Tag Archive: Weekend

  1. Duke’s Gold

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    Duke’s Gold™

    Loch Lomond and Trossachs’ best kept secret

    What is all this ‘gravel’ malarkey about? Following closely on the heels of the phenomenally successful gravel event we were proud to be a part of – the Dukes Weekender – we were left in no doubt that it was time to stop all the talk and get on and organise the ultimate gravel tour in Scotland.

    Why? Because we love anything that means more folk are out having fun riding bikes in the dirt (or grit). Riding gravel bikes combines so many of our favourite things – mud, mountains and spectacular locations – and the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park is one of the most magnificent locations of them all.

    Combining the best of mountain and road biking – take the tracks less travelled for exhilarating discoveries amidst Scotland’s hidden forests and glens. The Duke’s gold gravel weekend break takes place in one of Britains most magnificent areas of natural beauty. Here, you will access a huge trail network, wild places on predominantly smooth gravel surfaces – forest tracks, fireroads and dirt single tracks. With Aberfoyle as our base for the weekend, this little village with a huge heart is surrounded by a network of trails and tracks that a weekend is never going to be enough – we have a hunch you’ll be back for more.

    The Trip

    This gravel tour breaks down all the barriers and throws away the rule book blurring the lines between mountain biking and road cycling. Join us!

    • Type of TripGravel
    • Technical Grading to
    • Endurance Grading to
    • How Long? 2 nights / 2.5 days riding

    Here’s what you can expect

    • The best gravel routes in the majestic Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park handpicked by our local gravel expert guide
    • Professional Guide – expertly trained, hugely experienced but most of all great fun and with a wealth of local knowledge to share!
    • Cosy B&B accommodation in a traditional inn in the centre of Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park (Friday and Saturday).
    • Scrumptious, hearty cooked breakfasts (and lighter options too if you’re watching your waistline) to set you up for the day
    • Even scrummier two-course evening meals
    • Comprehensive logistics support including first aid and mechanical assistance throughout your trip
    • Detailed pre-departure information
    • Trip photos
    • Join the trip in Aberfoyle (alternative arrangements may be possible – please contact us to discuss)

    2019 Trip Dates

    • April 26th to 28th

    Essential Information

    Itinerary*

    Friday

    12:00: meet at the Forth Inn for a light lunch and meet the rest of the crew before saddling up for a short shakedown ride to whet your appetite for what is to come – two more days drinking (and eating) up the splendour of the Trossachs, often considered the Highlands in miniature!

    Saturday

    After setting up the day nicely with a brew and a hearty breakfast in the Forth, we venture deep into North Dukes country for some of the finest Trossachs Grit. Following in the footsteps of the legend of Rob Roy McGregor himself and his arch advisory the Duke of Montrose, we take a journey through the Great Trossachs Forest.

    Miles upon miles of Forest trails and lochside singletrack we show you why this place is now regarded as the gravel capital of Scotland. Plenty of miles and smiles in the legs, it’s back to the Forth for some local ale sampling and to recharge.

    Sunday

    A very different feel, heading south into the Lochard Forest with magnificent views of Ben Lomond and beyond. Long smooth gravel roads will have us knocking out the gravel miles and rewarded with some of the longest and most eye watering descents in the area. Finishing up with arguably the most scenic lochside trail in Scotland! We all have our favourites but you’ll just have to make your own mind up on that one.

    Will you go back with gravel rash?? We hope so… 😜

    *The itinerary provided for each trip is representative of the types of activities contemplated, but the route, schedules, itineraries, amenities and mode of transport may be subject to alteration without prior notice due to local conditions, circumstances or events.

    Trip Grading


    We want you to pick the right bike trip in Scotland for your fitness and technical ability – it helps ensure you’ll be riding with people of a similar skill level and can ride at the pace you want to ride at.

    We’ve developed a trip grading based on our experience riding the terrain that features on our trips, as well as meeting and learning from riders from all over the world and understanding their expectations.

    Please read the following guidelines carefully to ensure you pick a mountain bike holiday in Scotland suited to your skill and fitness. If you are unsure if a trip is right for you, please contact us.

    Technical Ratings

    This trip will be enjoyed by riders at technical levels 0 – 2. The goal of the Technical Rating is to understand the ability of the rider as it pertains to obstacles, conditions and trail design. This means it has nothing to do with your physical endurance, but is instead strictly a measure of your technical ability. Making sure you accurately rate your technical ability will ensure you have an exciting ride, while remaining within your ability level to keep you safe.

