Scotland - Highlands and Islands
Getting there and away
The tour starts in Ardrossan. If you decide to arrive a day or so early, redspokes can assist you in booking your accommodation and will organise a transfer to your hotel at an additional cost. Our tour price does not include your flight or train travel.
The tour ends in Inverness for those travelling back home on Day 8. If you decide to stay in Inverness beyond the last day of the tour redspokes can help you organise extra accommodation and transfers to the airport if needed.
If you are not flying, Inverness train station is well served from many locations in the UK. Check out www.expedia.com or www.opodo.co.uk for an idea of times and prices for flights and www.trainline.co.uk for trains.
It is a condition of joining our trips that you must be adequately insured. All persons are expected to arrange their own insurance. Polices should cover any potential risks involved in a mountain cycling holiday. We ask for copy of your policy to be sent in with your completed booking form.
Snowcard Insurance Services specialize in all mountain sports holidays including mountain biking. Their policies include emergency medical and repatriation expenses as well as mountain rescue. They are also able to insure personal belongings including equipment as well as travel cover for cancellation, delay and missed departure. Follow the link below to obtain full information and a quote: www.snowcard.co.uk.
Cycling support and grading
All of the time you will have the security of a back-up vehicle. The vehicle will carry our luggage (we transport your main baggage by support vehicle from each overnight stop to the next) and yourself if needed. The back up van will be with us throughout the day stopping around every 15 miles.
Our leaders carry a good tool kit and will help to fix any bike problems so all you normally need to carry is a daypack, for your camera etc., however, we cannot guarantee that we will be equipped for all repairs, so you must ensure that your bike is in good working order before the tour. If in doubt, have it fully serviced by a bike shop before you travel.
Equipment and bike stuff
The Scottish tour is suitable for most types of bicycles; however, please ensure that you bike is in good working order before you leave on tour. If you are not the most mechanically minded person we suggest that you get your bike looked at by a professional cycle mechanic. In particular we would suggest looking and adjusting all wheel spokes, greasing all your bearings, checking your brakes/gears cable Tighten all nuts and bolts, check chain, quick release clamps, tires and put in new inner tubes. Check your wheel rims are not worn. In addition ride with as much care and attention as possible.
We would also advise that you bring the following tools with you on your tour: multi-tool, tyre levers, pump, 2 spare inner tubes, spare spokes of the correct length to fit your wheels (check with a bike shop), brake pads, a few spare links for your chain, spares for any unique or high-tech items on your bike, e.g. fluid and bleed kit for hydraulic brakes.
Baggage allowances and your bike
Your bike must be carried as a part of your luggage allowance, to this end we do ask you to make every effort to keep your total check-in baggage to an absolute minimum. The baggage allowance for most airlines for an economy-class ticket is 20kg per person; although a degree of flexibility is usually extended to groups and the check in staff may accept up to 26kg per person without imposing excess baggage charges.
Your bike (in its cardboard box) will weigh 15 to 18kg. So, that means you will have a small allowance for clothing, etc. You should carry small heavy items in your day pack / pannier which you can take onto the plane as hand luggage.
Your hand luggage is not included as a part of your overall allowance, as it is not weighed. Please inform your airline that you will be taking your bike on the flight.
What to take
In terms of clothing this is clearly up to you and we can only supply a rough guide as to what to take. This guide is entirely flexible and should be tailored to your specific needs. Sunglasses, lightweight trekking boots/shoes, cycling footwear, lightweight socks (3 pairs), heavy socks (1 pairs), underwear (4 pairs), lightweight, long-sleeved thermal shirt, lightweight trekking shorts, padded cycling shorts (2 pairs),shorts, t-shirts (2), lightweight, long-sleeved shirt, fleece jacket/pullover, biking jacket, waterproof (breathable fabric), fingerless biking gloves, warm gloves, fleece hat or cap with earflaps, sunglasses, toiletries, basic first aid kit, towel (small), sun cream, lip balm. If you have any questions about this list please feel free to contact us.
What's included and what's not
Included: 7 nights accommodation on bed and breakfast basis. The places we book are all traditionally Scottish in character. We deliberately try to avoid the touristy accommodation and focus more on those places with excellent hospitality. Our prices are based on sharing a twin room; single rooms are sometimes available at extra cost.
We will recommend places for lunches and evening meals for the group.