Cogal Report: Scottish McCogal 2012

Cogal Report: Scottish McCogal 2012

by / / 68 posts

The first Velominati Scottish Cogal is in the books. Organized and supported by Clan Engine, it looked to be a beautiful Scottish day on the bikes. V-kits and casually deliberate in Callander, this Cogal thing is catching on.

VLVV, Gianni

Engine Report

Remember how you used to go to bed the night before Christmas excited? Well it turns out that the night before a Cogal is the same. When the six of us all met first thing on Saturday at the Deli the first sentence that that passed between us as we made our intros was “I’m really excited about this”.

Velominati may hail from mixed backgrounds but all love cycling with a passion so you can guarantee that a day spent with Velominati for a Velominatus is a day well spent. For starters Obeying the Rules means that at the beginning of a Cogal, as with no other cycling event, time is not spent wondering who to avoid as they look like an accident looking for somewhere to happen – rest assured everything will be just so.

So with double espressi on board and stopping only briefly to Wait Properly for pictures to be taken, the first ever Scottish Cogal rolled out of Callander. There was plenty weather around but nothing that could slow a McVelominatus. This being Scotland there’s a 5% 2km hill 2kms in to the ride. On my girlie compact I can do this one in the big ring, a feat of which I am inordinately proud – JohnB was the nearest thing we had to a pro on the day and he could have handled the rise backwards on a unicycle faster than me. JohnB is one of the nicest people in the universe however and settled in to motivation mode thus sparing blushes.

Over the first hill and it was down a crappily surfaced descent, the first of many, where top speed is a function of being able to see straight. Upthetrossachs has a facility frequently demonstrated to obey Rule #85 and has not yet found the outer limits of Rule #64 so a pattern was established JohnB at the top first and coming down again to take pictures and Upthetrossachs leaving a cloud of mist (not dust – this is Scotland) on the way down the other side.

Aberfoyle is the small town at the bottom of the first proper climb of the day. “Aber” comes from the ancient British language and means “confluence of waters”. In summer the town is full of bus loads of ancient British people but by this time of year it’s getting quiet again.  Sir Walter Scott (or Walt as he was known to his friends) set his poem “The Lady of the Lake” in these parts 200 years or so back leading to the Trossachs becoming Scotland’s first tourist attraction beyond public executions. The whole area’s a National Park now and the climb up the Duke’s Pass (only a public road since 1931) is a good reminder why. Through half a dozen or so hairpins of autumn colour you break out on to an open pass and another plummet, this time towards Loch Katrine. Being Too Fat to Climb I stuck at the back of the group with Snoov as long as I could, encouraging him as he disappeared up and off.

Loch Katrine is the most picturesque piece of civil engineering you’ll ever see. The original loch was dammed in the 1850’s and has supplied Glasgow’s water ever since via aqueducts and tunnels. The road round the North side isn’t open to cars except for local access so, although you have to look out for said locals there’s 15kms of traffic free undulating and twisty roads. The cattle grids become deer grids along here and you skirt the edge of some proper wilderness. The big hill with all the rain to the West is Ben Lomond.

Round the top of the Loch and back to public, albeit single track, road there’s a recently resurfaced long straight descent between secteurs of lunar surface where 60kph was seen and surpassed and then back to Aberfoyle and Mrs Engine in the team car at about half way for tea and fruit loaf. To bridge from Aberfoyle to the bottom of the Crow Road you need to ride 16kms or so of the A81 across the flatish bit that goes right through central Scotland. This is chain gang territory and before you know it you’re in Strathblane and out of the traffic. Campbellrae1 took the opportunity to cut the delights of the next climb and headed back to his car and the happiness that is a dry backside in October. We’ll get you round the next one – don’t worry.

At Strathblane because I’m such a nice guy I decided to bunny hop the kerb and wait for Snoov who had decided to enjoy the traffic all on his own for the last five minutes of the A81 blast. Much to the amusement of Upthetrossachs, my front wheel found the pothole in the pavement artfully covered by leaves and down I went after executing a nice 180 turn on the increasingly soggy surface. Obviously I made sure I was between the bike and the road so no damage was done other than to my pride.

And so to Lennoxtown and the southward turn up the Crow Road. The good people of Glasgow have a euphemism for death along the lines of “He’s away up the Crow Road”. The euphemism was clearly coined by cyclists trying to climb this piece of tarmac in tweed suits on steel bikes in the rain circa 1930 as it’s a bitch. Not particularly steep but endless by Scottish standards and frequently windy and/or wet (although not for the Cogal). I took up my usual position of encouraging from the rear and Strathlubnaig took on photographic duties on the way up and the way down.

By the time of the right turn at Fintry it was most definitely starting to rain and at “The Top of The World just before Kippen the Flanders Mirrors were there for all to see. As Upthetrossachs said whilst waiving a damp glove at the grey vista, “On a nice day you can see ever so far from here”.

Kippen is built on a hill – unusually for Scotland it’s a “down” one so achieving the 50kmph speed limit’s a doddle. Unfortunately is wet street is also surfaced with diesel and I avoided crashing again only by swearing continuously until I reached the bottom of the hill.

And so across the last roundabout and to Flanders Moss the last outpost of the huge raised bog that caused all Scottish battles to be fought at Stirling.  Fighting anywhere else around here it was a toss up whether you’d be drowned before some mad red headed man with a sword could slice you from arse to tit.

Thornhill is home to the world’s smallest Masonic hall and the bottom of Upthetrossach’s favourite hill – the final hump before the long finishing straight at Callander. This is a private joke between me and Upthetrossachs – in fact pieces of his sense of humour can be found scattered all over its slopes.

