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Old 04-16-2013, 01:24 AM   #316
Abeer
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Originally Posted by Matt 82 View Post


Hello.

I'm Matt, 30 years old and I live in Scotland. This is me:

Me:



What I'll be doing in this thread is quite simple. I'll be riding around Scotland taking photos and videos of this beautiful country. I don't do offroad riding (neither does my bike) so these are strictly on road ride reports. Here's what you can expect:

Photos:





I'll also be giving you my thoughts and insights as I go. They'll be crap but you might be a weirdo like me and find something interesting.

I have a new (to me) bike! It's a 2000 Honda Deauville. It doesn't do offroad and it doesn't do 150mph but it's reliable, very comfortable and is fast when it needs to be. It's a Euro-Tourer so I have some storage with built in panniers but they're not so big that they stop me filtering through traffic. Certainly for my long term touring plans (UK, Ireland and Europe) I would consider it my ideal bike.

My Bike:




The bike being replaced is this one:

Here is my bike in Adventure Mode. It's a Suzuki Marauder 125. It doesn't have heated grips, metal panniers, sump guard, suspension, beak or anything else to get excited about. It's a pretty good bike for what it is though. I like it, though it became obvious very quickly that when I do get a licence and a 'proper bike' that I'd be looking for something more capable of handling rough roads without bottoming out every ten minutes or so. Also, the riding position is comfy for a while but seems to concentrate all your weight onto one point as you can't really move about in the seat. This means long journeys end up with you having a pretty painful ass. And no-one wants that. Up until today, my longest journey has been about 120 miles round trip:

Old Bike:



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I'll give you my life story now. Feel free to skip this, there won't be a quiz at the end. I'll put it in green so you know when to start paying attention again if you decide to give it a miss.

I'm new to bikes. While numerous members of my family have had them over the years, biking isn't in my blood like it is for some of you. I was 28 before I took it up and bought mine in August 2010. The main driving force was that my dad had bought one a few months earlier. He had owned one a long time ago and was re-discovering biking in his retirement. He imported a cheap bike from China and we built it together in the garden. It was pretty enjoyable father-son stuff and we both got a lot out of it. I know nothing of mechanics but I'm good at coming up with solutions to problems while my Dad was an engineer so knew what he was doing for the most part. We worked well as a team. It was on this Chinese Wildcat that I had my first go on a bike in a carpark.

I passed my CBT and bought a Suzuki Marauder. I had decided I liked the more laid back approach to biking that cruisers provided and had narrowed down my shortlist of bikes to about two or three. The Marauder appeared locally at a good price and I bought it as quickly as I could.

So we did a bit of short distance touring together. It was great. I fell head over heels in love with biking from that point on. We'd find little decrepit back roads that were totally unsuitable for novice riders and road bikes and go visit parts of Scotland I never knew existed. Our plan was to get our licences together, get bigger, comfortable bikes and do longer tours of Scotland and even Europe.

It was just 50 days after getting my bike that things went wrong. On one of these dodgy back roads, I lowsided. A rookie mistake, I knew what I'd done wrong before I hit the ground. I'd been coming down a gravel covered road too fast and snatched at the front brake so it locked up and I fell off. I landed on my left knee and slid down the road with all my weight on it for a short time before I fell onto my side. Luckily there was nothing solid for me to slide into and I was geared up. Had my gear not had knee pads, due to the nature of the fall I would likely have permanently injured my knee. As it was I had a stiff knee for a month. The bike had superficial damage to the paint and both indicators on the left hand side were gone. My Dad was gutted as taking that road had been his choice. It was clear he felt responsible but it was also clear that the only person at fault was myself. Lesson learned.

The next day Dad took me to a local bike place and we looked at replacement indicators and discussed what was needed. As much as he was upset that his choice of road had led to my accident, I could tell part of him was looking forward to getting the bike fixed up. It'd be the two of us working on a bike again. I'm ashamed to say I wasn't as enthusiastic about it as he was. I was still annoyed with myself about falling off and couldn't bring myself to get excited about anything.

The accident, the bike and everything else was about to become trivial however as the next morning my dad suffered a sudden heart attack and died. This was very hard to take. I had been very close to my Dad. He wasn't just my father, he was my best friend too. He was overweight and smoked so it wasn't exactly unbelievable. At times I've selfishly found myself wishing he'd had just a mild heart attack so I could have spoken to him before he went. He had watched his own father suffer and die in a hospital bed though and it haunted him something fierce so I've taken solace in the fact that we did not get to share a similar experience.

