The Arrochar circuit (again)
This was one of my annual rides..... more or less. I had just started again, doing bikerides and it was a bit late in the year. One of the first days in June 2011, no less. I did this tour out of old habits and to have a look at Ben Lomond, which was my main target that year. I had no plans to do many bikerides that summer though. My enthusiasm for this tour was not the greatest either. But it was a nice day, so I set off that early sunny morning.
I set off from my flat that early morning and cycled through Renfrew and Inchinnan to Erskine Bridge. The weather was a bit cold, but OK too. I crossed the bridge, found the cycle path and cycled down the river past Bowling and
Dumbarton Castle to Dumbarton. I observed the changes in the High Street with a lot of sadness. Dumbarton is dying as many other smaller cities are. The recession is biting hard.
I continued the ride on the A 814 over the small hill Cardross. My tempo was good and I continued over a small hill to Helensburgh where I took a small break. I visited the old building where I bought a flat ten years ago and later sold it. The building was totally renovated, but I was glad I had moved from it. I like Helensburgh, but have no desire to move back again to this small village.
I continued my ride in the loch past Rhu to the beginning of the big hill after Shandon. The climb was pretty hard, but I took it easy. A small descent down to the naval base followed before the very steep hill on the bypass past Garelochhead up to the moor followed. I was following a good speed and reached the Arrochar – Glen Fruin crossroad where I continued towards Loch Long and Arrochar. The descent down to Loch Long was as usual interesting. The last bit down to the loch as per usual scary. But I reached the shore of Loch Long. The ride in Loch Long was a bit hard and I noticed I was not in good enough shape to really enjoy it. The last small hills just before Arrochar was a bit of a pain and I was pretty tired when arriving in Arrochar. I took a small break here and enjoyed the scenery.
The Cobbler from Arrochar
I continued the ride over the small hill to Loch Lomond and Tarbet. I reached the scenic hotel at
Tarbet and continued down the road alongside
Loch Lomond. I was a bit tired and I also had headwind. The hills after Tarbet did not make my life easy too. But I soon reached the cycle path which took me down to the shores of Loch Lomond. A brilliant cycle path and highly recommended. It was also sheltered from the wind and and has some excellent views. Most of all; it is isolated from the heavy traffic on the main road. I love this cycle path.
The cycle path took me down towards the campsite at Inverbeg. I was here to scout out the path up to Ben Lomond for a climb up there later that summer. I took some pictures and this is the best of them...
Ben Lomond from the west side of Loch Lomond, one mile north of Inverbeg
I continued down the flat cycle path past Inverbeg to Luss. I visited the pier again as I always does. It has become a tradition now. Tradition completed, I continued down Loch Lomond to the end of this loch at Balloch.
I was really tired now and chose to go over Bonhill and the Balantines distillery instead the flat road around Dumbarton. I also had severe back pains due to the rucksack. I decided there and then to purchase pannier bags (which I did one week later). I completed the ride over Bowling, Erskine Bridge and Renfrew again before I arrived home after an exhausting ride. The longest ride of 2011 and a far too long ride with my lack of training that year.
This bikeride is a tradition I have, but now retired for a couple of years after this ride. But if in good shape, this is a very good bikeride and highly recommended. I may dust it off again later this year though. An excellent bikeride in it's own right, it is with Helensburgh, Loch Long, Arrochar, Loch Lomond and Luss being the highlights of the ride.