took a break due to a farmers market in Huntley. As well as the scenery and usual bike tour benefits, I like to engage with folks along the way. Bill, the bus driver, explained how his shifts worked. On long trips, drivers are paid to stay over-night since there are strict regulations on the amount of hours a driver can drive in 24 hours.


With a 9.20 departure, I arrived on the outskirts of the Highland capital at 12.55.
Rather than go into the city centre, I hopped off near the road that would take me across the Tay Bridge.
All went well until a quarter of the way across the bridge cycle path a closed off for maintenance sign appeared. Rather than retrace my tracks I decided to hop over the barrier and chance my luck with the light traffic on the A9. Head down with fingers crossed brought me to safety on the north side of the Tay. Mental note: come back via a different road in case the other side of the bridge is also blocked.

The ride to my first coffee stop in Muir of Ord was along the scenic road through Charlestown and Redcastle. Stunning views along the coastal road reminded me of the trip to Islay 9 years ago. The smell of the sea and sound of the gulls brought back great memories

12 miles brought me to my favourite coffee stop in the Muir of Ord; the Bad Girl Bakery Café. Highly recommended – for the cakes!

The weather had been kind to me – shorts almost broken out of the bags – but rain late afternoon was forecast so I wanted to reach my campsite by 5 to avoid a soaking.
It was 28 miles and a climb/slope of 400+ feet. The A835/832 was light on traffic and pot-holes. A few naughty wee holes to keep me on my toes though.

Good natured waves from fellow cyclists, some of whom appeared to be doing the famous N500 – a long loop around the north of Scotland. I was also joined from time to time by convoys of high end sports cars. Porsche, Ferrari, Maserati, Bugatti; I think some are hired out for a couple of days, (and probably a couple of £1,000).

The rain held off – almost until my destination for the night, Achnasheen. The Midge bite café was about to close but agreed a last minute coffee for myself and a young Spanish cyclist who arrived just before me. Manuel was heading north and appeared unfazed by the on-coming rain or where he would be pitching his tent that night. Oh to be 30 years younger.
The area for camping was a few 100m from the café so during a break in the rain showers I managed to set up the Hubba, fire up the Jetboil for a hot meal& coffee, set out my sleeping gear, and take a short spin around the area. Managed to snap a few Roe deer grazing nearby before retiring for the night.

42 miles.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2021, 05:52:50 PM by Matt2matt2002 »
Never drink and drive. You may hit a bump  and spill your drink

in4

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Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #61 on: June 21, 2021, 08:12:59 PM »
Great share Matt but your photo link leads to a Google photo log in page. Do you have to share a link to a shared folder for others to see your photos? Way above my paygrade that expertise!

Matt2matt2002

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Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #62 on: June 22, 2021, 12:41:24 PM »
Sorry about picture link issue.
I'll amend soon.

Stay safe folks

Best
Matt
Never drink and drive. You may hit a bump  and spill your drink

John Saxby

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Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #63 on: June 25, 2021, 02:25:53 PM »
Good on ya, Matt -- nice ride and decent weather too! 

Envious that you're out & about -- we're just starting to reopen campgrounds, etc., so I'm aiming/hoping for a late-summer mini-tour in West Qué, hills, lakes and rivers.

Cheers,  J.

JohnR

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Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #64 on: July 01, 2021, 09:49:30 AM »
Rather than go into the city centre, I hopped off near the road that would take me across the Tay Bridge.
All went well until a quarter of the way across the bridge cycle path a closed off for maintenance sign appeared. Rather than retrace my tracks I decided to hop over the barrier and chance my luck with the light traffic on the A9. Head down with fingers crossed brought me to safety on the north side of the Tay. Mental note: come back via a different road in case the other side of the bridge is also blocked.
Might you mean the Kessock bridge over the Beauly Firth?

