Highland Trail 550

A video from this years Highland 550 bikepacking race/event. A truly a memorable, testing and spectacular route.
Barry Godin captures the trials and tribulations in this 16 minute short film.

Encryption

I've been playing around with encryption techniques recently.
I like this site which makes it easy to share and verify encryption keys

It's basically cloud key database, which also offers a secure messaging and collaboration service.

Here's my profile which verifies several services I use as being in my control. As well as sharing my public pgp key which can be used to send me encrypted messages/ verify my identity.

keybase.io/iworm

They also seem to host a cloud file storage with 10Gb in the free tier, which uses your keys to encrypt files at the client side. So this means that the files are always fully encrypted and even if their servers or connections are compromised then your files will be protected.

Reiver Raid - Bikepacking

Here are some of my photos from the Reiver Raid bikepacking event which I took part in last weekend.
The second day's route in particular was great. As was the social aspect of camping together at the same spot overnight...with a keg of nice beer and comfy chairs in a warm bothy!

Exposed Routes: updates

Here's a few updates for the routes in my route guidebook for mountain biking in Scotland. There's only one small diversion that I know of; Route 16 in the Pentlands near Edinburgh (see below). The rest of the routes described in the book are all good as far as I'm aware.
I do, however, also have a few interesting alternatives/improvements to a couple of the routes that I've found since it was published:

Route 1 : The Three Brethren
Notes: You can extend this route by riding through Bowhill house and following the track to the top of the hill where you follow the Queens Drive back down to near Yarrowford. It a great track with awesome views along the way.
Click here to view

The Journey To The Other Side: Indian Pacific Wheel Race 2017 Documentary

The Indian Pacific Wheel Race is a solo, single-stage, unsupported, 5,500km road cycling race ocean-to-ocean across Australia. The race started on 18 March 2017 at 6:00am in Fremantle, Western Australia and finished at the Sydney Opera House. The clock does not stop. There is no prize money. Nothing is at stake except honour.

This race was inspired by the other grand tours of bikepacking: the Tour Divide, the Trans Am Bike Race and the Transcontinental. Similar to these races, the rules for the Indian Pacific Wheel Race are simple and largely self-policed. The rules attempt to embody the spirit of self-support and fairness for all riders.

Ben Nevis

I just came back from climbing Ben Nevis with my 7 year old daughter. Here's some photos.
We got lucky and the clouds cleared for a few minutes while we were at the top. Apparently the clouds clear at some point in the day for only 60 days of the year on average.

oooooOOOOOooooo....

This orangutan will just not leave his friend alone. Save the Orangutan is supporting the world largest orangutan rehabilitaiton centre where more than 500 orangutans are given a second chance. At the centre - Nyaru Menteng - the orangutans are learning all the skills necessary to one day return to Borneo's rainforest. You can help the orangutans by adopting one here http://savetheorangutan.org/adopt-meryl

The Deeside Trail

I'd been keeping an eye on the Deeside Trail website and group since it's inception over a year ago. Since then there have been 2 group rides and various people doing it as an individual time trial (ITT) using GPS data to prove times and routes.

I wanted to join them. Looking at the route on the website I could see it stretched westwards from it's start point in Banchory, into the Cairngorm National Park past the market town of Ballater and then into the mountains around Braemar. It then looped back around northwards taking in more remote mountain passes before some of the steepest and longest climbs in the last third as it headed back to Banchory again. It looked a challenging route. Others who'd done it already didn't disagree.

Capital Trail 2017

I found myself signed up for the 3rd time to join the group ride of the Capital Trail, a 250km, 5000m of ascent, bikepacking trail. The route takes riders from the beach (literally....it starts on the sand!) at Portobello, Edinburgh around a big loop which encompasses some of the best riding and trails in Scotland. Although never too far from the nearest town, the route at times feels remote, and the high open hill tops certainly need to be respected, especially in bad weather.

It's a tough ride, the climbing would be hard enough without the added weight of overnight gear that most people carry. The inclement Scottish weather also means riders need to be prepared for the worst it can thrown at you, adding even more to the bike weight.