The Complete Clyde Peninsula Ride
25. March 2012
This was a tour I have always have had high on my must-do list. The complete Clyde Peninsula tour. I had done parts of this tour and a large chunk of it on the Clyde Tour in June 2008. But I had never really completed the full circuit. Mostly due to the heavy traffic on the coastal road. I decided that the tour could not be done during the summer months. It had to be as early in the year as possible. After eleven bikerides this year already, I felt up for this tour
I set off from my flat a bit later than I wanted. The change to summer time had messed me up a bit. But I was off at 0900 after a breakfast. I cycled through Paisley out to Elderslie where I joined the cycle path to Kilbirnie. I felt reasonable fine on this cycle path past
Castle Semple and
Kilbirnie which I reached in a time pretty close to my personal best. Maybe it was my personal best. I just worked on pushing the pedals in around 12-15 miles an hour. I left the cycle path and continued on the road over to Dalry. A steep hill before the country club was the first obstacle of the day. I climbed that and descended down to
Dalry where I joined the A737 Paisley to Irvine road for some miles. I had a short look at the B714 Dalry to Saltcoast road where it climbed up a climb and was glad I was not taking that road. The ride down to Kilwinning was easy and I passed a lot of Rangers supporters heading the other direction (for the Celtic match at Ibrox) on buses. I arrived in Kilwinning and took the A738 road to Ardrossan, bypassing both Stevenston and Saltcoats to Ardrossan. To my grief, the fog was thick and neither the mighty mountain Goat Fell or the rest of Isle Of Arran was visible. The fog was really thick 300 meters of the coast.
Up the coast from Ardrossan towards Seamill
I continued up the coastal road, both on and off the cycle path. I would most certainly recommend staying on the road here. The cycle path was really a mess and I wasted some time on that path. I finally reached Seamill where I was met with a nice village and a small climb out of it. The road is bypassing West Kilbride altogether which is far more in the inland. The road up to Largs passed the coal station Hunterston and I did the mistake of taking the cycle path again. A very bad choice on a mess of a cycle path. I reached the seafront again and passed through Fairlie. I should had taken the cycle path here. But I wanted to follow the road instead and got into an unnecessary steep hillclimb up to the Kilbirnie – Coastal Road. Never again. I finally reached Largs and the Greggs bakery there. I was there the previous Sunday too and the girl behind the counter recogniced me. I also ordered the same again. A chicken baguette and some gingermen. I am getting a reputation in Largs..... I went down to the seafront again and I believe, the same bench again. I took a fifteen minutes long break here before I continued again on my bikeride.
I stucked to the coastal road again and noted that I had a headwind on the few kilometers up the road to Skelmorlie and Wemyss Bay where the ferry to Rothesay was just leaving. The fog was still thick as cotton wool and the normally beautiful scenery was well hidden from view. A bit sad, but I was keeping a good tempo. I packed down the jacket for the first time this year on the climb up from Wemyss Bay and then noted to my horror that the back wheel was a bit wobbly. I quickly assessed the situation and decided to continue the ride. The descent down to Inverkip was not a pleasant one. But I cracked on with the ride and took the A770 road towards Gourock. The road was really flat and I was praying to God to let the wheel stay in one piece. My prayers was heard. Although wobbly, the rest of the tour was not dangerous.
Trying to spot Dunoon in the fog on the other side of the Clyde
I cycled past the Western Ferries port and reached Gourock. I did not stop here on my way through some pretty boring roads and heavy traffic to Greenock . I was both tired and was loosing concentration. I needed a break and the McDonalds restaurant at the outskirt of Greenock was the perfect solution.
Some water, icecream and a small cheese burger was consumed before I continued on my way up the river towards Port Glasgow. The signpost said two miles. But I did a small mistake by choosing the cycle path and that was a small mistake again. But I reached Port Glasgow and the roundabout just past this small village. I had the choice of the very hilly Old Greenock Road or the pretty flat road past Woodhall railway station. I chose Woodhall and had a pretty easy ride along this road before it ended up in a roundabout and I took the cycle path along M8 towards Langbank. This was a pretty OK 4 km long cycle path. It had some nasty holes and demanded my full attention. It was pretty flat though and far better than the hilly Old Greenock Road. I was glad when it ended up at Langbank and on a proper road again (B 789). The short, steep climb up from Langbank towards Bishopton was very refreshing after so many hours on a flat road. It ended up on the Old Greenock Road again and I followed that towards Bishopton.
Dumbarton on the other side of the Clyde river
Halfway up to Bishopton, I switched to A8 to avoid the steep bit over the country club. A8 was an easy raod and I arrived
Bishopton pretty refreshed again. I swithced to the Old Greenock Road again in this village and this took me pretty quickly over to Inchinnan and
Renfrew again. A quick run up the road and I was home again after some hours of good bikeriding. I was very pleased to finally have done this bikeride.
In my view; the Clyde Coast is absolute superb and deserve it's popularity. The scenery is fantastic and the small villages/towns are really good. That means a lot of car traffic and that makes the roads overcrowded. This tour is too flat too. The highest point was at 50 meters/150 feet above sea level (15 km from home). On a 120 km long bikeride, this is not much. I love the some hillclimbs and this one has none. It is a nice spring bikeride. The road from Gourock to Port Glasgow is too boring too and should be bypassed up in the hills towards Kilmacolm. Recommended ? I will not do this tour again for the next ten years or so. That says it all. The scenery is brilliant. The bikeriding not so good.