My sister decided that the best way to get over the loss of Dad was to go travelling on a once in a lifetime trip. I agreed. Flights, hotels, campervans and bus tickets were all booked and off we went. It was a 7 month trip around China, NZ, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan. It was fantastic and was exactly what was needed.

What it did mean though was that the bike repair had been put on hold to plan the trip and apart from a few hours on a 50cc scooter dressed up like a cruiser I did no riding in 2011. In fact there was a point when I wondered if I would be giving up riding. There were two reasons behind this.

1) The last time I was on it I had fallen off. It sapped the confidence from me.
2) I would be doing it without my Dad. This was the hardest part. I associated everything about biking, with him. It wouldn't be the same on my own.

The beautiful landscapes of New Zealand and Australia however had ensured that I was soon itching to get back in the saddle. When I did get back on my bike in early 2012 it was with mixed emotions. Happy to be back on two wheels but obviously sad that I wouldn't be sharing it all with my Dad. My travelling had done a good job of getting my head straight though and I had come to accept that I'd be doing everything without my Dad and biking was no different.

All this is a long way of saying that I'm a n00b. One with L plates no less. While I did cram in quite a few thousand miles in the short time I had in 2010, I don't have a lot of experience. I'm also rusty, having not ridden for a year. In the last week I've been out almost every day though so shaking the cobwebs off as well as enjoying myself.


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Right, storytime over. Let's get down to business.


In Scotland it's pretty easy to decide where to go for a ride; North. For me, this means passing Stirling. There's a ring road that takes you round the outskirts which is handy. Drops you off right at the foot of the castle.



Today's trip was the longest I've done so far. A whole 200 miles. My plan was to head to a small village called Killin and sit by the Falls of Dochart and head home again but it was nice and I was feeling good so decided to push on a bit. The further I got, the further I wanted to go so made the decision to head to Glen Coe.

Glen Coe is Scotland's Natural Wonder. It's had a hold on me since I got the bike. But between crashes, deaths and holidays I'd never really had the chance to go. I had seen amazing sights in loads of countries around the world but never seen the most impressive one here in my own country. That was going to change today.

Almost the entire road up to Glen Coe is superb. The road following Loch Lubnaig is a personal favourite. It follows the banks of the loch and weaves in and out of the landscape. There are times when you think the guy that designed it must have been a biker.

Loch Lubnaig:







Further north is Glen Ogle. It was not named after a leering pervert but is rather a bastardisation of the original Gaelic name (Glen Eagal). I think.

Glen Ogle:

















Next stop was Killin and the Falls of Dochart.











The Fall of Dochart was the last place my Dad and I visited on the bikes before he died. It was on the way home from here that I had my accident so it will always be special to me. It was while sitting on the rocks here (I'm amazed Health & Safety haven't declared it too dangerous to venture out onto the falls) enjoying my lunch when I decided to keep going. It would have been easy to head home and be back before my ass hurt but the sun was shining and I had a natural wonder to see. Ass hurting be damned!

On the road to Tyndrum. It was cold:





The Green Welly Stop is a favourite stopping place for bikers and other tourists. When I arrived it was full of both. From what I could tell, most of these guys were from Northern Ireland. I got the feeling that everyone was watching me leave the car park, waiting for me to make a mistake. Thankfully I got away without stalling or falling off. I was probably imagining the scrutiny anyway!



So after a quick pitstop, it was on to Glen Coe. It's hard to describe the feeling you get when you see it come into view. The hardest pat is not pulling over every hundred yards to take more pictures. Just as I pulled over an RAF Tornado screamed by over head, lower than the hilltops in these photos. If I was an RAF pilot, I'd fly through Glen Coe as well.















I had been worried about the amount of tourists I'd encounter. It wasn't bad. Only saw 2 buses the whole time. I felt bad for them. I've done the bus tour thing before, elsewhere. It can be a laugh and you tend to meet cool people, but you don't get to experience things properly. They weren't getting off the bus at the beauty spots just to get pictures. There were getting off the bus to they could see the fucking place full stop. On a bike, the whole world is a beauty spot. I didn't even envy their heating.

It was time to head off home. By this point I was pretty tired and very cold. The wind had picked up quite a bit which chilled things even further. So off I went. Was hard taking my eyes off the wing mirror though. I was riding into the wind at this point which was slowing me down terribly. The bike would not get over 45mph. At first I thought I'd damaged the bike somehow until I realised what the problem actually was. You know you need to buy a bigger bike when the wind increases your journey time by an hour.