    Rating: 0

    You have never ridden a bicycle off-road before. You have no mountain biking or gravel skills. Maybe you are a roadie, or you have some mountain biking or gravel riding friends that want you to have as much fun as them and keep pushing you to come out riding with them. This will be your first introduction to the world of mountain biking, gravel riding or bikepacking.

    Rating: 1

    You are still new to mountain biking, gravel riding or bikepacking but have ridden off-road a few times before and have basic bike handling skills. You are comfortable on a mixture of double tracks and estate roads, and trails approximately 36 inches wide or more that are firm and stable, with mellower gradients, some rocks and roots but nothing too severe. You are comfortable traversing unavoidable small obstacles such as roots and rocks that are up to 2 inches tall.

    Rating: 2

    You have been riding a mountain or gravel bike off-road for a season or two. You have consolidated basic bike handling skills and an appetite to progress to the next level. You are comfortable on a mixture of singletrack and landrover track, on uneven, loose and occasionally steep gradients, with some variation in trail surfaces from rocks to roots. You are comfortable on narrower trails approximately 18 inches wide that are mostly stable with some variability. You are comfortable traversing unavoidable obstacles such as roots, rocks and logs that are 8-10 inches tall.

    Endurance Ratings

    This trip will be enjoyed by participants who rate themselves level 2/3 for endurance. The goal of the Endurance Rating is to understand the ability of the rider as it pertains to overall physical endurance. Riding on the road or in “Spin Class” is great and all, but gravel riding and mountain biking is a slightly different animal (ask anyone who has made the switch). The reason being is that the terrain is changing every second, which forces your entire body and your mind to be involved in the exercise process. Plus the ground we can cover on gravel bikes is phenomenal and we want to ensure you have enough stamina to enjoy the rides. This exertion will cause exhaustion to set in a lot quicker than you think. Be sure you read the descriptions carefully because we want you to have fun out there, not think this is a form of cruel and unusual punishment.

    Rating: 2

    You are a mountain biker or gravel rider riding once a week, or a roadie riding twice a week or more when the weather is cooperating and some days when its not. You are at an average fitness level, and regularly do other activities that qualify as exercise. You can ride on consecutive days and usually find yourself riding for 3-4 hours per day on the road, or 2 hours per day on the trails, and you ride at a relaxed or moderate pace.

    Rating: 3

    You are an avid mountain biker or off-roader riding twice a week or more, and the weather isn’t a big factor for you. You are at an above-average fitness level, and regularly do other activities that qualify as exercise. You usually find yourself riding for 3 hours on the trails, you’ll ride on consecutive days, and you ride at a moderate pace.

    Accommodation


    Where we stay during our gravel bike tours of Scotland plays almost as big a part in the overall experience as the trails we ride.

    We use a wide variety of accommodation, and for this our first ever gravel trip, we think the Forth Inn in Aberfoyle offers the perfect blend of traditional charm, fine food, drink and the warmest hospitality.

    Renowned & accredited for great Country Pub Dining, serving superb “Scottish” Cask Marque awarded Ales & selected Craft Beers the Forth Inn also happens to be on the doorstep of Scotland’s finest gravel trails whilst being less than 1hr from Glasgow. Lucky us!

    Dinner, Bed & Breakfast

    Gravel biking in Scotland means you will be hungry (very hungry!) and there are opportunities to enjoy great fresh Scottish fayre and of course a dram or two and a fine ale on this gravel biking trip.

    This trip is offered on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis (some menu items attract a supplement e.g. steaks and seafood).

    Lunches

    ​There will be opportunities for you to buy packed lunch provisions to carry on the rides, or, depending on routes we may enjoy a great cafe stop or lunch at a traditional Inn (your guides will let you know the plan each day).

    Budget

    We estimate a budget of £15 to £20 per person per day is adequate for lunches and refreshments.

    Included

    Included

    Three days riding (shakedown ride plus two full days) the Trossach’s finest gravel trails, expertly curated to make you want more

    More beautiful mountains, lochs and glens than you can imagine amidst the national park

    Professional Guide/s – expertly trained, hugely experienced but most of all great fun and with a wealth of local knowledge to share!