PH

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Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #65 on: July 01, 2021, 11:32:11 AM »
Nice report and photos Matt.  It's too many years since I've been up that way, it was supposed to happen last year, but...  Maybe next year...
OT - Good choice of pannier colour! I went for the same, they don't look out of place on any colour bike.

Matt2matt2002

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Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #66 on: July 01, 2021, 11:56:14 AM »
Thanks PH.

Infact it's such a beautiful area, I went back over the weekend. Found a few new camping spots and chatted to some interesting folks.
Sometimes I think I enjoy the encounters as much as the scenery.

On my return home Mrs. Matt asked me if I'd had a relaxing time. I immediately said yes.
But then thought of all the things running through my head as I rode:
Weather conditions and forecast
Wind direction
Road directions/route and surface
Bike condition.
Traffic awareness
Water/ hydration for me
Food situation, now and tomorrow
Where and when to pitch camp
Overall route, times,plan
My physical condition present and stamina for rest of tour.
Mental condition/ well being.
And amazing for Scotland, sun protection!

And I really did have a great relaxing time.
Never drink and drive. You may hit a bump  and spill your drink

PH

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Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #67 on: July 05, 2021, 10:51:54 AM »
There’s a new project in England to link all 42 Anglican cathedrals by bike routes.  From the website
Quote
“a unique partnership between Sustrans, Cycling UK, the British Pilgrimage Trust and the Association of English Cathedrals that will link all 42 Church of England cathedrals in a new initiative to promote greener travel and mental and physical wellbeing.”
https://www.englishcathedrals.co.uk/latest-news/cathedral-cycle-routes-announced/

I've made a start, I’m not strictly following the suggested routes, I’ve been having a look and modifying to suit my preferences.  It isn’t always practical to stop and do the cathedrals justice, though some I’m keen to go back too another time.  Not that it matters. I like a theme to my riding and this one is as good as any, some of the rides have been excellent, by the nature of the locations there's a fair bit of urban riding, some a little tedious, but some as interesting as the destinations.
So far, I’ve done two rides, the first from home, visiting the cathedrals in Leicester, Coventry and Birmingham, 105 miles followed by a train home.  I know Leicester quite well having lived there a while ago, I had a decent look around Coventry which meant Birmingham was shut before I got there!  A lovely day out, mostly on quiet country roads, a couple of sections of converted rail lines and canal paths. 
Then last week a three day ride of 320 miles.  I started with a train to York, then rode up to Durham which is very impressive, then on to Newcastle.  Next day back to York, this time via Ripon, both days on some gorgeous lanes and tracks.  Last day, back to Derby via Sheffield, which is hilly!  And I think I must have picked the worst of it.  Into the city I followed a Sustrans route, it was OK, but a bit slow going and I was clock watching as I wanted to spend a bit of time in the cathedral.  Managed that, but the route out of the city was torturous, poor route planning on my part, I think I climbed the same hill four times! Got home quite late and enjoyed a well earned beer!
Anyway, that’s the first eight ticked off, I shall continue till they're all done or I'm bored with it. This month I'm hoping to string together another five over a couple of days, Gloucester, Hereford, Worcester, Lichfield, Chester and maybe Manchester to Wakefield if I have another spare day.

Untitled-1 by Paul, on Flickr
« Last Edit: July 05, 2021, 10:54:29 AM by PH »

Matt2matt2002

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Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #68 on: July 05, 2021, 12:13:58 PM »
That's a fantastic route/ idea.
I'll take a look at the feasibility of a Scottish one.
Nice picture btw.

Best

Matt
Never drink and drive. You may hit a bump  and spill your drink

lewis noble

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Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #69 on: July 05, 2021, 12:57:26 PM »
Hello P H - an interesting idea!!  I live in Sheffield, about 1/4 hr ride from City Centre (yes . . . . uphill!!  as you say, a hilly city, one of the local beers is called Seven Hills . . . .) and the route south from Sheffield to Derby is confusing and hard to follow.  I have ridden it to Barrow Hill (rail depot near Chesterfield) and got lost several times; very poos surfaces when I last rode it.  There is another route out into the Peak District, and to Derby via Chatsworth, Matlock etc., hilly and I think quite a bit of road riding. 

