In early May 2013 we decided that over half term we would head up to the Scottish Outer Hebrides for a wee cycle tour of some of the islands. The idea of camping was suggested and rejected, on account of neither of us really having cycle-camped before for more than a few nights at a time (and even then we had got to our destination in a car). So instead we opted for hostelling.
I was somewhat apprehensive about the tour, mostly due to the bike. I’ve had my tourer for about 2½ years now and in that time it’s done about 600 miles and most of them have been pretty miserable. I have had problems with it from day one: it’s a bespoke frame and I was really looking forward to seeing how lovely and comfy it would be. It wasn’t. The first ride around the block from the shop was a disaster. Not only that but the frame was the wrong colour. I actually thought perhaps I had been given the wrong bike. The frame builder was less than helpful in trying to fix these issues (so much so that I doubt I’d ever buy a bike from him again). When my rear wheel pringled last year the attitude from them was that it was somehow my fault and it took them 6 weeks to respoke one wheel. The bike is heavy and slow and a complete contrast to my other bikes. I’ve tried to like it. I’ve pretended to like it. But I never really have. This tour was it’s last chance.
I figured, even though we were hostelling, I should give the bike a chance to do what it was supposedly designed to do – so I opted for carrying four panniers to test it out. Given we were going to Scotland we were likely to need a complete array of cycling gear for winter, summer, rain and anything and everything. We also like to eat lots so needed room for food. Plus Adam was touring on fixed so I could be there to rescue him and carry some of his stuff if he got a bit tired (yeah right as if that was ever going to happen ha ha ha).
And so late on Friday 24th May 2013 off we set and the adventure began…….