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Missed Summer – Autumn is Here!

BIKES, BIKES & MORE BIKES We love it 🙂

1st season has seen us out on bikes lots, coaching, guiding and hiring bikes. Our success has been not in how much money we have made but the smiles we have seen on others faces due to the amazing landscape we work in and the trails for riding.

Here are some smiley faces from the summer:

Thank you to all our customers, and we really hope you will spread the word about how good cycling is, how good the west coast of Scotland is for cycling and how much fun you can have with us, making your holiday run smoothly with bikes to gaining top tips from coaches so that you can start to ride faster and smoother.

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Gravel Bike – Pinnacle Arkose

Gravel Bike riding in Lochaber is endless, with fantastic networks of track. I put together an amazing adventure with a fantastic group of folk all connected to Evans Cycles to promote a bike – The Pinnacle Arkose.

I took them on bumpy single track, smooth quiet roads, loose rocky tracks and undefined bog trotting trails all of course with stunning views. A film has been released and below are two links to pieces written about the trip by writers who can actually make a sentence make sense rather than my witter!

bearbonesbikepacking.blogspot

http://katherinebikes.com/scotland-bitten-by-the-gravel-bug/

Route is here OS Map of Route  (GPX file also available through this link) – Guide very much advised to get the most from the route and to be able to adapt it for weather conditions and group abilities, plus we have several others up our sleeve, please get in touch – info@westcoastbiking.co.uk

Spring sprung for West Coast Biking

Sunshine, blue skies, bikes, dusty trails, new friends, old friends, trail pooch, coaching, guiding………good times.

GUIDING

Guiding has taken me out on my mountain bike several times in the big mountains both in Lochaber & Torridon, in the woods around Nevis Range.

But I have also digressed from my mountain bike to a gravel bike, and I put together an amazing adventure with a fantastic group of folk all connected to Evans Cycles to promote a new bicycle.

I took them on bumpy single track, smooth quiet roads, loose rocky tracks and undefined bog trotting trails all of course with stunning views. A film is soon to be released and ill be sure to let everyone see, meanwhile here are two links to piece written about the trip by writers who can actually make a sentence make sense rather than my witter!

bearbonesbikepacking.blogspot

http://katherinebikes.com/scotland-bitten-by-the-gravel-bug/

Evans Cycles

 

Hike a Bike Slabs

LOCAL CLUB – West Highland Wheelers

The season has seen me organise a week long bike festival for the local club, holding events from a street race on mountain bikes down steps through allies and negotiating wheelie bins to social riding & racing in the woods, with music, BBQ’s, films and lots of pedalling.IMG_8582

We have since seen great results from a range of members in the last few weeks to name just a few, Louise Anna Ferguson being my current hero, within the last few weeks competing in British downhill, world enduro and now having just been in the 4X Pro Tour at the world cup this weekend as well as fore running the main event! Mikayla Parton winning the British Downhill in Fort William & SDA at Glencoe, hardy girls.

All the kids in the club racing hard and bringing back great results from mini downhill events. Stephen Dent racing hard on the road now selected for the British squad to represent in the Bahamas 2017 Youth Games. Ewan Thorburn (one of our guides) single speed European champ on home turf in Evanton, Lachlan Blair possibly getting the best result at a world cup for any local in elite catagory, 21st.

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Plus I now need to send lots of luck out to Gill Barnes ( who has been working hard improving skill & technique on my coaching sesisons, please read on) & John Shirley competing in the Cross country, Alistair MacLennan & Fiona Beattie competing in downhill at the UCI MTB world masters championships in Andorra at the end of this month.

Huge inspiration and amazing role models on my door stop in Lochaber. 🙂

 

http://www.whwheelers.org/kids-club – more info re: the local club and what we do

COACHING

I have also set up several coaching sessions specifically for those new to the sport or those wishing to brush up on core skills and find better flow on the natural trails.

These sessions have shown the value of group encouragement, patience & sense of humour to achieve, improve and grow in confidence. I have also grown in confidence and developed new ways of coaching skills & technique along with the confidence of the riders in the groups, some of which have become regulars.

Further sessions will be available for you to join in with, all with slightly different aims, please see the coaching page on the website or check out https://www.facebook.com/groups/westcoastbiking/

They are super friendly sessions, relaxed atmosphere, with some women only sessions. I am very enthusiastic to continue providing these sessions, seeing the development in the riders from simple adjustments to riding positions to new ways of thinking about line choice is great to see.

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Thanks to all the support and those I’ve ridden with, I’m going to keep on rolling and build West Coast Biking with an aim to give more riders a fun adventure or help riders ride with more flow, confidence and inevitably faster. See you all soon out on two wheels. 🙂

 

Our Torridon Base for Adventures

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#GatewaytoTorridon we purchased an ugly run down bungalow in Kinlochewe last year. This year its getting transformed into a practical cyclists base for adventures. We are very excited, the property is at a focal point in the village and cannot be missed due to location and its current ugly image it has.

I’ve not been on my bike much due to so much going on with skiing to renovating houses to dog walking. The house is my priority just now as this is where the business is going to run.

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I will show some progression over the next few months below is the interior of the annex sitting room starting to look homely from the inside:

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The Winter West Coast Biking Office

A few words about the life in the office world of West Coast Biking which is run by Emma Holgate …..

Over the winter I ski as much as possible, giving me a break from the biking to come back in March/April with rejuvenated enthusiasm and excitement.