Down the final twisty bit (recently resurfaced for once) under the Flamme Rouge and it’s on to the last and slightly downhill straight to the speed limit sign. Time for my party piece – a big ring sprint to the line – gratifyingly Strathlubnaig’s picture of this shows me from behind and alone crossing the finish.

So a short recovery section back to Ancaster Square and agreement to head back to Casa Engine for showers and avoidance of Rule #22 non-compliance whilst consuming Malted Recovery Beverages. The Waverly Hotel in Callander used to be the strangest of things – a Temperance Hotel a hostelry specifically set up not to sell alcohol only in Scotland (and possibly Utah). For many years now it has seen the light and has been lubricating the good folk of the town with proper beer as far back as anyone can remember. Some were driving but still managed a swift half of Thrappledouser a brew from Perth. Belgian hoppy goodness was available in bottled form from Leffe. Then it was back to the ranch where Mrs Engine served industrial portions of chili con carne.

Agreement was reached even before the froth was blown off the first refreshment that there’ll be another McCogal in the spring – probably in the East. Once we’ve seen this write up safely published we’ll let our fellow Velominati of thoughts on dates. Quite a few suggested that they’d have travelled from places as far away as England and we’d love to see them here.

The view from Strathlubnaig

When I read about the historic premier Scottish Cogal I came close to showing some emotion, realising I would miss out on the Big Day due to having to go offshore and save an oilfield.

However, sometimes the cards fall the right way, and just days prior to the event I got the good news that my offshore hitch was being delayed….result !

So the Saturday dawned grey and dull, cool but dry, so far. I had laid out my kit the night before, and filled the bidon, went to the store and bought some snacks, even picked up a pack of those little self adhesive tube patches in case I ran out of tubes, so at 0825h I rolled out the driveway and headed down to the Deli Ecosse to meet my fellow Velominati, grab a pre-ride java and hopefully have a great day oot.

I was a little apprehensive, perhaps these guys would be full on heavy metal no holds barred climbing monsters and leave me chewing the bars before turning meekly for home, but thankfully they, like me, were regular dudes with bikes wanting a memorable ride with like minded fellers.

We had our coffee, got some snaps taken by Mrs Engine and set off. Initially it felt a brisk pace, but things soon settled down to a pleasant enough speed, I was mindful not to go too quick early on as the first decent climb, the Braes o’ Greenock comes within 3km, and is a stiff test of the guns even if warmed up. We all settled into a rythym after an initial breakaway attempt by one or two.

The kilometres rolled by, the road surfaces alternating from smooth to tooth rattling. Pretty soon we were cruising along Aberfoyle main street before turning sharp right and uphill for the famous Dukes Pass climb, an 220 metre ascent on alpine style switchbacks. On a climb like that everyone had to find their own pace. It was at that point that I knew for sure that JB was the KOM for the day, having effortlessly drifted up the hill he then announced to me he was going back down to get some photos of the lads on the climb. A regroup at the summit before a fast descent to Loch Achray and the picture perfect castle across the water. Sharp left and on to Loch Katrine and the very quiet loch side road, with a few lumpy bits thrown in. Classic autumnal southern highland views opened up at every bend. We had a couple of really nice steep drops with near 180 degree turns, complete with wet leaves and gravel patches, and everyone coped very well.

The group split into two for a time after the head of the loch and run to Stronachlachar, followed by a short climb to Loch Arklet then a good long descent on a new surface, which is followed by ten kilometres of rough and potholed corrugations back to Aberfoyle.

At Aberfoyle we came to the zone de ravitaillement and met by Mrs Engine and copious supplies of homemade cake and a thermos of coffee, bon effort !

Sometimes I find it hard to get back into the ride after a break like that, and today was no exception. South of Aberfoyle there is a series of long deceptive climbs which in the SW headwind really started to tax me, though I don’t know how everyone else felt, I can say that I was glad to have The Engine and JB up front most of the time to give me some close wheel draughting practice. I did attempt to follow Rule #67 and get a few turns at the front, but evidently I must have dropped the pace a bit as the two stronger riders did not usually wait too long before passing me and punching through the wind again.

Once we got past the Dumgoyne distillery and had less of a headwind I felt better, and we all made good time into Strathblane and its ungodly pavéesque roads, a short climb up through the town and a left hander to head East towards Lennoxtown and thoughts turned to the Crow Rd climb. I pulled over as I became aware I was alone. I knew it wasn’t my turn of speed though, and eventually three of the troops came by in tight formation, evidently managing to follow Rule #88, with The Engine a short distance behind. I found out later he had come off after disappearing into one of the deeper ruts, but in true Rule #81 style this went unmentioned other than a passing remark by a third party in the tavern later on.

A quick resupply for fluids in the village and we turned up the Crow Rd, which starts with a steep elbow or two which is best not attacked to violently, otherwise you may go into the red too much to enjoy the following 4km and 230m ascent. We spread out a bit, with JB floating past me in good style, this after he had pulled over at the bottom for a comfort break !

At the county boundary sign on the high point of the climb I paused to get some pics again as the gruppo came past. The descent to Fintry some 220 metres below was a blast, spoiled by a bit of a headwind though. The last few sharp bends really test the skills, especially for those who have no prior knowledge, so chapeau to those guys for giving it their best Rule #85 efforts.

After Fintry there is a pleasant 100m big ring climb to The Top o’ the World, with great views West and North. We paused to enjoy the Scottish splendour before heading towards Kippen, reached by a fun descent complete with diesel slicked roads and double parked cars, best approached at 50km/h or better. Everyone survived.

