Bike-packing (Aug 2014)

By Daniela Balslev

Niall, Andy and I started off from the Cally Car Park on bikes to check out the hills and lochs above Dunkeld. The challenge was not the length of the route, but carrying our overnight gear on a mountain bike – a first time experience for all of us – and making it work as a group despite the huge variation in cycling skills. We did make it, and I enjoyed every single moment. Kudos to Niall for suggesting the idea and for the very open way of planning it! And thank you both for being such great cycling mates!

Should any other beginners read this, here are some take home messages:

Cycling uphill through a marsh is not easy, but the risk of falling down in mud will teach you steering skills very fast. If you do fall in the mud, it is a massive advantage to be with mates who can pull off a proper “I-have-not-seen-that” look.

Bothys in Scotland sometimes come with comfy mattresses, Asimov and Monty Python on the bookshelf, a fireplace, a source of clean water for drinking, an unopened beer can hidden in the rain water supply for washing, and a bunch of friendly Glaswegians to show you around.

The natural, spontaneous state of things is that at 7am some people have helmets and rucksacks on, while other people are just off the bed, starting to look for their contact lenses. When we were all ready to set off, it went like this: “Have you waited for me long ?” “Not very long, …only about 2 days” J

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