Cattle grids are great, especially when you are a motorist. You can stay in the comfort of the driving seat and clatter over the grid; you might complain a bit about the dip down on to the grid but that is all. You have not had to get out, open a gate, get back in, drive through, get out again and close the gate before proceeding on your merry way.
Now imagine that instead of chunky car tyres (205mm width on our car) you are on a bike with tyres which are 25mm wide (and many people run on 23mm). The suspension on a bike is also somewhat different, usually the rider; I am lucky enough to have ‘Zertz’ inserts on the front and rear forks on Ruby which help a bit, as well as a carbon frame.
Now ride the bike over the same cattle grid. Usually the experience is OK if you go really fast BUT there is one cattle grid which is an exception. It is on the Alpe D’Garbole, the wee road from Garbole over to Farr (officially called the U1116, has a wonderful permanent sign at the Garbole end saying ‘Snow drifts’). Heading over this road from south to north is probably the more pleasant way to cycle it (the descent is better, not so much loose gravel on the road and no hairpin bends). You are screaming down a lovely descent, usually no vehicles on the road and suddenly it feels as if all your fillings have been shaken out.
There is a cattle grid which has attitude (grid reference NH 697 303). Instead of narrow bars, it is made of girders. In Scotland, girders are usually associated with the other national drink (Irn Bru) but I think some have escaped to this cattle grid. Not only that, the spaces between the girders is huge!
On this outing I stopped, walked over the cattle grid and took a photo. After all, it was Ruby’s first birthday (3,300 km) and I am getting too old for my fillings to be rattled like that!
Apart from this cattle grid (there are four more on the ride but they are OK) it is a great cycle, about 45km with over 500m of climb. Really good views on a clear day towards Ben Wyvis and more westerly mountains.
Click the image for a larger version.