An 180 kilos heavy man goes to Glen Fruin
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.
Kitted up in lycra short (yes, they do lycra shorts for 30 stones heavy men), I started the pretty vertical climb up past the affluent area of Helensburgh to the beginning of Glen Fruin. I was passed by old ladies and some sea cadets who were marching the same route. On foot, they were considerable faster than myself. I was walking the bike. I reached flatter terrain on the top of the hill and reached the small B road taking me into the glen proper. It was undulating and I was resorting a lot to walking the bike again. I reached the valley floor at a bridge. The road up to the end of the valley is normally an easy ride, done many times before without any problems. But with thirty stones on the first bikeride for a long time, I were in serious problems. So I had to walk even the most modest hills here which is normally hardly noticeable. It was a sorry sight. I was redfaced due to the hard work and in shame. The hills at the head of Glen Fruin beckoned and I climbed them with great difficulties.
I hardly noticed the great views over Garelochhead before I headed down the hill towards the railway line and the main road taking me out the loch back to Helensburgh again. It was pretty difficult to keep 30 stones aboard the bike and it was far from a secure descent down the zig zag road to the main road. I continued redfaced down the hill past the peace camp and the loch. A couple of small hills, not noticeable by normally fit persons, caused me great difficulties and another pushing the bike again. I was passed by more sea cadets who may have wondered what a fat man was doing in lycra. I returned to Helensburgh again after possible my worst ever bikeride. 3 hours, these 25 km took me.
It goes without saying that this was not my finest hour and I have included it here as a motivation/warning for me to never ever become a food addict again. I am ashamed of myself.
The tour itself is a great tour, although a bit too much vertical. Glen Fruin is most definate a wonderful small valley well worth a visit. But the Glen Fruin Circuit (see own tour) is most definate recommended instead of this tour.