The Ayr ride (and the return by train)
April had been pretty bad, weather wise. But the weather forecast was sunny in Scotland and torrential rain south of the border. So I decided that it was time to do another 120 km bikeride again. The choice fell on Ayr return along the coast.
It was pretty cold when I left my flat at 0800 that morning. I was afraid of black ice so I took it easy through the high street in Paisley on my way to Elderslie and the start of the cyclepath. I felt fine and the sun made an appearance. The now well used cyclepath bypassed Johnstone and I kept a good tempo past Loch Semple to Lochwinnoch. Two ducks decided to jump in the front of me at the switch over between the Lochwinnoch and Kilbirnie cycle path. An oncoming bus stood on it's brakes. I managed to narrowly avoid both the ducks and the bus. I was very peeved off by these ducks and so was the busdriver whose language is not printable. A close call, that one. I continued on the cycle path to Kilbirnie. I left the cycle path in Kilbirnie and took the B780 road towards Dalry. I climbed the small hill from where I took this picture.
Looking back towards Kilbirnie and Renfrewshire from the hill between Kilbirnie and Dalry
The descent down to the pub and then the climb up to Dalry was OK. I know this road by hand now. The ride from Dalry down to Kilwinning was also easy and I managed to better my Paisly to Kilwinning personal best with five minutes without really trying. I reached Kilwinning and went straight for the A 737 road down to Irvine. A pretty easy ride where I met a lot of other bikeriders too. All of them coming in the opposite direction. I went straight for Harbourside just before Irvine and stopped at my normal Burger King place fro some eggs and bacon. 99 pence each was very good value. I continued down the coastal road to Troon past Barassie where I had turned around last week. My plans was to continue straight on over Loans and then down to Prestwick Airport. A quick glance at the roundabout and the traffic made up my mind. I decided to continue on the cycle path instead. The cycle path took me through a small housing estate (a nice shortcut !) and then down to the main road again over the railway to Troon town. I cycled along the seafront before I took some pictures at the end of the seafront.
Looking back towards Kilwinning and Saltcoats to the extreme left
Goatfell and Isle Of Arran
I continued on past the ferry terminal and soon got the feeling that I was lost. Which indeed I was. Too lazy to pick up my maps, I asked some locals where to find the way to Prestwick. I got the direction and found the road again. I took this road to a place where I spotted Prestwick and Ayr. I took another photo.
Prestwick and Ayr from Troon
I continued past the famous golf course Royal Troon up and over the railway line to the excellent municipal golf courses. I played them some years ago and they are superb. Very popular that day, too. I passed under the railway bridge and cycled alongside the fourth and the fifth hole on the very long Lochgreen golf course. A nice course, but I prefer bikeriding to golf now. The tarmac was excellent on the cycle path too. The nice straight part of the cycle path stopped at the sixth hole at the golf course and some zig zag turns followed before the cycle path took me out to the main road at Prestwick Airport in a matter of two-three minutes. The cycle path from Barassie to Prestwick Airport is excellent and I am sure this is a lot better alternative than the road over Loans. It is hereby recommended. The cycle path took me past the airport and down to Prestwick town. The left pedal on the bike now started to disintegrate. The problem became worse and worse through Prestwick. The traffic was pretty heavy too and I now had two problems. I crossed the river and reached Ayr. I parked the bike and had a look at it. The pedal was almost off the crank arm itself and left me with no other choice than taking the train back to Paisley. Very annoying, but I had no choice. So I went over to the railway station for the fifty minutes wait for the next train. It arrived and it took me back to Paisley again. I got a new set of pedals the next day.
Although this ride was aborted halfway due to mechanical breakdown, the ride down to Ayr and train back again is recommended. The road is dead flat and most of it can be done on cycle paths too. Just download the maps from the internet or get it from the tourist information offices. It is a good ride and I had a good time. It is recommended.