Real.Bike.People – Toby Neilson

Frustrated at not being able to tackle unexplored trails Toby decided it was time for a change. He needed an N+1 that would help him expand his cycling horizons. One that allowed him to leave the rat race behind and head for adventures into the great unknown. Toby chose the Ribble CGR Ti and here he shares with us his experiences in ‘Real.Bike.People. – Toby Neilson.’

Thanks to the versatility of the CGR Ti, Toby has found himself embarking on multi-day tours of the stunning Scottish Highlands.

What made you take up cycling? I started cycling partially to get fit, but also as a way of hanging out with my pals who recently had got road bikes and I wanted a taste of the action. 

Where do you ride? I mainly ride the country lanes around where I live in Glasgow. There’s a windfarm about 15k from my front door with loads of gravel trails too, which the CGR is ace for. 

What is your favourite type of ride? I love hilly rides the most, and the odd ride down to the coast is always a treat too. Living in Scotland there’s a lot of choice when it comes to riding. Some of the absolute best rides are in and around the islands off the West coast. There you get an amazing mixture of mountains, forests and coastal scenery, all in close proximity. The Isle of Arran makes a great wee day trip from Glasgow. It’s a beautiful place with some stunning roads and trails to explore. There’s a route you can do outside of Glasgow called The Five Ferries, which has to be one of my all-time favourites.

Who do you ride with? I mainly ride by myself, but occasionally with local clubs as well as with some of my best pals. And my partner, who recently got herself a road bike. While I enjoy social rides, the bulk of my riding is done alone – which is great for gaining some time to be with my thoughts and relax. I find riding alone quite meditative, and it’s helped my mental health a lot. Whatever is going on in my life I always feel better after a ride (well, mostly!)

The sense of escapism cycling provides is magic.

Toby Neilson

Do you have any ambitions to race/take part in any events? Or do you just ride for fun? Primarily cycling is just for fun at the moment. That said I did have a place on the Dirty Reiver booked for this year, which I was both excited and intimidated by. Hopefully, it’ll be able to go ahead next year and I’ll see how I fare against 200km of gravel and 4,000 metres of climbing!

What bike do you currently ride? I chose the Ribble CGR Ti as my new bike because my current road bike was in many ways holding me back from exploring the path less travelled. I love road riding, and always will. But I was frustrated in the limited options I had with it for getting out and about on new routes and different terrain. The Ribble CGR Ti allows me to enjoy whipping along on the roads and also encourages me to take some rougher tracks and gravel roads.

Since I got the CGR Ti I’ve done all sorts with it – from long multi-day touring in the Highlands, to out and out off-road gravel riding, to café runs, and just straight-up road riding. It’s super versatile and is fun across all terrain. Moreover, whilst it’s nimble, it also feels absolutely bombproof. It’s made me a more adventurous rider, and granted me access to different types of rides and experiences. I love it.

What do family and friends think of your bike? They’re probably fed up of me banging on about it! But it always gets lots of attention and nice comments from fellow cyclists.

Do you have any cycling trips in the pipeline once travel restrictions ease up a little? I just recently took myself on a bikepacking trip from Glasgow up to near Inverness, which was a great experience. I’m hoping to get some extra trips in before the season’s change. To some of my favourite spots that I’ve not had a chance to get to in lockdown. I’d love to do more riding around Perthshire, particularly around Glen Lyon and Loch Rannoch, which are both stunning. Next year some good friends of mine and I are thinking about taking on the North Coast 500, which should be great fun.

Is that a banana in your pocket or are just pleased to see me?

Cycling YouTuber Katie Kookaburra embarks on a backpacking trip to the shores of the Giants Causeway. Read about it here.

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