A couple of hours later and I was home. All in all it was a 7 and a half hour trip . Which isn't really at all impressive when you look at what some people on this website do but it was hard going for me. Still, it's been far and away the best ride I've had yet. Let's hope I can top it sometime!
Your Dad is always with you.... never think you are riding alone.... as he loves you and the bike..... so keep the bike & Ride close to your heart... the back set of your bike is always accommodate with your dad... wish you good luck for every ride,,, and 100 salute to the great soul. he is always there feel him..in every part of you.
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Old 04-16-2013, 08:11 AM   #317
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Hey Matt,

enjoying the vids mate and your commentary is entertaining, keep up the good work.

I have been on a good few of the roads you are showing, stayed at Killin and Lochearnhead last time I was up, thanks for the trip down memory lane.

Hearing you talk about dodging sheep took me back. On certain of the smaller roads they had a habit of using white painted, sheep sized rocks as a sort of marker for the edges of the road. "Is it a sheep poised to do a sprint across the road, or is it a rock?"
Haha I think bikers up and down the country play the sheep/rock game. It's a game well worth playing. I was up in Glen Coe yesterday in the car and there were sheep lining the roads the whole way. I'm going to look into who to notify when I find sheep on the road. Everyone drives/rides past and forgets about them but it's pretty dangerous.


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Your Dad is always with you.... never think you are riding alone.... as he loves you and the bike..... so keep the bike & Ride close to your heart... the back set of your bike is always accommodate with your dad... wish you good luck for every ride,,, and 100 salute to the great soul. he is always there feel him..in every part of you.
Thank you very much.
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Old 04-16-2013, 02:10 PM   #318
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Least the coppers were in the 30, no complaints there, good few bike sout so guess there were a few friendly nods
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Old 04-16-2013, 04:07 PM   #319
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Matt, just be aware that the roads you travel, especially around Glencoe, are favourites with the Scottish Police Driver Training Unit!
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Old 04-17-2013, 05:42 AM   #320
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Sweet pix!

I've been to Scotland and it's amazingly beautiful, disarmingly so...
We spent a week up on the North Coast, around Kyle Of Tongue. There was so much open ground.... you see something and think "I'll just walk out there for a closer look"... two hours later, it still appears to be about the same distance away! That North Coast area is awe inspiring.

Riding a motorcycle in Scotland must be a real treat, in spite of
the weather.
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Old 04-17-2013, 05:48 PM   #321
Matt 82 OP
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Least the coppers were in the 30, no complaints there, good few bikes out so guess there were a few friendly nods
I was actually glad of the warning. The cops are at that spot quite regularly but I always find it hard to stay at 30 there for some reason. Maybe because the houses are quite far back from the road, I don't know. Either was it was appreciated.


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Originally Posted by rodmuzwa View Post
Matt, just be aware that the roads you travel, especially around Glencoe, are favourites with the Scottish Police Driver Training Unit!
Are you trying to suggest I couldn't outrun some high speed pursuit proby?


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Originally Posted by ricochetrider View Post
Sweet pix!

I've been to Scotland and it's amazingly beautiful, disarmingly so...
We spent a week up on the North Coast, around Kyle Of Tongue. There was so much open ground.... you see something and think "I'll just walk out there for a closer look"... two hours later, it still appears to be about the same distance away! That North Coast area is awe inspiring.

Riding a motorcycle in Scotland must be a real treat, in spite of
the weather.
I tend to do that with hills. I pick the smallest one in the glen, thinking it doesn't look too bad but before I'm halfway up I'm dying. Haven't done much of the north coast, and the little I have done was in the car. Hopefully this year though.

Yeah I think us Scottish bikers are pretty lucky tbh. I moan about potholes and caravans but it's not too bad here. The weather is a pain though. This week looks to be a washout thanks to high winds and torrential rain.
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Old 04-17-2013, 05:49 PM   #322
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Speaking of caravans, here's me moaning about being slowed by one heading south by Loch Lubnaig.

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Old 04-17-2013, 07:30 PM   #323
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I've been away from this forum for while and just found your blog here. Great photos! I was stationed in Scotland from July of '72 through the end of '75. When I first got there, my buddies showed me the Triumph shop near the Barrows in Glasgow. I bought a new 1972 Triumph Daytona 500. I lived in a small cottage at Hunter Quay. I've ridden most of the roads west of the Clyde and a few on the east side. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.
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Old 04-18-2013, 12:59 AM   #324
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Think you needed to play 'frogger' with the cars to be able to line up an overtake on the camper, staying out wide on a couple of those corners would of given a good line of sight to power on an overtake on the straights, like they say, the learning never stops.

