Highland Perthshire Cycling

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Highland Perthshire is a great place to cycle with the whole family.
The huge variety of routes available means that there is something available to suit everyones taste and ability.
If you need any more advice and guidance about cycling with your family in Highland Perthshire, then get in touch.
 

Last Updated on Friday, 26 July 2013 14:07

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Cycling to work, the school run, the shops or even the pub is a great way to fit some exercise into your day, is free and great fun!
 
Here’s a few of the common concerns and how to tackle them.
 
‘I need to do the school run before work’ – Your local bike shop will be able to advise on bike child seats, trailers and tag-alongs.  When you get to school simply leave the child carrying equipment in the pram area at the school or ask about the school shed/cycle rack and pedal off to work or your next destination.
When your child gets a bit older you can cycle together to school, it’s great parent and child time, you’ll both love it and at the same time you’ll be instilling a healthy habit on travel and acting as the perfect role model for their future health.  (Children are 5 times more likely to be active if their parents are. 1)
 
*Top tip – practice in the garden or park with a new child seat/tag-along/trailer before your first journey to get used to how it works and feels.*
 
 
‘I don’t want to be sweaty when I get to work’ – You won’t get as sweaty as you think.  Choosing the right clothes for the journey makes a huge difference.
 

•  Less than 3 miles - simply wear the clothes you would normally wear for that day. On a warmer day carry your jumper/jacket in your bag to avoid overheating.

•  More than 3 miles or very hilly - try wearing a sports top (Merino wool is very good and odour resistant) and lightweight shorts or trousers. If your workplace has a shower, you could simply have your morning shower at work and change, job done. Most of us don’t have showers at work but this doesn’t present a problem. Have your morning shower at home before you leave, cycle in a lightweight sports top, take a change of clothes with you, take a wash cloth and travel towel for a quick rub down, apply deodorant, easy. Follow these tips and you’ll be fresh as a daisy and blend into the workplace no problem, whilst feeling that smug satisfaction that only cycle commuters feel.

 
*Top tip – aim to get to work 5 minutes early to have a breather and acclimatize before going in.*
 

‘I’ll get wet when it rains’ – Yeah, you might get a little damp but that’s life living in Scotland isn’t it?  Here’s some tips to stay a little drier.
•    Fit mudguards to your bike – these come in all different shapes and sizes to fit any bike, speak to your local bike shop or have a go yourself.
•    Waterproofs – you can get some excellent waterproof trousers and jackets from outdoor stores, ask for ones that are made of a very breathable fabric as you will get hot when cycling.  Watch out for trousers getting stuck in your chain, either choose trousers designed for cycling or use trouser clips (or an elastic band).
•    Waterproof shoes – are fantastic!  There are many different styles available from outdoor stores, waterproof shoes usually contain a Goretex liner in the material of the shoe.  Dry feet = happy people.
•    Embrace the rain – some people love cycling in the rain and opt to just go for it and splash in all the puddles taking a complete change of clothes with them.
 
*Top tip – accept you will get a little damp and remember there are other travel options when it’s really tipping down.*
 

‘I have a long commute’ – You are capable of more than you think and it really isn’t that hard.  A journey of 3 miles will take even the most unfit person no more than 30 minutes.  Cycle commutes of up to 20 miles each way isn’t unheard of but if this is your aim build up slowly by starting with only a couple days a week.  If your journey is longer than 20 miles you could cycling to the train station and taking your bike with you (bikes go free), or folding bikes are accepted on buses (folded up).  Plan your route using Google maps or Cycle Streets.net, even try a test run before you go for that first commute and allow plenty time for the first journey.  Once you’ve done it once you’ll be amazed how rewarding it is.
 
*Top tip – break the journey down into sections, the time will fly by, and once you get into a rhythm your legs will know what to do and you can get on with looking around you, planning the day ahead, etc.*
 
 
My commute would involve big hills’ – research your route thoroughly, you may find an alternative flatter route or cycle path you didn’t know existed.  Try not to view any hills as an obstacle but as a challenge, you’ll be amazed at how much satisfaction can be gained from getting to the top of a big hill, it’ll be hard to move the smile from your face and the proud feeling in your stomach.  Also, what goes up must come down, whizz down the descent with the glee of a 10 year old, you’ve earned it!
 
*Top tip – don’t be afraid of the hills, select a low gear, keep seated and slowly wind your way up.*
 
 
‘I have too much to carry’ – there are lots of options to carry all the things you need.  A set of panniers (cycle bags) will fit most things from a change of clothes, lunch, laptop, to even camping gear and wetsuits if you so wish.  Panniers clip to a rear (or front) cycle rack which fits to the bike, ask at your local bike shop of you are unsure.
 
*Top tip – if using a pannier bag for the first time have a little practice first as the weight on one side only makes the bike feel a little different at first.*
 

‘What if I get a puncture?’ – As long as your bicycle is good quality and in good repair you shouldn’t suffer from many punctures or mechanical problems.  Having said that, just like in your car it does happen from time to time.  In the car you carry a jack, spare wheel, etc ensure you do the same for your bike, carry the means to fix a puncture (tyre levers to help get the tyre off, a new tube or patches and a pump to re-inflate).  If you are very worried about breaking down you can purchase Cycle Breakdown Cover from the ETA which works in exactly the same way as car breakdown cover, see here - https://www.eta.co.uk/breakdown/bicycle/
*Top tip – look into going on a basic maintenance course so you know what to do if you do get a puncture.*
 

‘Won’t I look silly riding a bike?’ – No, you can look normal and still ride a bike.  If your journey is less than 3 miles just wear your normal clothes, you wouldn’t wear special clothes for getting on a bus or in a car would you?  A lot of cycling or outdoor clothing looks very normal, it doesn’t have to all be lycra, a simple Merino top can be stylish and perform well.  You can be visible without having to go ‘day glow’, try a bright red or blue top.  A lot of jackets are well styled with reflective patches that are ‘invisible’ during the day but ‘come alive’ at night in headlights.  For a few cycle style tips Google ‘Edinburgh cycle chic’ or ‘Copenhagen cycle chic’.
 
