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Local businessman has ‘epic adventure’

August 16, 2023   ·   0 Comments

By Mark Pavilons

A local entrepreneur marked his 65th birthday in epic fashion.
Rory MacKinnon, owner of the Schomberg McDonald’s, decided to take a bike tour of Europe with a long-time friend who also turned 65.
The tour was organized by a company called Peak Tours out of England. They specialize in supported Bike and Walking tours in the UK, France, and Spain/Portugal. They came highly recommended, MacKinnon said.
“Many of our tour group had ‘causes’ they were supporting by taking on the challenge. One lady who was recovering from an horrendous crash three years ago and was supporting her recovery by giving back to the local Health Team in West Sussex that contributed to her getting back on a bike and supporting her return to mental health. Very inspiring,” he said.
The group travelled 1,000-plus miles (1,632 km.) of climbing over 14 days.
MacKinnon said they learned early into the tour that this is quite an iconic adventure for folks from the U.K. it is a definite must -do for biking enthusiasts. Also, the UK is very “lumpy,” he observed.
“We passed through so many small towns and country homes. Scotland was particularly spectacular. One day we rode up all the way to the top of the Glen Shee highlands (very tough climb) then we had a 15-mile descent into the Balmoral estate right past the Queen’s Summer home and through the Royal forests and along the river Dee ending in Ballater. It was epic!”
Physically, it was a challenge. MacKinnon noted that after having both hips replaced in the winter of 2020, “this trip became one of my goals for recovery.
“I was determined to keep my mobility. Last year I rode over 6,000 km. both virtually (during the winter) and with local club rides. This year I had over 3,000 km before I set of for the tour. Still, 14 days straight in a saddle is both tiring and punishing. Thankfully, it was not a race.”
The scenery and frequent “brew stops” and lunches, were all fantastic, he said.
“ We all found our own groups that met our pacing for each day. Everyone in our group finished, despite many setbacks. No one abandoned the tour out of all 22 participants. Six rode e-Bikes.
MacKinnon said unfortunately it rained 12 of the 14 days.
“That being said, anyone who spends a lot of time on a bike knows you have to like and accept rain as part of the sport. The winds were not always in our favour and I prefer rain to wind and hot any day.
“There were 2 days of strong deadwinds, torrential rain and lots of climbing and everyone suffered. After a hot shower and a warm pub meal – all was forgiven.”
The camaraderie was impressive and MacKinnon said the people they met along the way were fantastic.
“Drivers on the roads very courteous and respectful. Many stories of people helping out with flats and a farmer coming out to help with a wrench when a tire valve would not be removed. Peak Tours folks were over the top when it came to care and support.”
Overall this was an epic adventure.
“I have always believed that whatever challenge you face – forward momentum is the answer. Certainly one of those challenges that you can’t wait to complete – but when it is done you are left with a sense of accomplishment but also sadness that it is over. Definitely a great way to celebrate 65 and onwards!”



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