At the bottom of the hill we entered the Flanders moss country, and of course, it rained heavily. No one seemed to mind at all, the pan flat roads and realisation we were a mere 12km from the end of the ride put a smile on all the faces. A photo op at the Flanders sign and soon enough we reached Thornhill, beyond which lies the base of the final climb of the day, the infamous Mini Braes, which essentially mark the Highland Boundary. There was a wee bit of moaning from somewhere back in the pack, not sure who, but the brand new surface near the summit made things very pleasant, it’s only a 100m climb and the drop in towards Callander on the North side was a lot of fun in the heavy rain.

The potentially tricky three way junction at the bottom was uneventful and soon the long Mollands straight pointed the way into town and journeys end. The traditional Rule #79 town line sprint went to The Engine. I did try to bridge across with camera in hand to get an action shot as he passed the sign, but did not quite manage. In fact, one Velominati remarked to me “Let him take the sprint since he organized this whole thing” to which I thought, “Aye right, like we have a choice”.

One last tooth rattler session up Bridgend and back onto the Main St and the first Scottish Cogal was history, job done, 140 plus km and some 1775m climbing apparently. More coffee and cake at Chez Engine before a visit to the local hostelry for recovery beverages.

Very enjoyable and great crack. The lads all showed their strengths at the right times and the on road camaraderie was very welcome. Talk in the tavern was of another ride in the spring, so will look forward to that.

Thanks troops.

Snoov’s Story

The VMH always complains that I never get excited about anything but boy was I excited about going on the first Scottish Cogal. I made sure the sacred garments were washed, I made sure my bike was clean and lubed, I ate pasta for three evenings in a row before checking maps to make sure I knew where I was going and then sat down to relax.

It was a sleepless night before the Cogal as is usual for me before anything important. I usually don’t get much more than 5 hours sleep but every once in a while I forget to set the alarm and end up being late for something. I got up before six and rushed around trying to think of anything I might have forgotten. I looked at the salbutamol inhaler beside the alarm clock but decided to take one of the ones downstairs. Everything packed into the van, bidons filled (1 500ml and 1 750ml how was I to know this would soon become a broken rule?) and off I went. I estimated that the journey would take an hour while Google thought it’d be an hour and a half so I put the foot down and after twenty minutes realised I hadn’t picked up an inhaler. My asthma is very mild and mostly doesn’t bother me it’s only exercise and pollen that makes me wheezy so I got a little worried and texted @theengine. None of his family had one and it’s not possible to buy one without a prescription, I was gonna have to hope it’d be ok.

I arrived in Callander at ten past eight and got into the back of the van to cover myself in V-kit. I was feeling a wee bit self-conscious in it and hoped I’d be able to hold my own. I hadn’t been on my bike much since getting home from Oz, and had only managed some surfing out there causing me to bring back eight pounds of extra @snoov. I noticed my bike was gleaming as I lifted it down and swung my leg over it. It seemed to move off on it’s own towards the meeting place with no pressure from my feet on the pedals. I first bumped into @JohnB in his Angus Bike Chain bibs with long sleeved V-jersey and he gave me a hearty hand shake and showed me the way to the cafe. @theengine turned up next and we made our way inside. @cambellrae1, @UptheTrossachs and @strathlubnaig (who for some reason had been the chap I’d spoken to at the hill climb I was a steward at the weekend previously) also appeared and they all had double espressos and I had a nice cup of tea. Mrs @theengine was also there with a little @theengine and a little @Upthtrossachs who sat up the back eating bacon rolls. Then we went outside.

We set off and settled into a good pace, there may have been rule violations but I didn’t care, six Velominati were involved in the first Scottish Cogal and from the conversation in the cafe, everyone was just chuffed to be involved. I’d removed my computer so that I could ride on pure V but later I realised that I’m not yet experienced enough for V-meters. When we hit the first little climb I hit the front, I wasn’t trying to impress, I knew they’d catch me by the top, anyway it wasn’t a long climb, that would be the one called Dukes Pass which we hit before too long. I ended up at the back climbing Dukes Pass but managed to stay with @theengine and have a blether now and then when breathing allowed. There was a few spits of rain but it was still dry in Scottish terms. The scenery was breathtaking even though visibility wasn’t great, the road surfaces were bumpy and there was more traffic than I’m used to but, I was on a Cogal.

Mrs @theengine was waiting for us in a car park somewhere with cake, coffee and tea and more chatting etc. took place and again I was glad to be out riding with this bunch. It occurred to me again and again that it shouldn’t be a surprise that as we are all attracted to the same website/community therefore we’d get on like a house on fire. Maybe that’s overstating things but just as this same phenomenon had presented itself on every Cogal I’d read about so far, here it was again, but there was still more than half the ride to complete. We got back on and made for Crow Road. This was where my inexperience and V-meter use came into play. The group started to circulate but when I got to the front I surged a bit and probably caused @cambellrae1 to get a bit disheartened, I feel terrible about it, and will endeavour not to repeat it. Of course a shout of “easy” from behind would have pulled me back but a lack of familiarity probably stopped this happening, and we lost @cambellrae1. Then @theengine pulled us for a while along a straight road into a headwind which eventually got us to the next climb. Now I was the rider being waited for but everyone was in good spirits and after the long climb up Crow Road the weather took a turn for the worse. We were all soaked through and I stayed at the back in case anyone dropped anything. The area’s terrain is pretty rolling and the rolls are a bit steeper than the ones I ride around Dundee. I struggled to keep up with everyone but I was still enjoying the hell out of the Cogal and the “last wee hill” as @UptheTrossachs described it seemed to go on forever probably due to the water I was carrying in all my clothes and as the sprint finish appeared I was just glad I could still see the guys up ahead.

We got back to Callander and most of us went to @theengine’s for a shower before hitting the pub for post ride recovery beverages. This was when the conversation was able to really get going and I could appreciate how incredibly special an event it was. We chatted about La Vie Velominatus, the Keepers, all things cycling, and wondered about whether we’d be able to get Cogal V-pint glasses, surprisingly all in fluent Cogalese. So my fellow Velominati, I’m already anticipating the next Cogal and looking forward to seeing Ivor, John, Simon, Alan and Campbell for another ride. HAT!

