Recently Scotland has been doing a great impression which people from less soggy places would recognise as summer. This has opened up the possibility for flappy jerseys, cultivating tan lines and diversifying rides. Rather than a head down character building pedal from shelter to shelter there are now opportunities to explore parched singletrack meandering off into woods, partake in outdoor cooking and other such activities.
It didn’t take much encouragement, the draw of the mountains is always luring and the Highland Trail 550 has patiently been waiting on my bucket list. So, when Stu floated the idea of giving it a shot this May I was all in. The Highland Trail has made a name for itself as an extremely remote, rugged and gruelling route but its 550 mile length offers rewards of all the lochs, peaks and untouched glens that you could ever want.
The best bike is the bike that you enjoy riding however as each weekend approached I would look at my Genesis Day One and pray that nobody would invite me on a gravel ride just so that I had an excuse not to ride it. This resulted in a built up resentment of a bike that I had hoped would open me up to a world of dirty drop bar adventures but instead was banished to the back of my bike pile and ignored. I am still to this day unsure what it was that made me hate it. I suspect that it was a combination of a weirdly long feeling fit, the infuriating mechanical disk brakes and the fact it simply felt boring compared to my track bike. It could certainly get rowdy but it never felt like it actually wanted to.