So here’s the deal, you’ve got a free day on a weekend, the sun is shining and the bike is all prepped and ready to roll. What do you do? For me, this is the time to go searching for new trails. I like to travel light and fast (well, as fast as my legs will take me), and get as far away from traffic as possible. This means quiet roads, gravel tracks and the opportunity to stop and resupply if needed. There of course needs to be cracking views and a good amount of “flow” (I’m talking about that blissful feeling of switching off from everything apart from the experience), something that is so hard to do in day-to-day life.
I’m fortunate to live in central Scotland, where the countryside is close and the access rights make it even closer. As such I have quite a few options on the table in terms of routes, but a few more obvious choices. My general preferences for any ride are:
- A good warm up on some quiet roads
- Some challenging sections midway to get the blood pumping
- One or two long, flowing sections away from everything (forestry track, wind farm, Drove road… etc)
- Something new (new to me at least...)
- Downhill and/or tailwind for the final stretch home
Picking out something I’ve not ridden before is the most difficult part, and getting more so as I tick local places off the to-do list, but this is the part I love most about Huli. Sure I can sit and look at a map for an hour and probably stitch together something that’ll work, but Huli gives me a few options in seconds, almost always with something fresh.
In terms of my kit, I like to go minimal but self sufficient. I’ll normally have my Ortlieb frame pack with some tools, repair kit and a jacket, and my Salsa top tube bag with a couple of spare inner tubes and food for the day (normally featuring something from the delicious Outdoor Provisions range - yum!) . This leaves my bottle cages free for… well, bottles, and my pockets free for gloves, phone, cash and any litter I generate (I hate loading up my jersey pockets with heavy items). My bike is a stunning Albannach Torragar, which never fails to get me over, under or through just about anything, and my essential “never leave home without it” item (at least in the cooler months) is an ADVNTR x Earthwell Thermal flask full of hot tea.