John Bremner’s Report

I have not been so looking forward to a bike run for a long time and there were quite a few butterflies while travelling down to Callander. I thought that I had lost that nervous excitement for riding my bike but yesterday showed that it’s still there with the right route and company. On arrival (more than a little early) I quickly located a fellow Velominati (Campbell) then Nick resplendent in full V kit (lucky boy). As the group gathered, introductions by all were instant and very friendly.

The pre ride double espresso set me up very nicely for tackling the weather and hills ahead. Please apologise to the café owner, I fear I may have left the establishment with a slight atmosphere of a road race strip. Nerves again?

I cannot thank Jenny enough for her support throughout the day, the boys for their enthusiastic wave off and to you all for one of the most memorable days out on the bike in a long time. Special thanks to you for your extended turns punching the south westerly around us and to Alan for being determined to give me a challenge on the climbs. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt so comfortable ascending, I put that down to the Cogal preparation miles to as not to potentially leave me hanging out and not enjoying the ride, plus my week riding in Tenerife at the start of the month. The hard work is building on that now at home.

I also intend to petition my council to leave minor road maintenance alone so I can get some of that pseudo pave in Angus.

Thanks once again to you for organising the Cogal and to Frank for bringing us all together.

Slideshow:
Fullscreen:

 

// Cogals

  1. @Blah

    Snoov, Campbellrae1, JohnB, theEngine, strathlubnaig, upthetrossachs

  2. @the Engine

    Only an opinion but the Spring McFling should use another part of our soggy nation just so’s we can show the rest of the world what we have over the coming years of McCogaling. It’s no harder to get to Scotland than anywhere else in Europe so even Velominatus Budgetatus should think of giving us a go. Our food’s to die for.

    We’re a hospitable lot (well outside the golf clubs anyway – COTHO is a golfist – all you need to know) and those making the trip will be well looked after wherever we roam. In fact the North West of this fair nation in particular has many fine bunkhouses – one or two with attached malted recovery beverage shops – that would be delighted to cater for a tribe of kilted McVelominati and associates – maybe later when we’ve got into our stride.

    @stuart bell – we thought about the Tak and it may well feature next time. Or it may not.

    @Chris – next year absolutely. One of my foibles is that I don’t read fiction (well maybe the Telegraph occasionally) but as best I can tell the Crow Road euphemism for death is based on the Crow Road over the Campsies and it was the euphemism that Banks used rather than the geographical feature for his title.

    @strathlubnaig – I’m now in winter MTB mode if you fancy a blast when next ashore.

    Yip, thinking somewhere in the east, could take in some gems like Cairn o’ Mount for example.

    Well it’s a sunny cold morning, so I am off for a ride on my road bike now, not due offshore till Wednesday. Not sure about this MTB malarkey as an end in itself, usually reserve that mode of transport for going in to big hills.

  3. @the Engine

    @Blah

    Snoov, Campbellrae1, JohnB, theEngine, strathlubnaig, upthetrossachs

    Cheers!

  4. Yip, thinking somewhere in the east, could take in some gems like Cairn o’ Mount for example

    Great idea! Cairn o’ Mount is my ‘local’ climb and is awesome from the south. The youth hostel in Aberdeen could be a good base for those travelling from afar.

  5. @McTyke

    Yip, thinking somewhere in the east, could take in some gems like Cairn o’ Mount for example

    Great idea! Cairn o’ Mount is my ‘local’ climb and is awesome from the south. The youth hostel in Aberdeen could be a good base for those travelling from afar.

    Stonehaven, Fettercairn/Co’M, Aboyne, Banchory, Durris, Stonehaven?

  6. Many thanks for the write ups and images, I could smell the peat fires! Cogalling is one of the genius spin offs of the V and to share yours with us puts us there on the day and in the weather. Just by looking at the days kit we all know that it was a typical day in the highlands.

    If you look at the other cogal reports they all look simular, with V kits and lovely machines as well as fit hard men all with the same glint in their eye.

  7. Some similarities about forgetting the world outside….making me miss the Highlands now!

    http://beyondthemountainsfilm.com/

  8. @Rob

    Many thanks for the write ups and images, I could smell the peat fires! Cogalling is one of the genius spin offs of The V and to share yours with us puts us there on the day and in the weather. Just by looking at the days kit we all know that it was a typical day in the highlands.

    If you look at the other cogal reports they all look simular, with V kits and lovely machines as well as fit hard men all with the same glint in their eye.

    Ah peat, that is exactly what I am burning on my wood stove right now, after a chilly but sunny 105km ride in the hills today !

  9. @the Engine

    @McTyke

    Yip, thinking somewhere in the east, could take in some gems like Cairn o’ Mount for example

    Great idea! Cairn o’ Mount is my ‘local’ climb and is awesome from the south. The youth hostel in Aberdeen could be a good base for those travelling from afar.

    Stonehaven, Fettercairn/Co’M, Aboyne, Banchory, Durris, Stonehaven?

    I’m on board. The Cairn is my local big climb too. Plenty of options for routes with Co’M as the ‘main event’. Will scope out some coffee / lodgings/ malted beverage options in the south for group consideration after the New Year. McTyke can do the same further north. We can share options via email?

  10. Great work chaps, however I’m disappointed to learn that you weren’t fuelled by Irn Bru and deep fried mars bars.

  11. @motor city

    Great work chaps, however I’m disappointed to learn that you weren’t fuelled by Irn Bru and deep fried mars bars.

