Monday, July 15, 2013

Riding naked around Loch Lommond

I seriously can't believe this weather - it's has been over 20 degrees for more than a week now and the forecast continues for much the same for another week - so I'm out riding naked, Suzuki style.


Scotland is filled with towns' names I can't pronounce properly, Ecclefechan, Auchinlech, Kirkintilloch etc each day I just pick a random destination on the map, fill in the gaps with nearby town names and hit the road. No GPS, just my iPhone and a general sense that if I get ultimately lost, I can head for Glasgow or Edinburgh and will find my way home eventually. It's seriously good adventuring, and the little gizzer is stacking up well.

 The first long adventure ride I completed was a ride up north to circle Loch Lommond which is surrounded by Argyll Forest and the Trussochs National Parks.

   

 It's a pretty big trip on a little naked bike but…wow, just wow, some of the most amazing roads I think I have ever ridden. Maybe the perfect weather attributed to that as well, but when you can sit comfortably on 70mph winding alongside a glass-like Loch on a smooth undulating, windy road for miles and miles, there just isn't much better riding to be asked for. These roas are much like climbing the Great Alpine Road to Omeo for my friends back home in Australia, and you know how good that is!

Really should get a better camera phone, these pics don't capture the vastness of it at all.



Loch Lommond is a stones throw from where I'm staying and I really like Glasgow I've decided. Just scooting around the town out and around Port Glasgow - there is a cool grungy feel to it and it reminds me a little of home; a bit like being down in the Docklands but less shitty and more interesting?

 So I found myself at Greenock, filled up with fuel (and maybe some Maccas) before shooting out across the Erskine Bridge following the A82 up to Dumbarton, with a destination of Inverary in mind.

 I'd like to say at this point that I haven't seen a single police car, tonnes of camera signs but very few cars or bikes (let's keep it that way), and speed limits seem to be somewhat optional depending on how fast your cage can go.

 That's Loch Lommond right there, on the other side of that little railing. Only place to stop for a pic is...roadworks.


I kid you not, I have been sitting with traffic on the Motorways on 80mph and Audis, Bentleys, BMWs, VWs, Seats all have gone whizzing by at ridiculous speeds, and no one seems to care. Carry on san. The motorcyclist culture seems really fit and well, everyone on two wheels gives you the nod or the left hand salute, and fellow bikers I have stopped with or met fuelling up etc. have been friendly and easy-going people. I even bumped into an Aussie couple who were also renting bikes and touring Scotland. It is a small world after all.

 After about 2.5hrs in the saddle (which has turned into a brick wrapped in sandpaper), my arse is killing me, my legs are starting to ache and I have overshot the mark to Inverary somehow, so I make for Crianlarich which the A82 follows  up through the forest along the lochs.

I liked the shape of this town sign.


 It's brilliant riding filled with fast sweepers, hills, slow tight double hairpins, everything well sign posted and very nice road surfaces.  I hate to say it, the Suzuki never missed a beat. It rips along with glee and after I adjusted the brake levers to suit, pulls you up quite hard and I am really enjoying using all of the bike at my disposal. I'm really involved in riding this bike, I'm holding it nicely with my knees tucked in, I like the wider flatter bars and I really feel like with some time and practise that I could really rip shit up on this thing.

 I farted about and got lost several times trying to work out if I should head for Glasgow or Edinburgh to get back home (it was around 6pm at this time and still broad daylight for a few hours) which meant I doubled back on some country roads before finding the A73 heading in the right direction again.  But the best thing about my riding plan is, there is no plan, just try to enjoy the journey (heads up Big Steve).

 On arrival back in Bellshill, I clocked 285 miles for the day which surprised me a little. That's over 450kms onboard the little naked spitfire. I think I like this bike quite a bit (blasphemy!).

 Knackered, saddle-sore and completely happy I parked up for the day and resumed my next favourite Scottish pastime - eating and drinking.