Good luck with the rest of the project.

Lewis
 

leftpoole

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Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #70 on: July 05, 2021, 04:39:09 PM »
Lewis,
Considering how I’m now it’s hard to think of my childhood in Sheffield. I lived in Crookes and I and a friend and sometimes alone, used to cycle over to Tideswell  and Buxton on a day out aged around 11 or so! Sometimes carrying camping gear ( really heavy) and camping up on the Moors . Sometimes Lodge Moor area in any field available. All I remember now are those hills! Lots of hills. 
Never scared or molested. All this on a 3 speed Sturmey Archer Rudge bike.  Could not do it these days.
Now I’m 71 in a couple of weeks and selling my bikes, this time for good.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2021, 04:41:10 PM by leftpoole »

PH

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Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #71 on: July 05, 2021, 05:24:55 PM »
Hello P H - an interesting idea!!  I live in Sheffield, about 1/4 hr ride from City Centre (yes . . . . uphill!!  as you say, a hilly city, one of the local beers is called Seven Hills . . . .)
Lewis
Good luck to you!  I was thinking as I climbed the umpteenth hill that I was glad I didn't live there!
I've ridden Sheffield > Derby several times, usually in a group coming back from somewhere else.  We've normally gone West, it's a tough 8 or 9 miles, but the climbing is over be Owler Bar and then a reasonably flat route on the lanes, or easy riding on the A6 (Which is OK) I'm going to put last weeks ride down to poor planning and not hold it against Sheffield.  I ended up going through miles of housing estates, so there was little reward for all the climbing. 
On a brighter note, the descent into Rotherham down the Doncaster Road was fun. I enjoyed the cathedral, nicely situated in the centre, a popular place with all by the look of it, including a group of skateboarders who kindly kept an eye on my bike as I had a look around.   

Andre Jute

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« Reply #72 on: July 05, 2021, 09:40:43 PM »
What a cool idea! Culture and exercise all at once. And the combination photo of the cathedrals is stunning, a layered stack of impressive buildings. Thanks for sharing, Paul.

John Saxby

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« Reply #73 on: July 06, 2021, 09:56:51 PM »
Nice idea, pottering' round cathedrals.

A few months ago I had a brief back-and-forth with a group of four bikepackers who had just finished a four-day (I think it was) circuit of Salisbury Plain, following "King Alfred's Way". (If mem'ry serves.)  I asked if they'd visited Salisbury Cathedral; no, they said, the route didn't go there.

I was dismayed by the route-planning -- not the cyclists' fault, it wasn't their neighbourhood.  But, what a missed opportunity: for me, this is the most beautiful building in the world, and as a kid, I had the privilege of visiting it regularly, when we lived in Salisbury. (Our family visits included Old Sarum, Stonehenge, Avebury, usw.)  In later years, nothing else I visited came close to matching it, not St Stephen's nor either Taj; nor any of several mosques in Istanbul and parts of Spain.

So, if you're thinking of following the route, do so -- but follow in my footsteps, as well as t'other John, yer man Constable.

PH

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Re: Rides 2021 +++ Add yours here +++
« Reply #74 on: July 06, 2021, 10:29:09 PM »
A few months ago I had a brief back-and-forth with a group of four bikepackers who had just finished a four-day (I think it was) circuit of Salisbury Plain, following "King Alfred's Way". (If mem'ry serves.)  I asked if they'd visited Salisbury Cathedral; no, they said, the route didn't go there.
I don't know what route they were on, but Cycling UK's King Alfred's Way certainly goes to Salisbury Cathedral.  I have the guide book, but I'm undecided if I'll do it, it's a bit too off road for me.