Touring the East Coast of Scotland by Elliott Mestas
Monday, October 2, 2017
My first experience of long distance bicycle riding was a good one.
Bicycle touring (or bikepacking as some people call it) is about the journey more than the destination. What you do is explore a place riding your bicycle for several days.
You can do this with varying levels of comfort; for example, you could eat in restaurants and stay in hotels. While wilderness is everywhere in between, there is no lack of small towns along the way, and it is always a rewarding milestone when you finally reach a major city. I opted, for the most part, for grocery stores to find sustenance, and a tent to stay dry, sometimes just my sleeping bag on clear nights. Whatever you choose, eating and sleeping are always fully deserved after a day of exercise.
You can also choose your pace, whether you like to push yourself, or take a picture break every 5 miles. I alternated between the two, depending on the weather and the goals I had set for the day. The thrill of cruising through rolling hills with seemingly minimal effort, repeatedly using your bike’s momentum downhill to get over the humps, does make it hard to stop.
The only thing that is imposed in the end is cycling, which is now more than just a means of commuting to me.
My somewhat improvised scheduling and time constraints allowed me to cycle from Edinburgh to Tain. Bike & Go’s fantastic scheme to return a bicycle in a different location than where you picked it up is what made this trip possible. I was able to complete my loop by returning my bike then using public transit between Tain and Glasgow before, of course, finishing on two wheels between Glasgow and Edinburgh on my last (and longest) day.