Triking the NC 500

grldtnr

Active Member
I have posted this in the 'Touring ' thread,
But I have this strange notion to attempt the NC 500, A long distance driving route through the Highlands and around the Scottish coast, one barrier about this is the 'Belangh Na ' ,a mountain pass in the west,, I am no stranger to going up mountains on a bike, but haven't really done any on a recumbent, but apparently there is an alternative route, probably take that as it's the cyclist route ,and shorter.
Anyone mad enough to have done it?
 
The belch isn't that bad.
I've done it twice and both times where with a full camping load.
It's just a long drag with a few steeper bits towards the top.
The other road out along the coast away from Applecross is worse as there are a few of the shorter hills that are steeper.

Luck ........... ^_^
 
OP
grldtnr

grldtnr

Active Member
The belch isn't that bad.
I've done it twice and both times where with a full camping load.
It's just a long drag with a few steeper bits towards the top.
The other road out along the coast away from Applecross is worse as there are a few of the shorter hills that are steeper.

Luck ........... ^_^
I think I would need luck, living in the low lying marshes of Essex , we don't get many hills above 350 ft, the hillist bits surprisingly border Cambridgeshire, another generally thought flat county.
Best get training trying to climb the stairs on the trike.
......and I don't have any at home!
 
OP
grldtnr

grldtnr

Active Member
The belch isn't that bad.
I've done it twice and both times where with a full camping load.
It's just a long drag with a few steeper bits towards the top.
The other road out along the coast away from Applecross is worse as there are a few of the shorter hills that are steeper.

Luck ........... ^_^
If it's quioically know as the ,'Belch' ,is it windy? Now I have been places on top of mountain passes where it's ill advised to open a door or window......
 

oldwheels

Legendary Member
Are you referring to the Bealach na Ba? It is steep and I would not attempt it on my trike. The more inland route from Lochcarron to Sheildaig is easier. Given the number of vehicles of all kinds and many lacking competence I would not attempt the NC500 on a trike unless you are braver than I am.
I have not been in that area since it got advertised as a tourist route for those without the imagination to find their own routes but I remember quite a few steep hills and in those days nearly all single track with passing places.
 

oldwheels

Legendary Member
Depends on your gearing really. At least on a trike you won’t fall sideways below a certain speed.
The hairpin bends could be the killer. Meet an oncoming motorhome on an upwards left hand bend and you may just come to standstill. Keeping to the right could get you up but not always possible.
 
Location
I'boro
i dont ride a trike but have done nc500 and i can assure you that Bealach na Ba is not the only hill to worry about - from there for about 200mile its either up or down and some brutal ups as well then it gets a little easier
with the right gearing i suppose you will get up anything but there are quite a few 500ft climbs
amazing scenery though
 
A couple of things you need to be careful about on a tadpole trike.
First is potholes on high speed downhill runs.
They are hard to see/miss when going around a corner at +30mph.
The other is how much back wheel slip you'll suffer from in the wet.
When it's dry I can climb most hills with ease due to a 9.4" first gear.
But I start to suffer from back wheel slip above ~15% and there's no way I'll get up a +20% slope in the rain.

Luck ...... ^_^
 
I’ve done the Bealach a few times, I haven‘t found it unduly challenging in terms of steepness but it does go on for a long time (from the Kishorn side to the top it’s about 6 miles of continuous uphill). All you need are low gears. I did the Bealach Beag sportive a good number of years ago and spun gently past lots of roadies who were massively over-geared.

There are much worse climbs in the same area, the coast road round from Applecross to Sheildaig has some brutal ups and downs that just keep coming at you.

In regard for the NC500 in general it has become very busy and not what you’d expect in the North West Highlands - too many wannabes in over powered motor vehicles (two and four wheelers). Some of the obvious diversions (eg Achiltibuie to Lochinver) are very narrow, very lumpy, and have multiple blind bends and blind summits. Even as an experienced triker I’d have second thoughts about riding them because of the risk from other road users, not because of any intrinsic challenge from the terrain. At least on an upright you have a better view and better bail out options… and I never thought I’d say that!
 
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