Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Doris Day

Winter? The past few months have felt more like spring temps, but that hasn't stopped the media going into overdrive with stories of impending food shortages, lives at risk and travel chaos due to forecasted snow. The past few scare mongering stories led to nothing and the sledge remains a sad and lonely slab of red plastic hanging in the garage. 



Storm Doris may have her day...I hope so, the last time my wheels enjoyed a dusting of snow it was  over all too briefly.

Stay upright...

Saturday, 22 October 2016

a rather special just because...

cyclesguff has made it onto bikerumour.com - thanks Kirsti!



In keeping with the misty moody shots. I captured this intrepid fellow earlier today. Climbing through the mist on Cuilt Brae on the way to Stokiemuir is a tough start to anyone's morning.

Stay upright

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Wet Highland Way

My plan was to write a more comprehensive report on this Guffer's recent foray into the wilderness. Alas, I'm still too knackered! Last weekend's trip along the West Highland Way was brutal. Hopefully the pics will make up for the lack of words. 

oh dear, that's coming our way





Loch Lomond makes an appearance


hike a bike


It wasn't all bad

a view to reflect upon 

a familiar view and a final spot of blue on the Sunday
The decision to ride the WHW from North to South (reverse) in 2 days was logical. The reason being that all the riders live close to the official start in Milngavie.....it would only be a short ride home. The added warmth of a celebratory Whisky in our bellies would only add to the sense of achievement. We could have done with a few more drams to keep warm on the journey. The West coast of Scotland was hit with a formidable weather front on the Saturday and it accompanied us for the ride. I've never ridden in rain that was so persistent and heavy. Trails and paths became rivers, waterproof clothing became wet and the notion of taking up kayaking became more appealing by the minute. Thankfully, the riders sprits were in fine fettle and the weather was far more agreeable on the Sunday.

Stay upright

Monday, 5 September 2016

retail news

Just in from the Vuelta. Cyclists rush to see Scotsman opening his own German discount store.


Thursday, 25 August 2016

how things change


Visitors to gufftowers will be aware that over the past few years my riding has taken a back seat and time spent on the trails has been shared with Salomon Speedcross 3. The local trail running crew 'Blane Runners' are also a pretty keen and capable bunch of riders. The local strava segments pay testament to this. During a Blane Runners outing, there was a little suggestion for two day North - South take on the West Highland Way. Isn't funny how little suggestions end up with people buying new bikes and kit....


The Old Kilpatricks - taken when you could count megapixels on one hand....
One thing that was very obvious (well, at least for me) was the requirement to spend more time in the saddle and build up the bike fitness. Sunday outings have steadily grown in duration, but I'm still looking to build the miles. My Lemond is in bits, so the idea of going out on the road with that bike won't happen anytime soon. Truth be told, I've almost had it with the roads around here. I've seen too many close calls between riders and other road users to make me question why I should bother. And, it is not always the other road users fault. I just wish that the 'all the gear and no idea squads' could learn to ride at a pace and respect the fact that it is not only them on the road. Some of the riding I have witnessed is beyond belief. My old coach would have dished out a severe ticking off and left you in no uncertain terms as to what you did wrong. His primary concern was the safety of the younger riders, building group riding skills and awareness of road craft. If our bunch had strung out, he would sit on the front, slow the pace and let us regroup. If we were causing a tail back, he'd signal, pull up at safe point and let others pass. We also had no issue with changing from 2 abreast to single file and letting others past. Those of use that remember the roads in the eighties will hopefully agree that things were a bit quieter then and road etiquette was something to embrace. 


A quick jump to the nineties, a change from skinnies to knobblies and a common loop was the Old Kilpatricks on the outskirts of Glasgow. I'm sure those from that area will refer to Glasgow as being on the out skirts of West Dumbartonshire. It was a tough pedal - take the cyclepath from Glasgow and head out to Bowling, then string together some underpasses, attempt to avoid the angry farmer and head up a very long and steep rocky ascent. The views from the summit are fantastic and provided a wonderful backdrop for heaving bodies gasping for breath. The quick dash down to Loch Humprey (a name that's only challenged by Loch Drunkie) was a short respite prior to the wonderful ribbon of rocky, rooty singletrack that ran along the edge of Loch. The next section was a mudfest through the forest that awaited the unwary. The fun really started when you pointed the bike back down towards the Clyde and went for it on the grassy descent to Overton House. This descent never failed to raise uncontrollable giggles. I just remember it being so fast. Flowing corners benefited from natural berms and not so kind off camber bends, a good number of exposed sections of rocks and drops finished off by a wide grass chute to the Overton House grounds gate. Bliss!


you call that a stem....
My memory banks were on overload when a fellow Blane Runner posted a cross country loop for 'more miles'. The route would take in Loch Humphrey and that descent. The amount of work carried out by Forestry Commission Scotland took me by surprise. Memorable sections have been stripped of their character, I can understand why with the aim to open access to others. However, I was disappointed and wasn't holding out much hope for the descent. Oh, how wrong I was! Isn't it wonderful how bikes knock age out of the equation and take you back. The giggles returned and I could have been back on my Bontrager Race Lite. 

it's not only the trails that have changed
It's been well over ten years since I've ridden that descent and it's less than 10 miles away! The changes that have been made to open up the access are obviously working, I can't ever recall having to shout ahead to walkers on that descent. The only people I recall seeing where poachers scaling the terrain on their way to enjoying the spoils of Loch Humphrey.

Stay upright


Thursday, 18 August 2016

there's gold in them thar hills

 
A very light, hoppy session ale with a clean, refreshing character.


Never mind Rio, there's a carnival atmosphere closer to home. I recently found this bottle of Golden joy. I enjoyed a few days in that area earlier in the summer, so it was a surprise seeing it for sale at the Scottish Real Ale Shop near Callander and not closer to where it is brewed.

An Teallach Ale Company's Bealach Na Ba would be a welcome tonic after climbing the Bealach Na Ba. The idea of cold bottle (or two), sitting outside the Applecross Inn as the sun sets and waiting on a wonderful medley of shellfish to share with fellow guffers sets the scene for a trip worth planning.

If you do see it on your travels, it is well worth a try and do raise a glass to all those involved in the Rio Gold Rush

Stay upright, hopefully....