I work from different locations across Scotland over the winter as I use my time to complete other jobs that don’t get done over the cycling season on the west coast of Scotland. I also take on a part time/flexible role on the ski hill in Fort William – Nevis Range Mountain Resort – http://www.nevisrange.co.uk/

I work 3 days a week on the ski hill as a ski patroller with a great team of people, with often stunning office views from the summit of Aonach Mor. We are currently lacking snow, so a lot of people are doing the snow dance to encourage its arrival!

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This winter the other big job is to get a house in Kinlochewe, Torridon habitable with a bike workshop. New windows & roof, lots of decorating and kitchen fitting. We have lots of ideas for the house and hope that we will have the UK & wider world wide cycling community calling in on us for spares and repairs, advice about best routes to take on any sort of bicycle on the west coast of Scotland, plus we hope to be able to provide practical and convenient accommodation for cyclists.

Currently I am writing this post from a hotel room in Austria where I popped out too for a last minute week of blasting about on my skis.

For more photos and what I am up to then please check out our instagram account – https://www.instagram.com/westcoastbiking/

Further blogs to come explaining life as a Ski Patroller in Scotland and Ski Touring.

Emma on Skis…..

 

Gateway to Torridon

A wee update….KINLOCHEWE…gateway to Torridon and amazing riding for every cyclist.

kinlochewe

Our 2nd base..next season – bike hire fleet, spares and repairs shed, and links with other adventure tourism businesses plus accommodation (currently uninhabitable but its a project that’s started to create a cyclist friendly house and facilities) WATCH THIS SPACE, we are excited about the possibilities in this unique west coast village.

Autumn exploring on a bike in the north-west of Scotland

The weather has just been phenomenal the last couple of months in Scotland, allowing some big mountain bike rides to continue long into the autumn season when usually it is a time we all want to hide in the low level woods for shelter against the weather.

We have cycled in Torridon, Lochaber and Skye plus further north but if I give the location away then it could end up being overridden 🙂 We have explored new areas and ridden what had been possibly virgin trails to the two wheeled bicycle.

The satisfaction and feeling of adventure carrying your bike for hours into the unknown to then descend a ribbon of single track that puts a smile on your face as you power round every corner is like nothing else. The exploration of what were once old stalkers paths and pony tracks is exciting and usually rewarding on two wheels…….although there are days when you feel like your taking your bike for a walk, this has occurred in the years of exploring. Or when you just accept that a trail is simply more enjoyable to walk, take photos and take in the views, stashing the bikes once a period of stubbornness has past!

Come and explore with us, or ride some of the trails we have discovered, and very few folk have ridden before.

Cyclo Cross

What is Cyclo Cross?……Cyclo cross is a form of cross country racing on adapted road bikes to enable riders to take them off road to travel fast and efficiently.

You could also call the bikes ‘Gravel’ bikes, which are great for our area with lots of forest tracks to link with single track roads, making spectacular journeys in the wild west. Some ideas below:

Lochaber Cyclo Cross

There are endless forest tracks and stunning routes to take with a cyclo cross bike in Lochaber below outline how to make a 5 day cycling holiday on a cyclo cross bike.

Day 1 Tour de Ben Nevis (can be made into a 2 day bike packing journey with use of a bothy as accomodation)

Day 2 Train ride to Corrour Station and ride back

Day 3 Loch Laggan and Ardverikie Castle Circular

Day 4 Glen Etive

Day 5 Oban Circular

Lots of scope and we can provide the best routes and which to avoid 😉 Cyclo Cross Scotland

North Coast 500

North Coast 500 by Bike

The North Coast 500 is Scotland’s biggest road trip measuring over 500 miles. The route begins in Inverness and flows along the stunning coastal edges of the North Highlands in one round trip. Bringing together the best of the Highlands from glistening beaches, haunting castles, monumental munros and hundreds more scenic stop-offs, you will be spoilt for choice on this road trip!

Cycle Touring
Touring on the west coast of Scotland

The website below provides a great detail of the route and ideas of how to do it independently if you wish to, but please contact us if we can assist in any way, we also have great inside knowledge of where best to eat, sleep and take wee excursions out of the original route!

http://www.northcoast500.com/itinerary/cyclists-(1).aspx

 

Skimo Scotland

What is Skimo? skimoscot

Skimo Scotland is ski mountaineering racing in Scotland. http://www.skimoscotland.co.uk/

What is Ski Mountaineering?

Ski touring and ski mountaineering are terms used to describe essentially the same activity – travelling through snow covered terrain, using skis to go both uphill and downhill. Ski mountaineering emphasizes getting to the tops of mountains along the way, and ski touring emphasizes the journey, but there is considerable overlap, and the terms may be used interchangeably.

In order to travel uphill on skis, alpine ski-tourers use “skins”, which are stuck to the bottom of the ski – these allow the ski to glide uphill, but not slip back down. At the top of the hill, the skins can be removed, and the slope skied downhill in a similar way to a piste skier in a ski resort.

Your all now know what Skimo is! I have competed in 2 races this season, with 3 more planned. I can’t emphasise how excited I am about these events due to the sport itself, the people organising and marshalling and the other racers.

I have a huge love for skiing and to bring together, racing, skiing, adventures and a big work out is awesome fun! I have been to the Lecht and Glenshee with a win at the first then a kick to train harder after the second as the British team showed up and showed us how it was really done!