A nice 75 km ride and two punctures
My cycle season 2012 had started very positive back in January and I was eager to continue this trend. February had a lot of bad weather though and the frost returned too. Every sunny day were frosty. So I went for some walks instead on those days. I only got two bikerides that month. I felt in good form and was eager to build on this form when the calendar announced March. This was my second ride that month.
I had planned to do this bikeride on the day before. But I was very tired and postponed it to the day after where the weather forecast was a lot better. When I woke up the following day, that seemed to be the case too. I got dressed and cycled through Paisley to Elderslie where I joined the cycle path to Lochwinnoch and Kilbirnie. I felt a bit short of breath that morning and was struggling past Johnstone. But I was soon picking up steam and speed down past Castle Semple, together with a lot of other bikeriders, down to Lochwinnoch . The cycle path did the usual turn past a disused playing field and I continued the on this path, a disused railway line with proper asphalt, down towards Kilbirnie . Some horses with their horseriders on the top stopped me before Kilbirnie and with a lot of trepidations, I passed them. I am not happy about passing horses on a narrow path. But the horses seemed under control and big smiles all around. In my case; of relief. I was glad when I entered Kilbirnie.
Instead of doing the cyclepath to Kilwinning, which I did last year, I chose the rather easier, more interesting and more straight forward B 780 road over to Dalry. It is an up and down road with a nice climb and descent and I was pretty quickly down in Dalry. I joined the A 737 road here and had not been on this road since 1998. I had seen it from the train many times though. These few kilometers down to Kilwinning was easy bikeriding alongside a river. I was in Kilwinning pretty quickly after I had left Dalry.
Kilwinning was the turning point on the bikeride too and I was happy to turn around for the ride up to Paisley again. I found the B 785 road and had some kilometer of bikeriding with a lot of sharp corners and twists. A very good road which I recommend. Most important, this road took me over to the bottom of the A 736 road up to Lugton again. I had a lot of problems on this road last year (see the Irvine tour) and knew this road would be a good benchmark of how fit I was now. I knew I was in the best shape I had ever been at this time of the year and the climb up this road removed any doubts. After a small chocolate bars & drinks break, I easily climbed the hills I was struggling in last year.
Looking down towards Torranyard at the Irvine to Lugton road
I kept a good speed until one mile before I reached Lugton. My backwheel suddenly punctured. OK, punctures is a part of the game and this was the first of the year for me. It normally takes me ten minutes to change tube. I was fumbling around this time and it took me a lot longer time before I was back on the wheels again. The bike did not feel right when I finally passed through Lugton . I briefly considered going over Gleniffer Braes. But I chose to stay on the A 736 road down to Barrhead. But I punctured again a couple of miles before Barrhead and I rolled over to a house and fitted a bigger tube this time. This repair took me only ten minutes due to having learnt from my mistakes from the previous puncture. That tube seemed to work and I was soon down in Barrhead where I took the road over Dykebar Hospital and home again.
An excellent bikeride which I can recommend. The first hour or so down to Kilbirnie is a bit boring though. But the rest is really great and the return up to Barrhead a real treat. The variation over Uplawmoor Village and Neilston is even better. I think it is fair to say that this ride will remain on my classics list for many years. Although with some small variations though. It is highly recommended.