    We were – we just never wrote it down…there’s a cracking shop for that sort of thing at the bottom of the Crow Road in Lennoxtown

  12. @JohnB

    @the Engine

    @McTyke

    Yip, thinking somewhere in the east, could take in some gems like Cairn o’ Mount for example

    Great idea! Cairn o’ Mount is my ‘local’ climb and is awesome from the south. The youth hostel in Aberdeen could be a good base for those travelling from afar.

    Stonehaven, Fettercairn/Co’M, Aboyne, Banchory, Durris, Stonehaven?

    I’m on board. The Cairn is my local big climb too. Plenty of options for routes with Co’M as the ‘main event’. Will scope out some coffee / lodgings/ malted beverage options in the south for group consideration after the New Year. McTyke can do the same further north. We can share options via email?

    Will focus on losing 20kgs over winter so that I can take the photos at the top…

  13. I shall spend the winter doing a suitable recce of the eastern ranges cafés, and hills.

  14. Holy fuck. You Scottish lads bring mugs in your car for a cycling pit stop! Most Americans can’t even be bothered to bring their own goddamn mug to the coffee shop they’re driving to and which they’ll ask to provide them with a baby’s sippy cup top. Good on ya! Nothing like using a proper mug & nothing like easily doing something to help the earth.

    Nice report & great photos! I’m had the luck to visit Scotland, have a friend in Edinburgh, but in 2003 I was just starting to really ride bicycles. This stokes my interest in returning and doing some cycling.

    Love the photos but they do make me cringe at the though of having to pull on all that cold weather gear…

    Thanks gents for the report! And looking forward to some spring photos and reports!

  15. @Ron

    Holy fuck. You Scottish lads bring mugs in your car for a cycling pit stop! Most Americans can’t even be bothered to bring their own goddamn mug to the coffee shop they’re driving to and which they’ll ask to provide them with a baby’s sippy cup top. Good on ya! Nothing like using a proper mug & nothing like easily doing something to help the earth.

    Nice report & great photos! I’m had the luck to visit Scotland, have a friend in Edinburgh, but in 2003 I was just starting to really ride bicycles. This stokes my interest in returning and doing some cycling.

    Love the photos but they do make me cringe at the though of having to pull on all that cold weather gear…

    Thanks gents for the report! And looking forward to some spring photos and reports!

    Thanks mon gar, but to be honest, it does not really get all that warmer in the spring. Maybe it should be “Dans ma tête, je suis écossais”

  16. From an exiled Scot, that brought tears to my eyes.

    Nice work fella’s!

  17. @Ron

    Holy fuck. You Scottish lads bring mugs in your car for a cycling pit stop! Most Americans can’t even be bothered to bring their own goddamn mug to the coffee shop they’re driving to and which they’ll ask to provide them with a baby’s sippy cup top. Good on ya! Nothing like using a proper mug & nothing like easily doing something to help the earth.

    Nice report & great photos! I’m had the luck to visit Scotland, have a friend in Edinburgh, but in 2003 I was just starting to really ride bicycles. This stokes my interest in returning and doing some cycling.

    Love the photos but they do make me cringe at the though of having to pull on all that cold weather gear…

    Thanks gents for the report! And looking forward to some spring photos and reports!

    That wasn’t our cold weather gear that was our regular weather gear – you should see what you need on a bike round here in winter

  18. Oh gosh. I guess since I was in Edinburgh in the summer I wasn’t given the full treatment of fall or winter weather that you dudes have to ride through.

  19. @Ron

    Oh gosh. I guess since I was in Edinburgh in the summer I wasn’t given the full treatment of fall or winter weather that you dudes have to ride through.

    As a rule the warmest day in January is warmer than the coldest day in June round these parts. Snow is possible every month apart from July and August and only July is really guaranteed frost free all the way to the tops of our bealachs (or cols as others call them – I say loch you say lake).

    Its the downside of living in the middle of the sea.

  20. Hello all, been looking at this site for a while but missed your McCogal somehow.Would have loved to be there but didn’t realise in time. I fancy the next Scottish one though, just need to lose a bit of weight and gain power for the hills. Didn’t quite make it to the top of the Bealach na Ba last week :( Love riding in the Sidlaws, lots of short hills that require a bit of grunting to get up just need to get used to longer hills.

  21. @the farmer

    Hello all, been looking at this site for a while but missed your McCogal somehow.Would have loved to be there but didn’t realise in time. I fancy the next Scottish one though, just need to lose a bit of weight and gain power for the hills. Didn’t quite make it to the top of the Bealach na Ba last week :( Love riding in the Sidlaws, lots of short hills that require a bit of grunting to get up just need to get used to longer hills.

    Hope to see you at the next one. I hope you are not The Farmer responsible for 600 metres of thick mud and rocks on the Sherriffmuir road last Monday, 2 punctures and a shit load of swearing !!!

  22. Nice narrative, great pics. Any shots of your support crew (aka Mrs Engine)?

  23. i’d say that a 3 year old child will be able to ride a bike with training whlees, and maybe when he/she is already used to riding, and can manage by his/herself, you can take off the training whlees..just make sure that a helmet is worn just for safety precautions as for the child riding a bike going somwhere with someone, it depends if the person he/she is with is responsible you should be the one to judge that..and the age for a kid to be able to ride a bike somewhere by themselves is also up to you, just make sure that he/she knows how to be safe, directions, and is always carrying a celphone in case something goes wrong.. best of luck to you : )

  24. Ok, it’s time to start talking about the next Scottish Cogal. The first was fantastic by all accounts and I’m really keen to hook up with the Velominati I met and hope to find a few more that’ll join us.

    This time I’m gonna organise it and I want it to be after the Etape Caledonia which I’m not doing this year but others who are will already have good legs.

