Talking Tandems are ten years old this year.
Cycling really is simplicity itself. You want to go out for a cycle you jump on your bike and head out. Simple.
Now add into the mix several blind or partially sighted cyclists from Fife and Lothian, transport arrangements, pairing pilots with stokers on the correct sized pool tandem, exchanging pedals and finally each pair trying out the tandem they have been allocated! A time consuming process. That was what happened this morning at the Dalgety Bay base of Talking Tandems.
We finally got on out way but luck was not smiling on me. Originally down as solo support I ended up pairing with a new stoker on a large tandem. At 5 ft 5 in not an ideal size. I was willing to give it a go so that the stoker could get out. We left the car park and within 10 metres one of my pedals had fallen off! A quick fix and Gavin, my stoker and I was off, almost 400 metres later and a gear cable snapped. That finished Gavin off he decided that he would get picked up and head home. We limped back to base and I got on board my solo steed and headed out to try and catch the others.
We headed across then under the eerily quiet Forth Road Bridge. We then headed on country roads to Winchburgh and Linlithgow. The turning point was just after Linlithgow and on the way we stopped for lunch at a handily placed garden centre.
The return route saw the group heading through the lovely Hopetoun estate and Port Edgar and heading, once more across the Forth Road Bridge and back to Dalgety Bay.
The route was 35 miles long
with 2100 feet of climbing.
TT are 10 years old this year and are a registered charity if you or your company would like to support TT please get in touch.
Multiday tours with Scottish Bike Touring begin in March and run through till October. Between the end of one season and the beginning of the other I look for new tours for the upcoming season, get them on my social media sites and check the bikes.
New tours for this year include two Outlander themed tours, an Edinburgh based day tour and a multiday Fife locations tour which can be done as a point to point tour or as a hub tour being based in Kirkcaldy.
Still on offer are firm favourites the Island Adventure tour and the Great Glen way.
Who are the tours for? Honestly anyone with even a base level of cycling fitness can come on an SBT tour. An addition to the website is a ride level guide which describes the ride so you can decide if it is for you. The tours are taken at an easy pace to allow you to soak in the views and soak up the atmosphere. If you don’t fancy riding in a group that’s OK too come on an individual tour.
If you don’t see a tour which fits what you want get in touch and we can design a bespoke tour.
Full details can be found on http://www.scottishbiketouring.com
It has been a little while since I posted but that does not mean that I have not been busy.
All of my bikes got a good clean and going over at the end of November with my Ridley Orion road bike ending up on the turbo. Happy to say that there were no problems with my bikes just another year of scrapes and bumps.
I decided that my website was looking a bit tired so decided to give that a makeover. Not being used to sitting at a desk for hours on end I broke the work into manageable chunks stopping when required. I have had good constructive feedback from some viewers so please feel free to log on to http://www.scottishbiketouring.com and give me more feedback. The site is still undergoing some work but you should be able to navigate through it ok.
As well as the website I was going over the rides on offer and decided to revamp some of them and introduce some new ones.
Two new offers are city and off road bespoke tours in and around Edinburgh. I was asked to do this last year by a client and it was a really good ride. Built to the clients requirements this can be as long or short as the client requires and take in a lot of sights.
Another new tour is based totally in Fife. The Outlander Fife locations tour. I have been riding this during the holidays and watching the series for background. This tour can be done in two ways either as a normal point to point tour or as a “Hub” tour returning to the same accommodation each day.
Hopefully it will not be so long before my next post.
In late September my website rec’d a hit from an Australian web address. I replied but it got bounced back.
I had another hit same name different e mail once more it got bounced back.
There was a phone number so I gave it a call and spoke to Kelvin in Australia!
He was coming to Europe and would be in Edinburgh for four days and he wanted to spend one of them visiting the Falkirk wheel!
We agreed a date for a tour and also that he would call to confirm date and time when he arrived.
A call was made and a date and time set. We set off for the Falkirk Wheel at 1000 on the 6th October and after negotiating the Edinburgh traffic we arrived at the Canal basin and the beginning of the Union Canal Path to the Falkirk Wheel.
Kel was from Sydney and a Primary school teacher and keen to learn some local history as well as having a bike ride. We came through the final tunnel and as soon as Kel saw the top of the wheel he let out a whoop. The next hour his body may have been in the café but his mind was outside and as soon as the wheel started operating he was out looking at the wheel.
After food and drink and a final look at the wheel we headed back t Edinburgh.
Kel had really enjoyed his ride almost 70 miles and although the Union canal is a contour canal we recorded over 2000 ft of climb.
Fancy landing on a beach the only operating airport in the world that lands scheduled flights on a beach? How about climbing the UK’s highest mountain, biking along ancient coffin roads and military roads? You can do all of this and more in Scotland with Scottish Bike Touring.
The Five Ferries is an iconic Scottish road cycle on the west coast of Scotland.
Regarded by many as a one day challenge and indeed run as a challenge in one of it’s guises, the Five Ferries is a approx 100 miles long, you travel on Five Ferries, two islands and 3 peninsulas.
There are a number of ways to cycle this route my preference is to start at Ardrossan and get the ferry to Arran and head south around the bottom of the island. Arran has a spectacular coastline and it is laid out before you as you head around the island. This is the longest cycle leg with the most climb and is an ideal stopping point if you want to do the ride over 2 days rather than 1.
Ferry number 2 takes you from Arran to the Kintyre peninsula and a ride north to the village of Tarbert an ideal lunch stop. You have cycled 50 miles by this point and climbed almost 4000 ft! Alas if the group speed is not sufficient to build a cushion its no lunch and straight on Ferry No 3 to Portavadie and the Kyles of Bute.
If you would like some luxury rooms for an overnight stay this is the place! This is the third cycle leg and the scenery is just awesome. You cycle round the Kyles of Bute to board ferry No 4 at Colintraive travelling to the Island of Bute. A short fast 8 miles sees you in Rothesay for the final ferry to Wemyss Bay and the final ride to Ardrossan.
This is not an easy one day ride and the added pressure of ferries to catch with the chance that they might be cancelled for one reason or the other makes it an adrenalin raising ride!
There is plenty to see on this tour I would recommend that you take your time and take the two day tour and as I said there are a number of ways to do this ride it can be shortened reducing the 100 miles to something more like 80.
Possibly the shortest and easiest C2C route in the country starting at Bowling to the west of Glasgow and stretching across Central Scotland to Leith this is a relitively flat route almost exclusively on Canal or cycle paths.
I alighted from the train on a bright and dry morning to begin the exploration of the route from Bowling to Leith. Today I was stopping at Falkirk as I have already done the Falkirk to Leith leg before. At the basin in Bowling there is a bike shop and a cafe and the start of the route.
The surface is tarmaced and in good condition and makes for pleasent cycling. The first points of interest on the route are the Dalmuir drop lock, the first in the UK and the Beardmore sculpture.
The canal winds it’s way through Knightswood, Kelvnside and Bishopbriggs finally leaving Glasgow and heading for Kirkintilloch and Kilsyth. Wildlife is rife along the canal I saw these two just lazing around by the bank!
I made my way past Auchinstarry Basin the surface still in great condition towards Bonnybridge and Falkirk. I stopped for lunch at the wheel and made my way to the station and back to Fife.
A great ride this part of the C2C. Was 31 miles with 1000 ft of climb.