Ratbike Zone Tour of Scotland in May 2019

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Ratbike Zone Tour of Scotland in May 2019

Post by Big Chris on Wed Jun 27, 2018 11:20 am

If there is enough interest, we could organise a tour of Scotland next year. Scotland doesn't have events worth coming to, what we do have is wilderness and open roads, so this is an offer to show you them. In a few years time I may be off in Australia again or caring for parents and there won't be the opportunity to use my gaff as a base.

The month to do it in is May, because the midgie season starts in June, in May the tourist season is not at its peak, and the weather is as good as you can expect for Scotland. Not school holiday. Nights will still be cold, bring a decent sleeping bag. Stick a groundsheet under your waffer thin Quechua tent too.

A rough itinery would be:

You lot gather at my house on Thursday night. My house is on the Southern edge of Edinburgh, about a mile from the motorway network. Stay at mine Thursday (I have 1 or 2 spare rooms depending on whether I have a lodger, plus garden space for 3 or 4 tents. I have a garage for bikes.)

Friday we ride into the Highlands somewhere and camp. The club that Scott and I are in does a lot of wild camping so we know loads of good camping spots where you can get bikes off the road and make a fire. We may be joined by some folks from our club too.

Saturday we ride to somewhere else and camp that night too.

For those who need to return South sooner rather than later, I could lead a bunch of you back to my house on the Sunday, you can have a shower and a proper bed, and you can ride home on Monday.

Those of you who have more days off work can ride further North, can camp more nights. If there is enough folks wanting to do that I will arrange annual leave so that I can be part of it.

Alternatively I can mark some campsites on your map and let you go off on your own.

Redfog and I have chatted about this, those of you with the time can go right up to the far North coast and visit her. I emphasise "Those who have the time" because the roads that far North are slower, and the miles feel longer. An A-road in the far North of Scotland is of a much lower spec than an A-road in England, so you won't be doing the same speed. Plus you'll stop to take a lot of photos.

Having said that, some of the Highland roads are absolutely epic and you can do warp factor nine Mr Sulu for long uninterrupted periods. You'll see why Scott and I also own a VFR750 and a Tiger1050.

So, have a think about it, work our how much time off you can get, let me know of any clashing events and we can select a weekend and go from there.

I am aware that by writing this I am by default hereby volunteering to herd cats on a monumental scale, so there may be a point when compromises are made and not everyone's choice can be accommodated





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Re: Ratbike Zone Tour of Scotland in May 2019

Post by Big Chris on Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:11 pm

I should add, that this invite is restricted to anyone I have met at an R&S show. I have been to 2 R&S's within the last 3 years. If I have met you at one of them, you're invited. But please don't extend this to other folks I haven't met.

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Re: Ratbike Zone Tour of Scotland in May 2019

Post by magnamaniac on Wed Jun 27, 2018 4:51 pm

Big Chris wrote:I should add, that this invite is restricted to anyone I have met at an R&S show. I have been to 2 R&S's within the last 3 years. If I have met you at one of them, you're invited. But please don't extend this to other folks I haven't met.
So bringing my wife is out of the question? Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad










































clown clown She absolutely HATES camping in a tent

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Re: Ratbike Zone Tour of Scotland in May 2019

Post by june_whitfield on Wed Jun 27, 2018 7:30 pm

magnamaniac wrote:She absolutely HATES camping in a tent

just bring your caravan, all the other Dutch people do!

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Re: Ratbike Zone Tour of Scotland in May 2019

Post by spotarama on Wed Jun 27, 2018 10:18 pm

i'll see if mrs spotty will let me have a couple of weeks away and i can keep the vmax running long enough to get there
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Re: Ratbike Zone Tour of Scotland in May 2019

Post by magnamaniac on Sat Jun 30, 2018 10:09 am

On a serious note: I'm definitely interested, for a longer trip, not just a weekend. depending on the date it might be possible to do a combo with R&S 2019?