    How about if I choose a date and we discuss how it works for everyone?

    There are many routes around here that would make a great day out but my first thoughts involve the Cairn ‘o’ Mount going over it to Aboyne and then back over it. Starting in Dundee, passing, Monikie, take the B961 towards Froickheim (pronounced free-come), North to Brechin. Edzell and then Fettercairn which is at the bottom of the climb. At this point there are a few options. Those who want to can go up Cairn ‘o’ Mount and turn around at the top, head down to the bottom where there is a nice Cafe called The Clatterin Brig and have a cake or a bowl of soup and wait for those who want to go over the top, a few miles to Aboyne then turn around and come back over the Cairn ‘o’ Mount. Then back to Dundee after a wee rest. It took us under seven hours going over the top and was nearly 180km

    Showers etc can be arranged at my flat and then there are plenty of pubs to choose from within 5 minutes walk. I’m sure I can organise someone to drive a support vehicle and if there are a lot of us I can organise a private area in a pub (a little further away) with food and Belgian recovery beverages.

    This is in no way set in stone and there are less hilly rides to the west of Dundee where I actually do most of my riding that we could do instead.

    Also, there needn’t only be one Scottish Cogal this year.

  25. @the Engine Was there ever any news on the V-pint glasses?

  26. @snoov

    @the Engine Was there ever any news on The V-Pint glasses?

    No – mostly because I completely forgot about it until I read this post.

    Individually it says they’re $40 including postage but if we combine them with a kit order the implication is that we could get closer to the $24 ex-postage price.

    Not a clue what delivery times on V-Pints are but I’m going to make the rash assumption that this is something held in stock by the Keepers or with a short lead time as they don’t come from Italy.

    I’ll drop an email just now. Given where we are in the year if we get orders from those who did the Callander event and orders from those committed to doing the Eastern one then we can get them combined with someone’s kit order to save postage and we should have something in our paws by June

  27. @snoov

    Ok, it’s time to start talking about the next Scottish Cogal. The first was fantastic by all accounts and I’m really keen to hook up with the Velominati I met and hope to find a few more that’ll join us.

    This time I’m gonna organise it and I want it to be after the Etape Caledonia which I’m not doing this year but others who are will already have good legs.

    How about if I choose a date and we discuss how it works for everyone?

    There are many routes around here that would make a great day out but my first thoughts involve the Cairn ‘o’ Mount going over it to Aboyne and then back over it. Starting in Dundee, passing, Monikie, take the B961 towards Froickheim (pronounced free-come), North to Brechin. Edzell and then Fettercairn which is at the bottom of the climb. At this point there are a few options. Those who want to can go up Cairn ‘o’ Mount and turn around at the top, head down to the bottom where there is a nice Cafe called The Clatterin Brig and have a cake or a bowl of soup and wait for those who want to go over the top, a few miles to Aboyne then turn around and come back over the Cairn ‘o’ Mount. Then back to Dundee after a wee rest. It took us under seven hours going over the top and was nearly 180km

    Showers etc can be arranged at my flat and then there are plenty of pubs to choose from within 5 minutes walk. I’m sure I can organise someone to drive a support vehicle and if there are a lot of us I can organise a private area in a pub (a little further away) with food and Belgian recovery beverages.

    This is in no way set in stone and there are less hilly rides to the west of Dundee where I actually do most of my riding that we could do instead.

    Also, there needn’t only be one Scottish Cogal this year.

    Sounds good – there’s a sort of Aboyne Banchory loop on the other side of the Cairn that’ll stop it being a simple out and back and give some variety.

  28. @the Engine If I remember correctly they get made up for each event, they’ll say “Scottish Cogal 2012” on them, so they won’t be a stock item but the turnaround is only ten days or so. For the truly committed Velominatus, a collection is a possibility.

    Seeing as La Vie Velominatus has connections to all things Belgian and especially their beers, I think they should be tulip glasses. I’m also gonna run this by the keepers on their page.

    Yep that’s the loop I had in mind, we did most of it last time but didn’t quite go to Aboyne or Banchory. Of course I first brought this up to highlight the quality of the roads to the West of Dundee, looks like this Cogal will be going NNE but the roads are still ok.

    Did I get you right, you’ve chosen hubs but not rims? Hed Ardennes or Ambrosio Nemesis? I’m absolutely dying to get a set of tubulars. The way I see it if all petrol heads must own an Alfa Romeo at one point in their life, a Velominatus must have a set of tubulars!

  29. @snoov

    @the Engine If I remember correctly they get made up for each event, they’ll say “Scottish Cogal 2012″³ on them, so they won’t be a stock item but the turnaround is only ten days or so. For the truly committed Velominatus, a collection is a possibility.

    Seeing as La Vie Velominatus has connections to all things Belgian and especially their beers, I think they should be tulip glasses. I’m also gonna run this by the keepers on their page.

    Yep that’s the loop I had in mind, we did most of it last time but didn’t quite go to Aboyne or Banchory. Of course I first brought this up to highlight the quality of the roads to the West of Dundee, looks like this Cogal will be going NNE but the roads are still ok.

    Did I get you right, you’ve chosen hubs but not rims? Hed Ardennes or Ambrosio Nemesis? I’m absolutely dying to get a set of tubulars. The way I see it if all petrol heads must own an Alfa Romeo at one point in their life, a Velominatus must have a set of tubulars!

    You are of course correct – those are $42 inc $12 postage – I’ll email the Keepers again acknowledging that Mondays aren’t perhaps my best days.

    Good thinking on the tulips – a Leffe Bruin looks just right in one.

    As a Fat Bastard – rim choice is difficult. They’ll likely be clinchers this time as they’re intended as the prime wheels for the London Edinburgh ride and a tubbie with a puncture is likely beyond the support crew at present.

