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  • Cycling Holiday in Scotland
    Our Cycling Holiday in Scotland

In 2006 while I was developing my new bike hire business, Markus Stitz was developing a whole new way of cycling. Markus had just made his first bike trip across the Scottish Highlands and since then he has done more than most to advance the form of cycle touring that has become known as bikepacking or more recently, gravel biking.

For years I’ve followed Markus and his adventures via social media @ReizKultur and noticed his name time and again on cycling websites, magazines, books and newspapers. I was really chuffed when Markus got in touch to tell me about his plans for an NC500 gravel bike route and asked if we could help him out with a hire bike. The folk at North Coast 500 had asked Markus to make a short film. The mission was to inspire cyclists to use bits of the North Coast 500 but to explore beyond the limits of the public road to escape motor traffic and discover the landscapes that demand a bit more effort on the part of the visitor.

Cycling the Bealach na Bà to Applecross on the North Coast 500
Cycling the Bealach na Bà to Applecross on the North Coast 500

There aren’t many bike hire services around that stock gravel bikes and in the past most of our customers who hired drop-bar bikes stuck pretty much exclusively to the tarmac. Our Trek Domane hire bikes are supplied with a tarmac first set-up but the design has evolved lately to allow clearance for bigger tyres, in fact the 2022 Domane AL4 is identical to the 2020 Checkpoint AL4 which was marketed as a gravel bike. We knew Markus would be covering rougher terrain than most folk but we were confident our bike would be a good choice for this trip. We fitted a pair of @SchwalbeUK G-One Allround tyres (35mm at the back and 40mm at the front) and a pair of Shimano SPDs. Markus brought his own bags from @Apidura.

It was grey and cold on the morning of Friday 8th April when Markus arrived at our workshop in Bellfield park, Inverness. He’d already been busy though capturing images of his bikepacking kit and fueling strategy.

The films that Markus makes often convey moments tranquility of remote landscapes and peaceful reflection during respite from the physical exertion of cycle touring. What is difficult to appreciate is the professionalism and work ethic that is required to produce these moments. It all seems effortless watching the final product but the volume of film and still photos Markus captures on each trip is jaw-dropping. The quality and range of images is equally impressive as you can see below.

Cycling efficiently is largely about conservation of momentum and even in good weather it easy to ride past photo opportunities. For one person to produce so many great images in cold conditions while riding significant distances and with limited daylight is unfathomable to me. Even our wee bike hire workshop is included in the story.

Markus filming what most people agree is the “best” bit of Where Roads End

Markus has clearly developed a real talent for film-making and the results speak for themselves. Inspired by Markus’s visit we’ve improved the tyre and bag options we can fit to our hire bikes and we’re close to releasing our own route guide and navigation for cycling the North Coast 500.

Where Roads End | A slow journey on Scotland’s North Coast 500

I hope you are inspired by Where Roads End too and you can find out more about Markus’s trip on

November 3, 2022 3:25 pm Published by
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