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Re: Ratbike Zone Tour of Scotland in May 2019

Post by Big Chris on Mon Jul 02, 2018 10:00 am

magnamaniac wrote:On a serious note: I'm definitely interested, for a longer trip, not just a weekend. depending on the date it might be possible to do a combo with R&S 2019?

In principle, yes.
However, the R&S is usually in June, which is the midgie season, hence me suggesting we do this in May. But as you have a greater distance plus ferry cost to factor in, I understand your logic.

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Re: Ratbike Zone Tour of Scotland in May 2019

Post by magnamaniac on Mon Jul 02, 2018 1:53 pm

Maybe the seasons have changed a bit, but we usually went to Scotland end of may/beginning of June and never had any midges trouble. But that was 8-15 years ago. Been there 6 or 7 times and still love it. Usually Inverness area as 'basecamp'

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Re: Ratbike Zone Tour of Scotland in May 2019

Post by Big Chris on Mon Jul 02, 2018 2:22 pm

The exact start time can vary, but by Mid-June the midgies are well and truly out. I assume it will vary with summer weather, but this year we have had it hot and dry from the start. But they don't like it when it's hot, or cold, or windy, or sunny. But there are several still summer evenings when there is no wind, and cloud cover. That's when they'r at their worst. But they seem to disappear by September. I always make sure I am home in May, I keep May weekends clear so I can get into the Highlands.

Scott, myself and a bunch of other folks went biking in the Highlands last weekend, our tactic was to choose campsites where there'd be a good chance of a breeze, on the sea coast and on a loch coast were what we chose. Having a smoky fire helps too.

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Re: Ratbike Zone Tour of Scotland in May 2019

Post by _Mouse_ on Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:29 pm

Definitely interested. I keep being annoyed with my self for not going up again.
It's got parts that are easily as epic as going into Europe without the faf of crossing the channel and having to talk to the dirty foreigners. Wink
Been on two long tours and it's fucking epic especially if you can miss midge season. I keep thinking it was a couple of years ago but it's actually been 10 years since the last proper ratty road trip up there.

The relaxed wild camping regs makes for a really easy time of pitching for the night. And as Big Criss says the locals (Saddle Tramps?) know all the best places. I do believe I still have the paper fold out ordinate survey map of Scotland that they drew all over marking out all the best places with info, instructions and how to get to some off-the-road places.. If you want a top tip to trump them all (Excuse the pun) then take a paper map and get the locals to draw on it!!

This is the really shitty write up me and Nate did of the trip way back in 2008.
https://docs.google.com/document/d/17Ms1S15a0IWxXEz4KYBApRtbGMHhfdqPt22pB-tPE64/edit


Last edited by _Mouse_ on Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:41 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Ratbike Zone Tour of Scotland in May 2019

Post by _Mouse_ on Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:39 pm

Two random photos from the link in my last post if you cant access it.




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Re: Ratbike Zone Tour of Scotland in May 2019

Post by _Mouse_ on Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:04 pm

Drumming up trade........
Short videoclips of the last ratbike Scotland tour way back on 2008.
Digital cameras were shitty 10 years ago!! Rolling Eyes
















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Re: Ratbike Zone Tour of Scotland in May 2019

Post by magnamaniac on Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:50 pm

Hey Chris,
R&S date is confirmed for may 31-june 2.
If it is any way possible to do the trip the weekend/week before I'd be ecstatic. Razz Razz

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Re: Ratbike Zone Tour of Scotland in May 2019

Post by _Mouse_ on Sun Jul 15, 2018 11:08 pm

Is that early enough to miss the midge?

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Re: Ratbike Zone Tour of Scotland in May 2019

Post by virusjohn on Mon Jul 16, 2018 11:07 pm

im very tempted but I also have kind of decided next year I want to make the stella alpina again and possibly visit roly/greg.

Put me down as a maybe and i'll have a look closer to the time. What sort of tank range do I need btw? excess is pisstakingly small on tank range at the moment but i plan on chopping and extending it over winter.

