I did not have a camera back then, I am afraid. So no pictures from that tour. But click on the button below to open up Google Maps.
Enter "Helensburgh" in the search field & Google Earth for xtra pictures
I returned to Helensburgh from Northern Ireland at the end of 2003, sold my flat there and moved to the next street on the seafront. Which sounds far better than it was. I got far too much money in my hands and used them on the only thing I love (hopefully.... loved... by now): Food. Mountains of food. Fatty food. Dangerous food. The result was a considerable weight gain. I was 30 stones/180 kilos heavy. In the middle of this, I decided to take up bikeriding again. And that on my racing bike with thin wheels and very responsive handling. 180 kilos and a racing bike is a very bad combination. In particular when the only excersise I had that year was walks to and from the grocery shop with some heavy bags. That day's food, no less. I am also believe that fat means the brain is not able to take rational decissions. Not even smart decissions. There was some choices I made those years I was really fat I still find hard to comprehend. Hence; I decided to take a bike ride up in Glen Fruin, up in the hills above Helensburgh (see the GlenFruin ride). That ride is one of the most shameful episodes in my life. So in my lack of wisdom, I decided to take another bikeride.
I set off that morning from Helensburgh up the hill on the A 818. A long trek, pushing my bike and I soon got a bit tired. But I reached the top of the hill and proceeded down the hill towards Loch Lomond. I continued straight through the crossroad and went for the Loch Lomond golf course at
Loch Lomond . I reached the golf course and took the road back down Loch Lomond again, past Duck Bay and the Cameron House hotel over a small hill to Balloch. My tempo was not too bad through Alexandria and Renton to a small crossroad where I took the vertical road up to Carman Reservoir. Even pushing the bike up this pretty vertical road was a pain and I almost died up there due to being totally out of breath. I had the same feeling I have now after 150 km. Not the 20 km I hit on that day. This is one of the worst moments in my life and a turning point. I reached the Carman Reservoir after this short vertical climb. I trundled up the last hill past this reservoir and down to Cardross on a good road. I reached
Cardross and took the road back to my home in Helensburgh after a not so satisfactory ride and the final ride of the year. I had indeed hit rock bottom.
This is an up and down -twice- ride which is OK, but nothing more. The hill from Renton to Cardross is vertical. The views are great and that is a good reason to do this ride. It is a one off ride in my case due to my current location on the other side of the Clyde river.