Adventure

Cycling From Dumbarton To Strathisla Distillery For MND Scotland

By Jon Hunter

My name is Jon Hunter and in 2010 I bought an Edinburgh Bicycle Co-op Revolution Pathfinder over the internet after wanting to get back into cycling. The last time I rode a bicycle, I used it for delivering newspapers as a child! I rode the bike for quite a while until the pressures of family, young children and work reluctantly saw me put the bike in the shed to be ridden at a later date. I didn’t realise how later that date would be.

Work challenges came and went, and my children grew older, and like most of us, my spare time decreased. So much so that the only time I had to try and keep my rapidly ageing body in some sort of reasonable shape, was to use my lunchtime at work to go to a gym.

Fast forward to the start of the Covid epidemic. My work time as IT support increased, my gym closed, and my time away from serious activity increased. In line with my waistline I hasten to add.

I remembered the good times I had riding my bike all those years ago and decided to dust it off and get it out of the shed (it was hidden under the various other things that folks that have young children have. Things like paddling pools, swing ball sets and the like).

Given that I hadn’t ridden it in nearly 10 years, the bike was in surprisingly good condition. All I had to replace was the tyres that hadn’t stood the test of time. I must admit to being a bit surprised at the cost of a pair of Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tour tyres, but according to my web research, these were the ones to have.

My first trip out was only 6 miles and I felt every one of them, but I managed to return home wondering how people managed to cycle for such long distances. You see, I’m also an avid reader. Mysteries, Crime, Biographies, but most of all travel books. I’ve read most of the famous folks such as Chris Humphreys and Mark Beaumont, listened to many Podcasts such as The Cycling Europe Podcast (of course), Confessions of a Wanderer and The Bike Tour Adventures, but I envied the freedom that going such long distances under your own power brings, and the adventures that people had doing such things.

I had my own mini adventures in Northern Scotland where I live and some of the hills here are brutal, but listening to others experiences gave me the courage to learn not to avoid hills and headwinds, but to treat them as a part of cycling. 

Overtime I managed to go as far as 73 miles, and the next day I was still able to walk! What an achievement!

What could I do next?

I was planning on trying to do a charity cycle ride from Miltonduff Distillery where I work, to the company head office in Glasgow, but unbeknown to me, someone else in the company had the same idea but in reverse. I asked for more info and the next thing I knew I had put my name down to be one of the team to try and complete the trip.

On June 17th, I will be joining other cyclists of mixed ability to try and ride from Dumbarton on the West coast of Scotland to Strathisla Distillery located in the heart of Speyside at Keith. This is a total distance of nearly 200 miles [320 km] and will see a climb of over 10,000 feet [3,000 metres]. We are hoping to complete this in two and a half days and will be fundraising for MND Scotland. You can view the route by following this link.

The other participants will be riding a variety of bikes but mostly lightweight road racing models. I’m hoping that my Pathfinder will make things a bit easier for me!

If you would like to support my attempt by whatever means you see fit, the link to my fundraising page by following this link.

Many thanks,

Jon Hunter

Categories: Adventure, Cycling, Travel

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