Monday, June 21, 2010

King of the mountains

Last weekend saw the third bike ride of my new cycle ownership regime. This time, as promised in my last post on the subject, we took a route that didn't just go along nice flat canals and did indeed have some hilly elements to it. The ride was up to Mugdock Country Park. Prior to the cycle we'd had a look on sustrans for the route and thought we had a good idea of where to go - basically follow the River Kelvin up to near Bardowie Loch and then along another bit of cycle route towards Milngavie. We did start by following the Kelvin before having to move onto a road-bound section of the route at the West of Scotland Science Park. We then never actually regained the Kelvin and just ended up cycling up the main road to Milngavie (home to the starting point of the West Highland Way). This is one of those places that are very close to Glasgow, but I'd still never been to, so it was nice to see. After wandering through the centre of Milngavie trying to work out the best way to the park, which we new should be just to the north, we happened upon a road called Mugdock Road, which we figured should take us in the right direction. Indeed it did, although it also meant going up the steepest climb we'd yet attempted - I started to have to properly learn to use my gears. We entered the park at a random point and tried heading towards the visitors centre. Unfortunately it turned out that to get there you had to traverse lots of steep uneven slopes (done via pushing rather than riding the bikes), only to get near the top (but still about a kilometre away from the castle and visitors centre) to find it impassable to bikes (and fat people) due to a very narrow and awkward stone stile-thing. This was probably done to stop mountain bikers using the route, but is was rather annoying. We headed back down and just randomly cycled round to bits of the park that were accessible, stopping for a packed lunch near a river.

We headed back to Milngavie, but wanted to try and find a different route home - maybe even the one we'd tried to travel up. We attempted to follow some signs to Allander Water, which also pointed to Glasgow, and involved a nice (flat) route along a river on which we saw a Kingfisher (or at least a bird that had a bright blue back and orange tummy and looked incredibly Kingfisher-esque). Unfortunately this just led us to a main road with no sign of a continuing cycle route - sustrans seemed to be lying (although the route it seemed to be showing us on Saturday seems to have disappeared from the websites today - suspicious!) We decided to just head back the way we came.

The cycle wasn't as long as our previous two, but the was some actual climbing of hills and offroad action, which provided a bit more of a test than before.