This year's first bikeride to Largs




March 2012
85 km



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. But I was hoping that March would be better. It was and I did a lot of bikerides that month. This is one of them.

It was a cold sunny morning when I set off this morning. I was afraid of black ice on the road when I cycled down to Paisley. That well founded fear of black ice made me stay on the road out past Elderslie and Johnstone to Howwood instead of taking the cycle path. The road was pretty slippery and my choice to take this road was the right one. I was in two minds about to continue or noe when I arrived at Howwood and took the road over the railway station and up a small climb to the cycle path. But the cycle path was dry and nice so I chose to continue on my journey out past Loch Semple to Lochwinnoch. I was still unsure if I should continue the ride when I passed Lochwinnoch. A couple of other very tempting bikerides was the alternatives I seriously considered. But I chose to ride on towards Kilbirnie on a very nice and dry cyclepath. The sun was starting to take hold too and I arrived in Kilbirnie in good spirit and with all my limbs intact. I switched from the cycle path to the A 760 road over to Largs. That road started with a steep climb before the road became more agreeable.



Looking down at Ayrshire from this climb

The climb was pretty easy when reaching the valley taking me up to the two big reservoirs. The two small climbs up from the biggest reservoir was the icing on the cake. The views over to Arran, Cumbrae and all the other islands was as spectacular as always. I was starting to freeze and the problems with the backwheel returned. The descent down to Largs is not my favorite so I took it very easy on this vertical zig-zag descent down to the sea level again. I bought some food at a bakery before I had a small break at the sea front of Largs. This city is one of the nicest in Scotland by far and I am a big fan of Largs. It was pretty cold down here and that explain why the place was not as overcrowded as it use to be. On a sunny afternoon, everyone goes to Largs and with good reasons.

After this small break, I crossed the street and went up Brisbane Road to Brisbane Glen. This is actually the birthplace of the guy who established the major. Australian town Brisbane . The Brisbane Glen is a very narrow valley and the climb up this valley is my favorite climb in Scotland. The climb starts when entering the valley and goes past some farmfields. The valley narrows when passing the farmfields. The climb are pretty steady and becomes a lot harder when the dam at the water reservoir comes into view. The climb up to the water reservoir is hard. The climb from the water reservoir is vertical for some time before the road becomes more agreeable. Here is three pictures from this climb.



Looking up the road from just above the water reservoir



Looking up the road again near the top of the climb



Looking down at this climb from the top at 265 meters above sea level

I topped out exactly one hour after I had left Largs seafront and I was very happy with that. It was freezing cold here despite of the sun so I continued down towards a bridge taking me over to another small climb. There was a lot of traffic on the road by both cars and other cyclists. The other cyclists was coming the opposite way though. I reached another view point again, overlooking Loch Tom.



Looking down towards Loch Tom, one of the more scenic places in this area

Loch Tom very much feels like the top of the world although it is barely scraping up at 200 meters above sea level. But the surrounding hills and scenery is just magic. The damages from the 3. January storm was evident though. Large parts of the surrounding forests had been laid waste by this hurricane like wind. A very scary sight.
I turned off the road here and took the short cut on a dirt road alongside the Gryffe reservoirs down to the B788 again. I crossed this road and took the Auchentiber Road towards Kilmacolm . I had never done Auchentiber Road before and it soon became a favorite.



Looking down towards Kilmacolm from the Auchentiber Road with Paisley and Glasgow in the distance

Auchentiber Road has some very good views over the Gryffe Valey and is a pretty easy ride down to the Greenock to Glasgow cycle path. I am not a big fan of this cycle path. But the arriving rain and the cold weather meant I was more interested in getting down to Paisley again than playing hero. But the cycle path positive surprised me with some very good bikeriding and views. It reminded me that it had been some years since I had been on this cycle path too. I am always on the surrounding roads and hills, but never on this cycle path. I will soon be back, though. The cycle path took me down past Bridge Of Weir to the motorway at Linwood and then on a bridge over it to Elderslie. I decided that the emerging rain was a good excuse to stay on the cycle path until Paisley and then bypassing the city centre on my way home again. I was very pleased with this bikeride when I arrived home again.


Conclusion



I would almost say this is a classic, annual bikeride. The ride out to Kilbirnie is easy. The road over the 220 meters above sea level mountain to Largs is very scenic too. Largs is a very pretty place. The climb up Brisbane Glen is excellent..... and the same can be said about the rest too. It a highly recommended bikeride which also can be lengtened to Greenock when the weather is a lot warmer and the rain is not threatening as it was on my bikeride. I highly recommend this bikeride.