  30. @snoov

    @the Engine If I remember correctly they get made up for each event, they’ll say “Scottish Cogal 2012″³ on them, so they won’t be a stock item but the turnaround is only ten days or so. For the truly committed Velominatus, a collection is a possibility.

    Seeing as La Vie Velominatus has connections to all things Belgian and especially their beers, I think they should be tulip glasses. I’m also gonna run this by the keepers on their page.

    Yep that’s the loop I had in mind, we did most of it last time but didn’t quite go to Aboyne or Banchory. Of course I first brought this up to highlight the quality of the roads to the West of Dundee, looks like this Cogal will be going NNE but the roads are still ok.

    Did I get you right, you’ve chosen hubs but not rims? Hed Ardennes or Ambrosio Nemesis? I’m absolutely dying to get a set of tubulars. The way I see it if all petrol heads must own an Alfa Romeo at one point in their life, a Velominatus must have a set of tubulars!

    Late breaking news – Mrs Engine has given permission to attend the “sawn off” version of The Keepers Tour. Decided I can drive down so Charlene the n1 will be coming too – do I go for tubbies for the pave?

  31. @the Engine Absolutely yes to tubs.

    Intensive negotiations to take place this weekend. Could you get @Mrs Engine to put in a good word for me with Mrs Chris?

  32. @snoov

    @the Engine

    Did I get you right, you’ve chosen hubs but not rims? Hed Ardennes or Ambrosio Nemesis? I’m absolutely dying to get a set of tubulars. The way I see it if all petrol heads must own an Alfa Romeo at one point in their life, a Velominatus must have a set of tubulars!

    I totally agree. The whole process: stretching, glueing, mounting, reglueing, remounting, cursing is nothing when compared to the ride. London roads needs something heavy duty, my GP4’s/Conti Giro is five star awesomeness.

  33. @zalamanda Thanks for saying that. The only thing holding me back is lack of funds and the first thing I simply must upgrade is the frame and forks. So far, and I don’t believe that saying it here has anything to do with it, I haven’t had a puncture on my No. 1 since I put latex tubes in, a few thousand kilometres. I don’t do as many miles as some folks but I do have a theory why this is. As a skateboarder of nearly thirty years I am well versed in watching the pavement or road for little stones that can stop your board dead, resulting in unintended and unexpected body contact with hard surfaces. I also pick up a lot of pennies. What’s where you’re going is my advice.

  34. @the Engine You lucky devil. I’m already booked to ride Alpe d’Huez in July and watch the 18th and 19th stages so couldn’t possibly join you. I’ve got to make one of them though and will see what I can do for the 2014 KT.

  35. @snoov

    I’ve spoken to Gianni about setting up an Alpine Cogal to co-incide with this year’s tour. Wedsnesday 17th July is the date i ‘ve got in mind. We can then watch the pros slog up the Alpe twice the following day.

    I;ve got a route in mind; let me know if you fancy it.

  36. @BaltoSteve

    Nice narrative, great pics. Any shots of your support crew (aka Mrs Engine)?

    Junior @upthetrossachs & Junior @The engine

  37. @snoov

    @the Engine If I remember correctly they get made up for each event, they’ll say “Scottish Cogal 2012″³ on them, so they won’t be a stock item but the turnaround is only ten days or so. For the truly committed Velominatus, a collection is a possibility.

    Seeing as La Vie Velominatus has connections to all things Belgian and especially their beers, I think they should be tulip glasses. I’m also gonna run this by the keepers on their page.

    Yep that’s the loop I had in mind, we did most of it last time but didn’t quite go to Aboyne or Banchory. Of course I first brought this up to highlight the quality of the roads to the West of Dundee, looks like this Cogal will be going NNE but the roads are still ok.

    Did I get you right, you’ve chosen hubs but not rims? Hed Ardennes or Ambrosio Nemesis? I’m absolutely dying to get a set of tubulars. The way I see it if all petrol heads must own an Alfa Romeo at one point in their life, a Velominatus must have a set of tubulars!

    I suppose you could have come out of Dundee, along the Carse, up Kilspindie, down to Rait then up from the bottom through Abernyte right up past Collace Quarry then up Tullybaccart and home, that would finish me off but a lot of you guys are probably looking for more distance and going up the Cairn O’Mount ticks off a bit Scottish climb. I might even be fit(er) and light(er) by then.

  38. @the_farmer I know those roads very well but as you say, might not be enough climbing for the Cogal I have in mind. We could go back and forward over the many roads around there though to get the kilometres and the metres up. Let’s wait and see what comes up in the discussion.

    There doesn’t have to be only one cogal though so we can hook up for a wee ride around the local hills once it gets a little warmer by which I mean less chance of ice on the roads. @JohnB is in Arbroath and came to the first Scottish Cogal so he could be up for it too.

  39. @936adl I fancy it!

  40. @snoov

    @the_farmer I know those roads very well but as you say, might not be enough climbing for the Cogal I have in mind. We could go back and forward over the many roads around there though to get the kilometres and the metres up. Let’s wait and see what comes up in the discussion.

    There doesn’t have to be only one cogal though so we can hook up for a wee ride around the local hills once it gets a little warmer by which I mean less chance of ice on the roads. @JohnB is in Arbroath and came to the first Scottish Cogal so he could be up for it too.

    Me too

  41. @snoov

    @zalamanda Thanks for saying that. The only thing holding me back is lack of funds and the first thing I simply must upgrade is the frame and forks. So far, and I don’t believe that saying it here has anything to do with it, I haven’t had a puncture on my No. 1 since I put latex tubes in, a few thousand kilometres. I don’t do as many miles as some folks but I do have a theory why this is. As a skateboarder of nearly thirty years I am well versed in watching the pavement or road for little stones that can stop your board dead, resulting in unintended and unexpected body contact with hard surfaces. I also pick up a lot of pennies. Watch where you’re going is my advice.

