Having missed out on our cycling trip in 2013 due to pressure of work, the same pressures led to us making our cycling trip in Scotland somewhat earlier than usual this year. As it turned out, we probably had the worst weather on a Hebridean tour that we’ve ever done.

It was also our first tour on our newest tandem, the Thorn Raven Discovery. See my multi-part review of this tandem (Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5).

We’ve been riding the tandem for about 10 months on commutes, day rides and on a trip to France (but not a tour). In that time, we’ve made a few modifications:

  • Replaced the stoker’s flat bars for an old pair of Thorn stoker bars (stoker just couldn’t get on with flat bars).
  • Replaced the rear seat pin with one of the Thudbusters (should have specified this when I ordered the tandem).
  • Replaced the tyres for the tour. We’ve had a couple of sidewall problems on the rear, and ended up fitting a pair of Schwalbe Marathon Dureme tandem tyres (in turn, this needed adjustments to the mudguard clearance).

I have to confess to having still been concerned at the outset of the tour about touring with 32 spoke wheels. In 10 months of relatively unloaded use, they’ve not needed any attention, so they do seem quite robust – and Thorn are adamant in their literature that the wheels would be fine. The Rohloff hub has behaved pretty much impeccably, an occasional mis-shift aside – mostly when shifting down 9-8-7 with a bit too much load on the pedals, when it seems to lock in top gear.

After a week of lugging our luggage about, the wheels have remained perfectly true, the S&S couplings have given no trouble and the Rohloff hub is still fine, though I’m planning its first oil change.

Links to individual pages
20th May Day 1 – Oban to Lochboisdale
21st May Day 2 – Lochboisdale to Lochmaddy
22nd May Day 3 – Lochmaddy to Maraig
23rd May Day 4 – Harris
24th May Day 5 – Maraig to Waternish
25th May Day 6 – Waternish to Broadford
26th May Day 7 – Broadford to Acharacle
27th May Day 8 – Acharacle to Oban