For Australian Cyclists travelling and touring OS
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I'm planning a holiday in Europe in July this year, and am wanting to do some cycling. We'll be travelling through the Northern part of Scotland, Northern Ireland and also Northern France - 4-5 days in each location.
Not really looking for multi-day trips, rather day trips of something like 40-50 klms, either road touring or off road mountain biking. Will need to hire bikes as we go.
The holiday isn't a cycling holiday as such, but I just want to make sure I get some biking in - since it's such a great way to get around and really see some places. I don't mind doing it independently or with small tour groups...
Any advise on tours / bike hire in these locations?
The Seven Staines in Scotland is good for mtb. I spent a week in a few of the 7 centres. Mostly at the west and south side of Scotland though. Touring round the Islands would be fun! As would most of the roads in the Highlands. Applecross is a popular destination. Good luck with the midges wherever you go!
IMHO one of the best places for road tour in Scotland is the Outer Hebribes from Oban. Using short ferries trips to get between the islands, it's possible to do tour in a week cycling the length of Outer Hebrides, and returning via Skye, another ferry to Mallaig and down the Western Coast before two more ferries to Mull and the return to Oban. The scenery is constantly superb and the roads realtively quiet. Oban accessible by train from Glasgow.
This site might be useful:-
and this for the ferries:-
Can't really help re: France only mtn biked there, and no experience of Ireland.
Ended up doing a 4 day cycling tour of the Loire Valley in France... talking in all the majestic ChÃ¢teau's of 15-19th century French opulence. Also did 2 half day rides around the Isle of Bute, Scotland...
France was a planned trip, Isle of Bute was just lucky... the people we were staying with had a couple of bikes they were happy to lend us
Some of the best cycling experiences I've had happened while I was in Scotland.
1. I was stuck in St. Andrews for a couple of days. So hired a bike and really got to know the countryside around the area quite well. Quite pleased to be cycling along a country road with the sunsetting, the light breeze (this was summer) and the green fields. I remember a car stopping for me 50m ahead while he waited for me to pass by. I also kept using the right to brake but apparently it was reversed in the UK. Left bar to brake the back wheel. That took me awhile to get used to.
2. Orkney Islands. During my backpacking days I was stuck with 2 Aussies and 1 Canadian. They taught me how to use gears. LOL. We went EVERYWHERE. We ended up at some standing stones (kinda like Stonehenge) and if you lean against them and looked up there was some reverse-vertigo/dizziness. Really weird experience. Must be their high. Lovely experience. Wish I kept in touch with them.
We also did a bus tour when there was wind and rain pelting and the rain was coming to us at a 45 degree angle. Wow. The guide offered us a refund because the weather was horrible. Awwww. And the man who owned the archaeological site was in his 90s and tried to tell us the story of the find - outside, with the wind and rain pelting. The Orcadians were really nice folks. I would go to the beach and read the papers and a man walking along his dog (a widower) would talk to me. Met heaps of people internationally there - I guess the more remote the place, the more a challenge it is so not so odd to find Japanese, Malaysians, the usual bunch of Canucks, Aussies at Orkney.
Both experience: NO HELMETS.
Amateur oenologist and green-friendly commuter.
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