Cycling enthusiasts often look forward to cycling tours in the Scottish highlands. This is because you get to see awe-inspiring panoramic views of the Scottish countryside resplendent in all its glory.
Beautiful coastlines, craggy mountain terrain, undulating lands and mist-filled plains, intersect the numerous cycling trails that stretch all the way from Inverness to parts of Northern Scotland.
Quaint little towns dot and crisscross the cycling routes, which make it easy for you to stop, savour the breathtaking view, and take some pictures along the way.
The scenery around Inverness and other key sites is stunning and a wonder to behold. This is especially true along Loch Ness 360, which is one of the most visited cycling routes on the trail.
If you want to enjoy the cycling tour to the full, you must adhere to some practical safety and prep tips, which will enhance your experience. The following guidelines are very useful for cycling expeditions and tours in the Scottish highlands:
There are a few necessities that you must have and need to bring with you as you undertake the tour. These include basic items such as money, extra changes of clothing, snacks, and towels.
It is also advisable that your purchase some honey balms to apply on your bum. This is essentially an anti-chaffing anti-bacterial viscous cream laced with honey that counters friction between the skin and clothing, which often occurs when cycling.
It consists of components that are unadulterated and organic which serves as a lubricating shield between the skin and your cycling shorts. The cream provides much needed relief for cyclists.
It is best applied and worn for every ride you make irrespective of the time you spend cycling or
the distance you cover.
Use luggage transport companies
You can carry very little luggage on your cycle, because full luggage is heavy, is a distraction and can even cause an accident. The solution is to take advantage of the services of luggage transport companies.
Service providers such as Inverness taxis, can handle your bags from your first hotel to the next and onwards as you stop over at towns along the cycle route.
These include important items like a suitable helmet, fingerless cycling gloves that can help to prevent blisters forming on your hands because of constantly gripping cycle handlebars.
A basic first aid kit will also come in handy for treatment of cuts, scrapes and sores and should include painkillers, bandages and essential medication.
A pair of sunglasses will serve to shield your eyes when you ride in extreme sunlight such as sunrise, which can impair your vision.
You will need sunscreen or some form of sun block to protect your skin and a small waterproof bag to store and protect essential items from extreme weather conditions such as rain or snow.
Stock up on proper clothing
The weather conditions prevalent on the cycle trail will determine the type of clothing you will wear. The clothes you will need for cycling in winter in places like Inverness must be thick, warm but not too bulky or heavy.
Heavy clothes will impede your movement through snow and when cycling against a strong wind. In addition, you need a pair of comfortable padded shorts to avoid unnecessary friction.
Other clothing items include a fleece, which should be light in texture to keep you warm on cooler days, a waterproof and windproof jacket, a light top for warmer days and shoes that fit you comfortably.
You should have these useful items on you for cycling field trips. Swimming gear, just in case you might want to take a dip in a loch and a camera for capturing pictures of places and events, which can form part of your memorabilia.
Portable chargers and suitable plug adaptors in conjunction with a power outlet will help provide necessary power for your mobile phone and devices. Spares, tools and a small repair kit will help deal with issues like tyre punctures.
You will also need route notes and a printed map if you are on a self-guided tour to aid and ease your navigation.
Plan your tour before you embark on the trail
Proper planning is essential and should be as thorough as possible before embarking on a cycle tour. First, determine where you want to go, how long, how far and by what route. Then ensure you or every member of your cycling party have all essential items on their person.
Make contingency plans on what to do if there is an incident like an accident on the way and ensure you have emergency numbers of first responders readily available.
Take necessary precautions
You must ensure that safety first is your priority at all times. You must not cycle alone on lonely mountain trails except if it is necessary. Cycling on desolate areas at night should be completely out of the question. Riding close to the edge or the sheer face of a cliff should be totally prohibited for either you or anyone in your cycling party.