*Top tip – try different items so you feel comfortable but don’t be pressured to go over the top.  If you are only cycling for 30 minutes (5-6 miles) what’s the point in wearing special clothes?*
 

‘How do I stop my bike getting stolen?’ – Always use a lock, something substantial and a brand with a security rating (Kryptonite is good) is best but anything is better than nothing.  Try not to leave your bike unattended all day in a busy area or overnight but if you have to use a D-lock, these are the most secure but are also quite heavy.  The next best would be a coil lock with a high security rating, they are longer, flexible and lighter than a D-lock.
 
*Top tip – try to keep your pride and joy where you can see it locked up.*

Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 September 2013 09:45

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As with cars there are many different types of bike depending on what job you would like them to do.  Do as much research as you can to get the right bike for you and the type of cycling you want to do.  Here’s a brief rundown of the three main types.

Mountain Bike

Mountain bikes tend to have knobbly tyres, usually suspension at the front and sometimes at the rear, their geometry is generally a comfortable position neither too up right or leaning forward.  They are specially designed for off road use, although they can be used on road they will be slower than other types.  Mountain bikes are perfect for cycling through the forest, on a hill side or places where you require lots of grip and freedom of movement.

 

Road/Racing Bike

Road/racing bikes are specially designed for travelling at faster speeds along tarmac roads.  They tend to have larger wheels then mountain bikes, skinny tyres that are fairly smooth, curled drop handle bars and a geometry which sits you leaning forward for better aerodynamics.  These are a great option if you require or would like to cycle longer distances within a period of time, i.e. travel to/from work, as they are faster and more efficient.

 

Hybrids

Hybrids come in a variety of different forms but are quite often somewhere half way between a mountain bike and a road bike.  They tend to have tyres that are neither too knobbly or smooth, quite often a more relaxed comfortable geometry than a road bike and will sometimes have racks in which to carry bags on the bike.  These are a good option if you are looking for a general bike which will be good on cycle paths, off road paths and road.  Great for day to day cycling and for cycling holidays where you need to carry clothes/equipment.

 

As with anything you get what you pay for, a £70 bicycle from a supermarket or similiar will generally be very heavy, will only be suitable for gentle, basic cycling and might not last very long without maintenance problems.  For a good quality brand new adults basic mountain bike, expect to pay upwards of £300.  The second hand market is also a great option, ensure you ask questions about their reason for sale and only purchase if you are satisfied.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 March 2014 10:56

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Cycling is great exercise for everyone including children and can be a great fun, family day out.  As the cost of driving increases cycling becomes an increasingly attractive travel option, so why not give cycling with the kids to school a try and think about encouraging cycling as a life skill to take them through their years as they gain independence.

 

There are many options for cycling with children depending on the abilities of the child.  You can use seats that fit to your bike, tag-alongs (which are like part of a child’s bike which fits to the back of an adult’s bike which the child sits on), or trailers which can carry one or two children.  There are also many different types and sizes of children’s bike for independent cycling.  Balance bikes, where the child uses their feet to push themselves along, are a great way for young children to gain their balance and confidence before moving onto a bike with pedals.  This option is often a quicker way to learn to cycle, it can be used from a young age depending on the child and won’t require the child to move onto stabilisers, they can go straight from a balance bike to a normal children’s bike.

 

When cycling with children, either attached to your bike or independently, try to talk to them and pass on the skills of cycling.  Try playing games to listen for traffic, guess if it’s a car, van, bus, etc, get them to copy you when signalling or if they are older ask them when they think they should be signalling so you can copy them.  Looking behind them, traffic awareness, road position and looking ahead are all important skills so try to pass as much information onto them as they will be able to take onboard.

 

If the child is riding their own bike get them to ride in the normal cycling position on the road (away from the gutter, yellow lines, etc) and position yourself behind them and out a little further out into the road.  This will give the traffic a good chance to see you and will ensure they give both of you a nice wide berth.  Also consider wearing a high visibility jacket, drivers will see this from a good distance away and it will also give you more confidence.  By having confidence in your actions this will be passed to the child and they will learn to be confident cyclists too.


 
For children's cycling lessons, bike hire (including tag-alongs and balance bikes), family cycling advice and more try Progression Bikes, Dunkeld.

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 February 2013 11:16

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If you are heading into the hills check the mountain weather here

 

There's a good saying 'there's no such thing as bad weather just wrong clothing'.  A good or bad cycle can be solely determined not by the size of hill or how much singletrack there is but by wearing the right or wrong clothing.

 

There are lots of different types of clothing and shoes available for all different types of weather.  Finding the right clothing combinations are very personal and will take a certain amount of time and experimentation.  Try to avoid wearing cotton especially next to your skin, it doesn’t breathe very well and will get very sweaty or won’t dry quickly if it rains.  Try different man made materials or merino wool base layers to find what works for you.  Remember to take a warm layer and waterproof.  Try bike shops, outdoor stores or online retailers.

Gloves are a great option no matter what the weather, they protect against the cold, sunburn, rain, provide better grip (especially in the rain), gloves are a must for mountain biking.  You can get cycling gloves with cut off fingers or full fingers, either is fine.  These are available from any bike shop and online bike shops.

 

It can be expensive trying different clothing options so why not ask the experts or friends/family for their recommendations.

Last Updated on Thursday, 31 May 2012 10:39

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