    Two nights 3* accommodation in Aberfoyle

    Full Scottish breakfasts to set you up for the day

    Superb two course evening meals in a traditional Scottish Inn

    Full laundry and drying facilities

    Secure bike storage

    Bike wash facilities

    Qualified first aid assistance

    Mechanical assistance throughout your trip

    Detailed pre-departure information

    Trip photo album

    Excluded

    Meals and drinks except those stated above (some menu items attract a supplement e.g seafood & steak)

    Travel Insurance

    Personal Equipment

    Additional transportation or accommodation should you require it

    Extras

    Bike Rental

    Equipment Rental

    Vehicle Rental

    Additional accommodation before, during or after the trip

    Additional transportation

    Baggage / bike box collection & storage

    Single room supplement (if applicable)

    Logistics

    Start / Finish Point

    Forth Inn, Aberfoyle (showers will be available at the Forth Inn a the end of your trip)

    Equipment

    Suitable Bikes

    We designed the Dukes Gold gravel tour not to favour one type of bike over another. Any bike with decent off-road tyres and brakes will be perfectly capable on this gravel adventure. Most of you might even have a suitable “Gravel” bike in the garage without realising it. Mountain Bikes and Cyclocross bikes are very well suited and many hybrid and commuting bikes would be great if the tyres have a bit of off-road bite. For those using mountain bikes, we recommend running higher tyre pressures or slightly less chunky tyres (new tyres are not essential!).

    Our take on the various permutations available. A cyclo-cross bike will offer light weight, fast rolling and an aerodynamic advantage over a mountain bike whilst the comfort and smoothing out of the trail by fatter MTB tyres and suspension will certainly help on occasions and you could well benefit from the improved handling of a MTB elsewhere too. You may even be the owner of one of a new breed of gravel bike which combine elements of Cross and MTB. They are not essential for the Dukes Gold gravel tour but they are awesome.

    Rental Bikes

    If you prefer not to travel with your bike, or you’d like to try something new, we have access to some great gravel bikes from Scott, Cube and Focus.

    If you’re interested in hiring a great gravel bike for your weekend cycling break, we have fantastic deals from our retail partners – available from £50 per day – so please just ask or add this option to your trip on the booking page

    If you’re hiring a bike, for your safety and comfort we always recommend bringing your own helmet and pedals

    Groups & Individuals


    We welcome solo travellers (in fact most of our guests travel solo) but did you know that if you’re making a group booking (2+ riders) you’ll automatically save money at the checkout (up to 18%) whether you’re booking for a club, colleagues, friends or family – whoever’s in your tribe.

    To secure a booking, we require a 25% deposit when the reservation is made, with the balance payable within 60 days of your booking commencement. For bookings made less than 60 days before booking commencement, full payment is required at the time of booking.

    Expert Guides


    Our guides are fully trained and qualified to the highest standards required to operate in the environments where our trips take place.

    Scotland is a beautiful but wild place. When you pay for our services, you’re paying for the reassurance that we know our way around the mountains, how to read people, the local conditions, logistics, fix mechanicals and always have a another ‘plan A’ up our sleeve.

    As well as being extraordinarily great human beings (as standard!), all our guides hold, as a minimum, the Mountain Bike Leader qualification and emergency outdoor first aid qualifications. We believe these to be the most robust and rigorous qualifications in the business and the minimum standard for running trips like ours in Scotland. They’re not easy to come by but your enjoyment is our main concern.

    Safety


    An adventure wouldn’t be an ‘adventure’ without a degree of risk. It’s our job to manage those risks so you have the best time possible. As well as substantial field first aid kits, your guide will be packing (or distributing among the group) essential group emergency items including mobile telecom’s, VHF long-range radios, emergency survival shelters, and extra emergency clothing and supplies.

    Speaking of guides – we operate with the highest ratio of professional guides to clients in the industry. The current regulations permit one guide per group of eight. We don’t always agree this is acceptable. We’re a lot more comfortable with at least two staff per eight clients, and a maximum group size of eight in the sensitive mountain environments we run our trips. Sure, we might not be the most profitable outfit in the industry but we strive to be the safest.

    We employ robust late back procedures, and every trip is fully risk assessed. Daily. While no one can guarantee a 100% safe trip, we do everything possible to minimise risks. And long before we depart we ensure the trip is suitable for you – none of this one size fits all approach – it simply doesn’t work.

