Life is full of funny little coincidences, and recently - through Instagram and a shared love of the Isle of Arran - I've been back in touch with someone I worked with about twenty years ago in my first part-time job in Aberdeen. Tony has just set up a new business called eGuide Scotland and he offered to take me out on a guided e-bike trip around Deeside, Aberdeenshire. To be clear this was a gifted experience.
Those of you who've read my posts before, on here or Instagram, will know that I dabble in cycling - mainly on my hybrid bike on the Deeside Way. I've still never mastered the gears and can find even the gentlest incline a little bit of a slog... so I jumped at the offer and was keen to see what the difference would be.
All I had to do was turn up and Tony had the bike ready (which happened to be my favourite colour - the important stuff!) and he also had a helmet for me to use. We left from his base in Aboyne and headed out the Deeside Way, much further into the heart of Deeside than the path I'm used to, and a more varied track. We also went off the trail a little, exploring the beautiful and dramatic Cairngorms National Park, and because I was using a full suspension e-mountain bike, I really felt the difference when the terrain got a little more rugged. Tony talked me through the different modes we tried, including 'eco', 'trail' and 'boost' and I did notice how the modes changed the level of effort I had to put in, but it all still felt like a good workout, just a much more enjoyable one!
It was a very chilly but picturesque morning, and if it hadn't been for getting so cold, I could definitely have gone on cycling for several more hours. What I love about the e-bike is that is that can help people of all abilities and fitness levels get out and enjoy these amazing surroundings, and I know that Tony's ethos for the business is to offer a really enjoyable biking experience to a wide variety of groups and ages - from easy bridleway rides including stops at coffee shops (which is definitely my kind of adventuring!) to the latest enduro stage race trails. You can also hire the bikes to go off on your own for self guided use.
There is so much happening in the North-east to develop mountain biking and tourism, including the Gravitate North East project, and there are numerous trails and areas to explore. The VisitAberdeenshire website has lots of great suggestions - https://www.visitabdn.com/what-to-do/great-outdoors/cycling/
I really enjoyed getting to try out e-biking, maximising everything I love about being out on the bike in the fresh air, flying along and feeling energised, but without the more difficult and tiring bits that sometimes put me off... I also got out of cleaning the bike afterwards :)
It's really positive to see another way for people of all abilities to come and enjoy cycling here. I'm definitely a total convert and hope to keep building my confidence on two wheels. You can find out more about eGuide Scotland on the website, Facebook page, and check out these festive events Tony is running in December - a half day mountain bike ride in Royal Deeside followed by hot drinks and mince pies at the fireside back at eGuide's custom built 'Santa's Grotto' - sounds amazing!
I'm Kelly. A thirty-something year old adventurer from Aberdeenshire. Read more about me in the ABOUT ME section.