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Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

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Old 09-12-01, 04:02 PM   #1
toolfreak
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Scotland?

Hey fellowbikers,
wel its the first time in the wintersection, but i like it allready.
I have a lot to ask and maybe you can advice me or give some information.
I`m planning to bike from Newcastle to Fort William/Ben Nevis, on 22 December, i see some people think" this guy is mad " , but i want to collect as much information as possible to find out of this idea is worth a try!
Here`s the Q-list,

*Is there anybody who has biked during Scottisch winters?

*What are the difficulties regarding winterbiking/bad weatherbiking?

*Do i need special clothes? (i don`t mean rainsuits and gloves, but special winter gear)

*Do i need special equipment regarding my bike, tires e.o?

*Is there any website, book , or council wich provide useful information?

I hope you guys can help me, thanks!
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Old 09-13-01, 06:25 AM   #2
MichaelW
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Plenty of clubs are riding in Scottish winters. Check out your local Cycle Tourists Club for local advice. Icebike.com is the usual source of winter wisdom
In cold, damp, dark, windy Scottish conditions, you need fenders, good lights, bright clothes and reflective gear.

How much luggage are you planning? Are you Youth Hostelling ?
For 700c, a 28/32 mm tyre is good.
How much duration do you need for lighting? Beyond 4hrs, you are looking at dynamo systems.

Gortex stops working as the ouside humidity rises. On cold damp days, Scottish climbers often prefer a Buffalo type pile and pertex windshirt. They cope with anything .

Feet could be a problem, and the journey probably calls for neoprene booties.

Pick your route with care. Time spend navigating is time spend getting cold. Navigate on the move using a map holder. Take a compass and a spare removable bike lamp.
Are you cycling against the prevailing wind?
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Old 09-13-01, 08:04 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by toolfreak
Hey fellowbikers,
wel its the first time in the wintersection, but i like it allready.
I have a lot to ask and maybe you can advice me or give some information.
I`m planning to bike from Newcastle to Fort William/Ben Nevis, on 22 December, i see some people think" this guy is mad " , but i want to collect as much information as possible to find out of this idea is worth a try!
Here`s the Q-list,

*Is there anybody who has biked during Scottisch winters?

Yes, but not in the Highlands

*What are the difficulties regarding winterbiking/bad weatherbiking?

Apart from the cold/wind/rain, whcih as a Dutchman you should be able to cope with (though it will be a lot chillier than you are used to) remember that the days are quite short, it gets dark mid afternoon in December and we don't have that many dedicated cycle paths. Make sure you have good lights and reflective gear.

*Do i need special clothes? (i don`t mean rainsuits and gloves, but special winter gear)

If you are going above 3000 feet then yes, but I would bring windproof/waterproof stuff and loads of thin layers. if windy the chill factor could be a problem. Neoprene or Gore boot covers might be an idea and gloves, you'll definately need them. If you are planning to camp, a REALLY good tent and bag, survival blanket and high energy food will be essential.

*Do i need special equipment regarding my bike, tires e.o?

Lights, spares as usual as if you are away from major population centres there won't be that many bikeshops. On the route you will likely take, you will never be too far from a mechanic. I've never seen anyone use spiked tyres in Scotland as the roads tend to be well salted and cleared. Unless you are very unlucky it is not that likely that you will encounter snow in December until you get further north than central Scotland, but you may get snow/ice coming from Newcastle over the border.

You might want to revise your gearing and put smaller chainrings on as you will be encountering some decent hills!

*Is there any website, book , or council which provide useful information?

try www3.clearlight.com/bikeroutes/ and

www.sol.co.uk/s/scotcycl/cyclinginscotland.htm

Check with weather stations before going anywhere. The weather can change quickly in the mountains. remember this is a holiday time so some things will shut down for a couple of days before Christmas. If you are going to be here at Hogmanay (New Year) prepare for some serious partying.

I hope you guys can help me, thanks!

Hope that's been helpful. Send me a mesage if I can be of further help.

If you cross the Forth Bridge give me a wave!
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Old 09-13-01, 12:25 PM   #4
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Thanks Michael & Chewa, these are very useful tips.

I`ve done alpine tracks in Switzerland,Austria and France, but thats just climbing with snow, rocks and nearly always good wheather, and yes i`m used to wind and rain, but in Scotland, i expect the worst!

If its on, this wil be my first long travel on a bike, the plan is to switch between tents and YH if nessecary (rain&wet)

My bike is a Cannondale rigid MTB with trailer, i allready have some of the gear, but i don`t have neoprene booties.
So here the question that follows; Is it wisher to ride with mountainshoes with flat pedal, instead of clipless (tight feet, cold?)

thanks again, regards,
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Old 09-13-01, 02:28 PM   #5
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First, I would strongly recomend staying in YH rather than tents. There are plenty along the way, and winter camping in Scotland is pretty masochistic. It will always be cold and wet. You will cut down on your luggage, go faster, and be able to cook and eat and sleep better. Im not even sure where you could camp in winter, except YH grounds. Without camping gear , you dont need a trailer, just 2 small panniers and a bar bag.

Footwear is a decision. People who already use clipless prefer neoprene booties. Toe clip users go for lightweight waterproof boots with thick woolen socks. I prefer boots and socks on a tour, you can always go walking in them.

Buffalo make a cycling jacket for Scottish winter conditions at:
http://www.buffalosystems.co.uk/dp6.htm
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Old 09-14-01, 03:24 AM   #6
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I think MichaelW is right. Make sure that no matter what pedals you use your feet are dry and warm.

If you can, stay in YH or B&B particularly in the borders or further north of Perthshire.

As long as you are polite and cause no damage, camping wil be permitted by most landowners. But also remember the Foot and Mouth issue (as you are Dutch you will be well aware of it) may affect where you can go. Particularly in the North of England, South Scotland.
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1985 Sandy Gilchrist-Colin Laing built 531c Audax/fast tourer.
1964 Flying Scot Continental (531)
1995 Cinelli Supercorsa (Columbus SLX)
1980s Holdsworth Mistral fixed (531)
2005 Dahon Speed 6 (folder)
(YES I LIKE STEEL)
2008 Viking Saratoga tandem
2008 Micmo Sirocco Hybrid (aluminium!)
2012 BTwin Rockrider 8.1

Last edited by chewa; 09-14-01 at 03:26 AM.
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Old 11-28-01, 10:55 PM   #7
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Mark, I'd like to know what you think of haggis when you get back....
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Old 12-18-01, 12:12 PM   #8
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I`m off to Scotland this friday, its gonna be a cold and wet ride, that`s for sure
I want to thank everyone for the required info, especially Willic and Chewa, thanks guys and cheers

regards,
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Old 12-19-01, 03:23 AM   #9
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Watch out for flying tree trunks

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