    Environment


    Only one thing matches our desire to enjoy Scotland’s amazing outdoors and that’s our commitment to contribute to sustainable adventure tourism in Scotland.

    We operate ‘small footprint’ bike adventures to minimise any negative environmental impacts of running our business. We are often asked about running large group trips in remote, sensitive locations but in line with our safety and environmental policy – that’s not really our forté. There are other outfits who operate this way, but we’re in it for the long haul and without preserving and managing the environments we hold so dear – we don’t have a business in the long run.

    As well as being members of the key environmental organisations in Scotland, we encourage our clients to consider their interaction with the environments they are riding wherever possible. We also make use of local hospitality, products and services to ensure our trips contribute economically to the rural environments we enjoy so much. We took another small step in the right direction recently by becoming members of ‘1% for the Planet’. But we must always do more.

    Financial Protection

    Consumer Financial Protection

    Our Consumer Financial Protection insurance protects your money. This is in fact a legal requirement but not every adventure company even knows this and some choose to ignore it. Why? Because it’s expensive and complicated to become fully insured in this way, and not every application is accepted. Ours was. Your money is safe with us.

    Tour Operators Liability

    Did you know that in the UK it’s us, the tour operators, who are liable for all aspects of your gravel bike holiday package in Scotland? That’s why we have ‘Tour Operators Liability Cover’. It’s always worth asking your supplier if they have this insurance and you are properly protected. You need it and they should have it.

    Reviews


    We work hard to maintain high professional standards but you probably wouldn’t know it because we’re having way too much fun most of the time. Ten years on it still puts the biggest smile on our faces when our clients take time out to tell us how much they enjoyed their bike trip in Scotland. See what ‘Our Clan’ have to say about their bike holidays on Google and via our trip reviews.

    Trip Tips

    A good, strong gravel/cross tyre with decent tread if you’re on a gravel bike, or, for MTBs we’d go with a lightweight xc tyre

  2. Enduro Raid

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    Enduro Raid™

    Mission Enduro!

    For riders who like things edgy, steep and technical the Enduro Raid™ slingshots you into the UK’s enduro epicentre – the Tweed Valley in the Scottish Borders.

    Home to the best loved 7Stanes Glentress and Innerleithen trail centres, in 2009 MBR Magazine set out with us in pursuit of the disused, the forgotten and the remote – and since then the area has become infamous for its off-piste trails and enduro racing scene. Join us on this guided bike adventure and we’ll help you uncover the Enduro World Series gems and a whole lot more besides!

    The Trip

    The Tweed Valley’s riddled with superb riding – what we’ll show you are some of the best natural, off-piste and off-map trails in the world.

    • Type of TripEnduro Backcountry and trail-centre link ups to access unforgettable technical ‘enduro’ descents
    • Trip GradingCheck dates for specific grading
    • How Long? Two nights / days (ask us about longer trips!)

    Here’s what you can expect

    • Graded Rides Every trip is packed with two superb guided rides (Saturday and Sunday)
    • Accommodation Two nights fantastic B&B accommodation right at the heart of the riding (Friday and Saturday)
    • Professional Guides Expertly trained, hugely experienced but most of all great fun and with a wealth of local knowledge to share!
    • Comprehensive Support Including First Aid and mechanical assistance throughout your trip
    • Detailed pre-departure information
    • Trip photos
    • Join the trip in the Tweed Valley, Scottish Borders

    2019 Trip Dates

    • ***Watch this space – dates coming soon!***

    Believe the Hype!

    Believe us when we say there’s a whole load more to the Tweed Valley than just the phenomenal trail centres – why else would the Enduro World Series roll into town two years on the trot?!

  3. Border Raid

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    Border Raid™

    Borders Backountry

    One of the most popular short breaks in our growing arsenal of intrepid mountain biking adventures, the Border Raid™ lifts the lid on the beautiful Tweed Valley in the Scottish Borders.

    Home to the best loved 7Stanes Glentress and Innerleithen trail centres, in 2009 MBR Magazine set out with us in pursuit of the disused, the forgotten and the remote – and since then the area has become recognised as a mountain biker’s paradise with mile upon mile of the sweetest riding anywhere. Join us on this guided bike adventure and we’ll help you uncover the gems buried deep within the forests and glens skirting the River Tweed!

    The Trip

    The Tweed Valley’s riddled with superb riding – what we’ll show you are some of the best natural, off the beaten track trails we love.

