I'm still horribly jet lagged from the holiday and yesterday's fast-paced 46 miles with TJ didn't help but I've started to sort through the mountain of images from Scotland. The eight-day whirlwind tour of Lewis, Harris and Skye was spectacular. The weather ranged from bright sunshine to howling gales laced with rain and snow. From dawn to dusk we followed the light and explored the wind-swept beauty of these remote outer islands. In the summer the popular beaches and hills would have been dotted with visitors, in winter we had the landscape all to ourselves. Our timing was perfect.
The Enigma Echo (above) was a great companion throughout. I didn't ride as many miles as I hoped but I got lots of practice peeling off outer layers down to cycling kit and quickly assembling the bike to catch good light and a good stretch of road whenever the opportunity arose. I felt immediately comfortable with the Campy Chorus componentry and compact drivetrain on the Echo. I was surprised by the swapped brake lines (right hand stopped the front wheel) and can't say I ever got used to it. Good thing most of the riding was uphill. The titanium frame had a magical luminous quality in the winter light and true to form provided a superb ride equipped with light, responsive Campagnolo Zonda wheels.
Jim and Mark at Enigma produce some exceptional bicycles, I can only imagine how good my Eulogy is going to feel. I'll have plenty of photographs of the frame and the build as it happens.
The magnificent Hebridean scenery is traversed by some incredible roads, but sadly Scotland is not road bike friendly. In over 1500 miles of travel through the highlands I didn't see a single road with a decent shoulder. Many of the single lane roads over plateaus and climbs were sparsely traveled at this time of year, so they could be ridden in relative safety, but drivers move fast and don't expect bicycles to constrict the already limited roadways. Still roads like Glen Brittle or the Quirang on Skye, the narrow canyon on the road to Aird Uig on Lewis are worth riding if you're vigilant. I climbed without a helmet for photography's sake but wouldn't do any significant riding without one.