After a very disappointing false start, I finally made my way out along the Ayrshire coastline through Bishopton, Port Glasgow, Greenock, and Largs to finish and have a well deserved sandwich in the quiet town of Irvine. This was a charity cycle for Action Medical Research (A subject I have became more passionate about since the birth of my daughter in January 2012) that I had planned to take part in, and in fact started, only to discover that 12 miles into the ride that my pedal had decided to come loose and wear away the inside of the crank arm that it was once attached to. So, the week after the disappointment of having to withdraw from the event (of which my generous family, friends & work colleagues had sponsored over £300.00) I decided to get back in the saddle and tackle this trip and accomplish the goal of reaching the century of miles that I had promised.
The journey began as I left home, a little later than I had planned: this can happen when you have an eight month old daughter that believes 6:20am is playtime. So I finally left around 8:30am and took the route over the Erskine Bridge to take me over to the coast. After a couple of hours of speedy pedalling along the beautiful coastline along a fast open road with very few cars (it was a Sunday morning after all) I had a brief stop in the port area of Largs. It was still pretty pleasant weather wise and I scoffed some rice biscuits and had some water. Had I known about the hill that was in front of me as I left Largs, I would have most definitely stopped for longer and had more energy filled snacks / fruit / energy drinks. The ascent up from Largs towards Irvine was tough, I could see three fellow cyclists in front of me pushing and pedalling in their lowest cog to try to reach the peak, as they moved up they left one of their own crew behind and left me even further behind. As I sucked on the valve on my camelbak and spin through my gears I managed to quicken my pace and reach the top to enjoy the delightful descent.
Pushing on along the route through sleepy towns, Kilbirnie and Kilwinning I made the trip down to Irvine, where I stopped at 52.4 miles – it was enough to give me the chance of racking up another 50 for the return journey (I hoped). After speaking to a few locals about the cycle path route and my trip so far, I made a move upwards to find the route onto the sustrans cycle route that would give me a trip home that was perhaps a little more flat and more friendly in traffic terms. I found this route as I passed through Kilwinning and made the trip up to Lochwinnoch, where I stopped for the last time – this time chatting to some young cyclists on mountain bikes, discussing Strava and stuffing my face with an energy bar.
The final push brought me through Paisley and through the South side of Glasgow (purely because i got completely lost leaving Pollock Country Park due to poor signage). I popped into a shop to buy some more water as i had exhausted the 3 litres of my backpack, quickly back on the move and along through Partick to get home. As expected, as I passed the turn off for my house, my iphone app read 97.6 miles – not enough! So I passed through the streets up to Old Kilpatrick where I added on the extra mileage and turned to head for home. To enjoy a cold pint of Guinness and a warm bath.
Over the 100 miles, the most excessive pains I experienced were in my neck, back and shoulders, and also I had a throbbing pain in my hands from gripping the foam handles on my tourer’s handlebars. I was extremely glad to get through the miles and have no problems with the bike, or in fact with me. I am very thankful for the support from all who sponsored me, and those who were so great after the failed attempt to complete the task the week previous.
You can check the route here and if you do cycle, I’d recommend Strava.