Tuesday 24 September 2019

A fine weekend

Really good weather the last week, unseasonably hot and sunny – just right for riding the bike.

The Triumph Owners Motorcycle Club (TOMCC) had arranged a weekend rally in Kyleakin on the Isle of Skye, a really good ride to a very scenic part of the country. I would have gone, but the TOMCC insist that entertainment at rallies is provided by rock/heavy metal bands, so not for me.
A group from the Glasgow section of the club had arranged to meet at Dumbarton and ride up to the rally, so I decided to join them for part of the route then return home. I got up on Friday morning and couldn't see across my street due to thick fog! I hadn't got any better by the time I left, and traffic was down to 40 mph/60km/h due to poor visibility and I was struggling to keep my visor clear.
Just after the Erskine Bridge I saw a couple of heavily laden bikes at the side of the road, and as one was a Triumph Tiger, I stopped to see if they were heading to the rally. They weren't, but asked if they were on the right road for Loch Lomond (they were) and if there was a café nearby. They had Lancashire accents and were shaking with the cold. If they'd left Lancashire that morning, they would have been on the road for 3 or 4 hours by that point. Luckily there's a service station a couple of miles further on with a Starbucks that I could direct them to.
I headed on to the service station at Dumbarton, went into the café for some coffee and waited for the others to arrive. Eventually about 20 other Triumph owners turned up and the fog had lifted a bit.

The group headed off towards Loch Lomond and it became clear that the Triumph Club doesn't do group riding – everyone just rode off at their own pace and would see the others at the next stop. One rider had gone into the shop at the services just before we left and the others had left without them. I rode slowly to see if they would catch me up, eventually stopping and waiting for them. From there we had a good clear ride (fog had lifted), albeit a bit slow due to touring coaches. Next stop was the Green Welly Stop at Tyndrum where we met with other riders.

From there we rode through Glencoe where I managed to shoot some video. As normal of these roads, I was stuck behind a touring coach driving unreasonably slowly.

I'd completely lost sight of the other Triumph riders, some were in front, some behind by the time I got to Ballachulish where they would head north towards Fort William and I would head round the coast to Oban.

I love Art Deco buildings

I was unlocking my bike to leave when I was approached by an elderly American tourist. He asked, incredulously 'how to you manage to ride on these roads with so many curves? He must come from somewhere where the roads are dead straight!
From Oban I headed towards Lochgilphead, where I stopped for something to eat, I'd worked in Lochgilphead at one time, but hadn't been there for a long time.

Worked on an alarm system in this building. Think it was Social Work Department at the time

From there it was an easy ride back throught Inverary to Rest and be Thankful.


The following day I did some jobs around the house and garage, then in mid afternoon I decided to go for a run. I had the scooter (Honda Forza 300) out of the garage to wash it, so went on that. Had a pleasant couple of hours riding backroads of Renfrewshire and North Ayrshire, no real plan, just taking roads as they came.
I stopped at the Harelaw Dam above the village of Neilston. When I was a teenager me and my friends used to cycle here. It was mostly uphill, so it was fun freewheeling for miles on the way back! Back then it was 'the middle of nowhere', but now there's a carpark, an angling club, a trout hatchery, boats, etc. Changed days!

The road after that becomes rougher and narrower, eventually becoming little more than a farm track with grass up the middle. This showed a limitation of the scooter - its small wheels and limited travel suspension make this kind of road a bit of a challenge! On surfaced roads it's fine, but this was taking it a bit out of its depth. Once back on surfaced roads it was a pleasant ride home.

One thing today's trip showed was how good a touring bike the scooter would be. I normally only use it for commuting on a journey that is 99% motorway and dual carriageway. However, it's perfectly at home on winding country roads (as long as they are surfaced!) It has enough power to cruise at 70 mph/115 km/h, has good fuel range (150+miles/240+km), is comfortable, and has luggage carrying capacity under the saddle. You could comfortably ride one from here to the South of France and back without any problems. A single you could tour on!

No comments:

Post a Comment