    • Type of TripAll-mountain A mix of natural backcountry trails and trail-centre link ups to uncover extra special singletrack descents
    • Trip GradingCheck dates for specific grading
    • How Long? Two days / nights (ask us about longer trips!)

    Here’s what you can expect

    • Graded Rides Every trip is packed with two superb guided rides (Saturday and Sunday)
    • Accommodation Two nights fantastic B&B accommodation right at the heart of the riding (Friday and Saturday)
    • Professional Guides Expertly trained, hugely experienced but most of all great fun and with a wealth of local knowledge to share!
    • Comprehensive Support Including First Aid and mechanical assistance throughout your trip
    • Detailed pre-departure information
    • Trip photos
    • Join the trip in the Tweed Valley, Scottish Borders

    2019 Trip Dates

    • ***2019 Dates Coming Soon***

    If you have specific dates, gradings or a longer trip in mind please contact us to discuss opening up a new trip for your group.

    Sample Itinerary

    Friday

    You’ll arrive in the Valley (hopefully) in time for a lovely pub meal and a nightcap before settling down for a great night’s rest before the fun begins tomorrow

    Saturday

    We’ll rendezvous in the Tweed Valley and over a coffee in the best cafe in the Borders we’ll get to know everyone before hitting the trails for an introduction to our favourite Valley and catch a glimpse at why this area is rapidly becoming recognised as a slice of UK mountain biking heaven.

    Saddle up for a ‘three sandwich’ kind of day – the variety of riding here is huge, and today you’ll earn your fill with an epic backcountry mission including some big climbs and equally long descents guaranteed to keep you on your toes.

    That evening, you’ll probably give in to the lure of the local pub and enjoy some great grub, a tasty ale and retell tall tales of the big ups and even bigger downs encountered in the Valley.

    Sunday

    Five minutes out the door of your fantastic accommodation, you’ll be picking up your second taste of what’s on offer in the Tweed Valley.

    With so much riding on our doorstep, we’ve plenty of time for a final dose of singletrack goodness to keep your head spinning for weeks! If your appetite for new adventures still isn’t satisfied then we still have some treats in store, or revisit your favourite spot.

    It might be goodbye for now, but you know where to find us next time.

    Believe the Hype!

    Believe us when we say there’s a whole load more to the Tweed Valley than just the phenomenal trail centres – why else would the Enduro World Series roll into town two years on the trot?!

  4. Dirty Weekends

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    Dirty Weekends™

    Weekend Mountain Biking

    Take the ultimate mountain bike holidays in Scotland. Shrink them. Squeeze out the most iconic rides – and voila – we’ve picked the very best mountain bike rides in Scotland for you, including our favourites from the Mountain Lassies, Border Raid and Mountain Royale mountain bike trips.

    Just because these Scottish mountain biking breaks are short, don’t think for a second that they’re watered down versions of the ‘big trips’ – the last thing we’ll do is skimp on the special ingredients that make each of these such popular mountain bike holidays in the UK. It just means we’ve thought extra long and hard, poured over the OS maps and cut straight to the best bits and we’re able to offer some very ‘dirty weekends’ on our favourite trails! Don’t take our word for it though –see what our guests think.

    The Trips

    Bite sized enough to fit into a weekend, don’t underestimate the riding – expect your fill of awesome rides on incredible trails in iconic settings including the Tweed Valley, the Cairngorms and the East Highland gems of Deeside and the Angus Glens. We’ve cherrypicked the very best routes from each area and squeezed them into an action packed trip high on quality riding, great banter and apres-biking fun!

    The Logistics

    Book a mountain bike weekend with us and we’ll sort out your itinerary, great accommodation and our fun, friendly professional mountain bike guides for some awesome rideouts.

    Dirty Weekends™

    Here’s what you can expect

    • Graded Rides Every trip is packed with superb riding – find the one geared towards your abilities and preferences
    • Accommodation Fantastic B&B accommodation right at the heart of the riding
    • Professional Guides Expertly trained, hugely experienced but most of all great fun and with a wealth of local knowledge to share!
    • Comprehensive Support Including First Aid and mechanical assistance throughout your trip

    2019 Trip Dates

    Mountain Royale

    • ***Dates Coming Soon***

    Border Raid

    • ***Dates Coming Soon***

    Enduro Raid

    • ***Dates Coming Soon***

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