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Re: Ratbike Zone Tour of Scotland in May 2019

Post by Big Chris on Tue Jul 17, 2018 8:57 am

A useful minimum tank range is 80 miles. That gets you from Fort William to Eiliean Donan in one hit. More regular refuelling (with the attendant fag breaks) will mean you cover ground at 20mph. You can get by with a shorter range, but you'll have to stop at EVERY SINGLE PETROL STOP, However, even at 80 miles range you'll be fuelling frequently.

A great technological leap forward is unmanned petrol stations which take payment by card. These remain open on Sundays, so you can still get fuel in the very remote and religious areas where Sunday working is frowned upon.

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Re: Ratbike Zone Tour of Scotland in May 2019

Post by _Mouse_ on Tue Jul 17, 2018 1:07 pm

I'd be a bit cautious of only having 80 miles range when touring in the top end of Scotland. Not that the filling stations are more than 80 miles apart but because of the lack of late night and Sunday opening that every city dweller has gotten used to.
Also factor in that if you're touring the nice out-of-the-way roads with no local knowledge you might miss filling station that are on the main trunk roads and easily travel way more than 80 miles without spotting them despite probably riding within 100s yards of one.

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Re: Ratbike Zone Tour of Scotland in May 2019

Post by Big Chris on Tue Jul 17, 2018 1:36 pm

_Mouse_ wrote: but because of the lack of late night and Sunday opening that every city dweller has gotten used to.

The unmanned (automatic/card only) filling stations are open 24 hours, including Sundays. However, they sometimes are literally just a petrol pump outside a wee shop, so are easily missed.


Also factor in that if you're touring the nice out-of-the-way roads with no local knowledge you might miss filling station that are on the main trunk roads and easily travel way more than 80 miles without spotting them despite probably riding within 100s yards of one.

That last bit is a good point. Plus you can go on long diversions to get to beaches, archaeological ruins or places to camp

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Re: Ratbike Zone Tour of Scotland in May 2019

Post by Big Chris on Tue Jul 17, 2018 1:49 pm

magnamaniac wrote:Hey Chris,
R&S date is confirmed for may 31-june 2.
If it is any way possible to do the trip the weekend/week before I'd be ecstatic. Razz Razz

Regarding the date, let's see how many others want that date. If the consensus of opinion is in favour, then we can arrange it.

Be warned that Glasgow to Cirencester (The R&S site) is a full day of motorway driving. It'd be a minimum of 8 or 9 hours in the saddle, perhaps more. You go through 2 big cities (Manchester and Birmingham) so it's a dull drive and time it to avoid traffic. Or, you may wish to break the journey into 2 days and then you could take the more interesting side roads.

Regarding the midgie season: The earlier in May the better time to visit, as they hatch at end of May/Early June. By the first or 2nd week in June they will be out everywhere. However, smoky fires and campsites with a breeze keep them down.

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Re: Ratbike Zone Tour of Scotland in May 2019

Post by _Mouse_ on Tue Jul 17, 2018 2:11 pm

Napalm also keeps them down so I'm told.

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Re: Ratbike Zone Tour of Scotland in May 2019

Post by magnamaniac on Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:10 pm

Big Chris wrote:
magnamaniac wrote:Hey Chris,
R&S date is confirmed for may 31-june 2.
If it is any way possible to do the trip the weekend/week before I'd be ecstatic. Razz Razz

Regarding the date, let's see how many others want that date. If the consensus of opinion is in favour, then we can arrange it.

Be warned that Glasgow to Cirencester (The R&S site) is a full day of motorway driving. It'd be a minimum of 8 or 9 hours in the saddle, perhaps more. You go through 2 big cities (Manchester and Birmingham) so it's a dull drive and time it to avoid traffic. Or, you may wish to break the journey into 2 days and then you could take the more interesting side roads.

Regarding the midgie season: The earlier in May the better time to visit, as they hatch at end of May/Early June. By the first or 2nd week in June they will be out everywhere.  However, smoky fires and campsites with a breeze keep them down.
I understand Chris. If it will be earlier in May i'll have to choose between Scotland-trip or R&S. Which will probably be in favor of Scotland.
And IF I combine it, the plan was to travel down in 2 or even 3 days.

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