The reason I cycle today is because of this route.
I six days into a three week trip offshore on the West Phoenix drilling rig when I got an email from one of my friends who at the time was working over in Australia. In it he said that he was on his way back to Scotland albeit temporarily and wanted to use his time here doing an epic cycling trip and wanted some company along the way.
I didn’t even know that he liked to cycle but I did know that I had not properly been on a bike for at least five years and even then it was not something that I took seriously but I admired the ambition of the plan. I had some holidays to take from work and so I immediately signed myself up forgetting small, insignificant details like fitness and the fact that I didn’t even have a bike.
Although the kinks needed ironed out, the basic premise of the route was to start in Glasgow and then head west to Oban before getting a boat across to Barra from where we would head north through the Hebrides until we ran out of islands and had to come back to the mainland and on to Inverness. Neither of us really knew what we were signing up for but it was clear that we both brought the required enthusiasm to get it done.
When I returned onshore I immediately went to my local bike shop to look at bikes as I was a complete novice when it came to road bikes. I bought a fairly mid-range bike thinking that even if I only used it for this trip then it would not be a waste of money although in hindsight I wish I had shelled out a little bit more money.
I think before the cycle started I manage to fit in a total of two rides on my new bike due to work commitments at the time. Any spare time I had offshore I would go to the gym to use the exercise bikes in a valiant but ultimately vain attempt to boost my base cycling fitness.
And so it was that the day finally arrived for us to leave Glasgow and power ourselves through Scotland.
Within a couple of miles I had fallen off after forgetting that I was clipped into my pedals and my small bag came loose from the rack so it was a fairly auspicious start to the strip.