Oh and that Unimog, bloody love those things
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Old 04-18-2013, 07:40 AM   #325
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I've been away from this forum for while and just found your blog here. Great photos! I was stationed in Scotland from July of '72 through the end of '75. When I first got there, my buddies showed me the Triumph shop near the Barrows in Glasgow. I bought a new 1972 Triumph Daytona 500. I lived in a small cottage at Hunter Quay. I've ridden most of the roads west of the Clyde and a few on the east side. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.
Nice. I haven't really been out and about the Clyde much but if I'm ever out in the Hunter Quay area I'll get some pictures for you.


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Think you needed to play 'frogger' with the cars to be able to line up an overtake on the camper, staying out wide on a couple of those corners would of given a good line of sight to power on an overtake on the straights, like they say, the learning never stops.

Oh and that Unimog, bloody love those things
Yeah I debated with myself whether I should overtake or stay back and moan. Decided to moan

I like Unimogs too. I tend to favour the industrial look over sleek. Scotland isn't the country to get the best out of them though. Most of the places you could get them offroad are also off limits to the public. The trails that you are allowed to take bikes would mostly be too small as well.
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Old 04-18-2013, 02:29 PM   #326
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Taunted by the dilemma 'laborious overtake or moan' I like to take the first escape road. Don't care where it leads too as it likely provides a better tour.

Won't work on a commute though, unless you're the boss himself.
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Old 04-18-2013, 03:22 PM   #327
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Taunted by the dilemma 'laborious overtake or moan' I like to take the first escape road. Don't care where it leads too as it likely provides a better tour.

Won't work on a commute though, unless you're the boss himself.
Good point. Sadly once you're heading down the side of Loch Lubnaig you're there for the duration. Luckily it's not too long a stretch.

Anyway I've just noticed the forcast is for blue skies tomorrow so I'm getting some sleep. New road hopefully.
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Old 04-18-2013, 06:51 PM   #328
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Hey there Matt,
I finally had some time to watch all your vids and they're great! No problem with understanding what you're saying at all, but tons of enjoyment from your observations! One thing I think I noticed, and I don't know if this is really the case, but I recall from my time in the west of Scotland that there were an awful many sections of country road with kerbing and I kept thinking what a huge pain it would be to have to pull off the road and have to hop over that bit. There were a few times when a big bus was coming the other way and was riding the line and I wanted to move over as far as I could away from the bugger but I was always afraid I'd tear out the sidewalls on that kerbing. This was in a car, mind you. So, in a couple of your vids, is that kerbing they have on curves? Keep up the good work! Cheers!
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Old 04-20-2013, 05:06 AM   #329
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Hey there Matt,
I finally had some time to watch all your vids and they're great! No problem with understanding what you're saying at all, but tons of enjoyment from your observations! One thing I think I noticed, and I don't know if this is really the case, but I recall from my time in the west of Scotland that there were an awful many sections of country road with kerbing and I kept thinking what a huge pain it would be to have to pull off the road and have to hop over that bit. There were a few times when a big bus was coming the other way and was riding the line and I wanted to move over as far as I could away from the bugger but I was always afraid I'd tear out the sidewalls on that kerbing. This was in a car, mind you. So, in a couple of your vids, is that kerbing they have on curves? Keep up the good work! Cheers!
Thanks man. I was in Glen Coe yesterday and filmed a lot. So much so that the battery died later on but I haven't yet had a chance to see how much I got. Hopefully get them on tonight.

I hadn't noticed kerbing so kept an eye out yesterday. It seems to be near bridges, walls and mounds by the side of the road that you find it. So my guess is that it's there to provided a solid barrier to hold back the dirt and grass from being pushed out onto the road by the weight of whatever it is.

Take that with a pinch of salt.


Anyway new report and photos later. In the meantime, admire my bike:

Bike:

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Old 04-20-2013, 06:04 AM   #330
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Anyway new report and photos later. In the meantime, admire my bike:

Bike:

Ey Matt, that shot's a stunner, it is!! Front page material in my opinion! The bike looks absolutely fabulous...ready to take you on wherever the tarmac leads. I'm jealous of your scenery! Brillant, just brillant.
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