    I fixed my post.

  42. @the Engine

    @snoov

    @the_farmer I know those roads very well but as you say, might not be enough climbing for the Cogal I have in mind. We could go back and forward over the many roads around there though to get the kilometres and the metres up. Let’s wait and see what comes up in the discussion.

    There doesn’t have to be only one cogal though so we can hook up for a wee ride around the local hills once it gets a little warmer by which I mean less chance of ice on the roads. @JohnB is in Arbroath and came to the first Scottish Cogal so he could be up for it too.

    Me too

    If you mean the Alpine Cogal we may have space if you need lodging. I must point out though that I’d have to ok it with the others first but they’ve already mentioned that there’s room on the floor for friends and I might bring a tent etc when I find out if there’s a garden at the chalet.

  43. Re Scottish Cogal Deux route… I would like to see the Cairn o’ Mount included, but also a loop route if possible. I am not overly familiar with the east coast back roads, only the bastard A90 really, so perhaps a route could be worked out which would take in the climb and then swing past Stonehaven and wind its way back South via the coast or close to it ? Maybe the route could start from Brechin or somewhere if distances were looking excessive ?

    On the other hand, a monster Cairn o’ Mount then up Deeside to go over Glen Shee pass and return via Glen Isla may be interesting.

  44. @strathlubnaig

    Re Scottish Cogal Deux route… I would like to see the Cairn o’ Mount included, but also a loop route if possible. I am not overly familiar with the east coast back roads, only the bastard A90 really, so perhaps a route could be worked out which would take in the climb and then swing past Stonehaven and wind its way back South via the coast or close to it ? Maybe the route could start from Brechin or somewhere if distances were looking excessive ?

    On the other hand, a monster Cairn o’ Mount then up Deeside to go over Glen Shee pass and return via Glen Isla may be interesting.

    There’s a Fettercairn – Stonehaven – Slug Road – Banchory – South Deeside Road – Aboyne – Cairn O’Mount – Fettercairn route we used to do back in the day – Could start from Montrose as I have an ancestral mansion there that the support crew (Mrs Engine) could use.

  45. @snoov
    I meant the McCogal – more’s the pity. Now I’m being allowed to do the Sawn Off Keepers Tour – asking to head for the Alps will result in a long and lonely time sleeping in the Man Cave with That Fucking Bike.

  46. @the Engine

    @strathlubnaig

    Re Scottish Cogal Deux route… I would like to see the Cairn o’ Mount included, but also a loop route if possible. I am not overly familiar with the east coast back roads, only the bastard A90 really, so perhaps a route could be worked out which would take in the climb and then swing past Stonehaven and wind its way back South via the coast or close to it ? Maybe the route could start from Brechin or somewhere if distances were looking excessive ?

    On the other hand, a monster Cairn o’ Mount then up Deeside to go over Glen Shee pass and return via Glen Isla may be interesting.

    There’s a Fettercairn – Stonehaven – Slug Road – Banchory – South Deeside Road – Aboyne – Cairn O’Mount – Fettercairn route we used to do back in the day – Could start from Montrose as I have an ancestral mansion there that the support crew (Mrs Engine) could use.

    Would that involve the ‘easy’ way over the Cairn o’ Mount then ? Of course, could be done clockwise instead. Maybe another couple minor climbs could be included, such as the Caterthun hill for example. Definitely need a wee bit of a recce out there myself, have only done the Cairn from the Fettercairn side once.

  47. @strathlubnaig I was thinking go over CoM do a wee loop and then go back over and back the way we came, I think the coastal route involves far too busy roads but we might be able to use another route back after coming back over.

    @the Engine Thought so.

  48. I think I w

    @snoov

    @strathlubnaig I was thinking go over CoM do a wee loop and then go back over and back the way we came, I think the coastal route involves far too busy roads but we might be able to use another route back after coming back over.

    @the Engine Thought so.

    I think I shall endeavour to head up there in the next 2 weeks for a shuftie if weather allows, I will drop you a line if so, and JB too.

  49. @strathlubnaig

    @the Engine

    @strathlubnaig

    Re Scottish Cogal Deux route… I would like to see the Cairn o’ Mount included, but also a loop route if possible. I am not overly familiar with the east coast back roads, only the bastard A90 really, so perhaps a route could be worked out which would take in the climb and then swing past Stonehaven and wind its way back South via the coast or close to it ? Maybe the route could start from Brechin or somewhere if distances were looking excessive ?

    On the other hand, a monster Cairn o’ Mount then up Deeside to go over Glen Shee pass and return via Glen Isla may be interesting.

    There’s a Fettercairn – Stonehaven – Slug Road – Banchory – South Deeside Road – Aboyne – Cairn O’Mount – Fettercairn route we used to do back in the day – Could start from Montrose as I have an ancestral mansion there that the support crew (Mrs Engine) could use.

    Would that involve the ‘easy’ way over the Cairn o’ Mount then ? Of course, could be done clockwise instead. Maybe another couple minor climbs could be included, such as the Caterthun hill for example. Definitely need a wee bit of a recce out there myself, have only done the Cairn from the Fettercairn side once.

    Easy being a relitive term. The Fettercairn side is tough but I’ve never tackled it on my current bike so I’d like to try that once the ice melts. If anyone’s doing anything in that area by way of a recce let me know – I could use a change of scenery

  50. @strathlubnaig

    @the Engine THere isn’t an easy way is there? The approach from the north seems to start a lot lower and has false summit after false summit, so I guess that isn’t the easy side.

Leave a Reply

Skip to toolbar