Planning the ride

Planning a route like this was both easy and a challenge.  The easy bit was logging into the Cycle.Travel website and entering Durness and Dungeness into the start and finish boxes, a ticking the Paved option.

That was straightforward; the difficult part came next.  First decision was to decide where along the way I should stop.  Scotland was a challenge as it’s more sparsely populated than England so i had to find the right balance between an achievable distance each day and finding somewhere I could sleep!  I also felty I should start cautiously as far as distance was concerned and as I got fitter(!), gently increase the daily distance.  The ride from Glentruim to Kinross was the longest and only because we decided to stay with a friend in Kinross.  144km on perhaps my wettest day of the two weeks – hey ho.  

So once overnights were planned, each days ride needed checking.  Cycle.Travel is great website but does introduce a few route quirks.  The routes is plots follow as many cycle routes as possible and if they’re to available, then it goes along back lanes and side streets if it can.  The screenshot below shows that I was only on “Busy Roads” for 171km of the 1490 I rode, and a stretch of that was on the single-track A road leaving Durness!

However, there were times on the original route where i was being diverted off a perfectly reasonable route into a housing estate only to pop back onto the road I’d just left 100 metres ago!  A detailed look at each day was necessary and tweaks performed to iron out these oddities. 

Another good thing about Cycle.Travel is the right click to see the route on Google Street View. knowing what is coming is always useful although it doesn’t quite give an accurate idea of some of the gradients!

Once the daily routes were planned and accommodations booked (don’t forget to think about secure bike storage), and as the ride got closer, a few further tweaks were necessary to route myself to places where I’d agreed to meet folk, this continued right up to the start of the ride.

The final job was to download the daily routes as separate days, then because I use a Wahoo bike computer, upload them to Strava and then sync Strava with the bike computer!

Oh, I then had to ride the route!

What else?

The route was crucial, of course, but both myself and the bike had to be in pretty good shape as well.  As the start date drew closer, I spent more time on my bike and upped the weekly mileage (kilometreage doesn’t sound right).  I took in as many hills as I could find (easy in the Peak District), and as D-Day approached felt in pretty good shape. 

The bike in turn was given a good fettling by Nev at Peak Tri Store which conveniently opened in the village a few days before I left for Scotland. The bike felt as good as new again especially with a new set of Gatorskin tyres on the wheels.  These tyres are pretty bomb proof and did a great job in ensuring I had no punctures during the while two weeks.

The final job was to take possession of the various protein snacks that friends had made me for the ride.  Fuelling up is vital and having enough on the bike to keep the energy reserves topped up, meant I ate huge amounts of flapjack and similar.  In fact I ate a huge amount generally!! 😃


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