It started slowly and gathered momentum.
A year in which I retired from the daily grind, plans to do anything else?, mibbes aye, mibbes naw.
A year in which I spread my wings further out on the cycling trail, a year in which radio latterly took a back seat, a year one small ambition realised – a climb of Helvellyn, a year in which my youngest graduated with a B.A., the oldest gaining his Ph.D…A year in which I realised that I must pack in as much time doing what I want (after housework, of course.)
The cycling bit first, folks..
I’m a nerd who logs everything, radio contacts, mileage either walked, cycled, hiked etc.
I look constantly at my Polar v650 placed on the stem, I see time out, mileage was done, speed, ave speed, Heart Rate, ave HR, ascent and descent, obsession? maybe.
2015 cycling highlight?
Too many to choose.
I rarely plan a route, I decide how I feel and some days I do hills, on others the local track does me.
There obviously are high points and I’ll note these as I go.
Making my way up the A82 Rest and Be Thankful taking it easy in the small ring knowing each bend and foot ascended was getting me near the top, I had approached Ardgarten with much trepidation. I punched the air as I topped and promptly got cheered by a large group of middle-aged bikers who had cruised by me at a far greater pace on their motorised machines. I bowed as I came off the bike. I could have gone up a gear or two higher on the lower part but better saving the legs, just in case. I later looked at Strava segment times and I wasn’t the slowest but there were many much more quicker at the ascent, I was happy. Me in my 60s, a hybrid, 700×40 tyres and a body not made for speed.
Parts of that trip was on roads never cycled, I took the Barbour Rd out of Kilcreggan and when I reached Peaton Rd, I gulped and had a go but not for long. I got off and milked it.
It’s the thought of the return home from the west. Sea level to just under 500 ft ASL, local knowledge then comes into play.
I returned again to Bute to catch the roads I missed first time round, a magical island to cycle (as long as you check the wind direction first), the ferry journey was a highlight, Gourock to Rothesay due to pier works at Wemyss Bay, memories of being 5 or 6 going ‘doon the watter’.
Later that day I’d cycled high above Loch Fyne as I headed to where I’d turn south at Strachur, I decided on a late break to have what originally was my lunch, I parked Polly and sat down on a bench on the shore side, it wasn’t sunny but with the solitary noise of small waves breaking on a rocky shore, I sat back and soaked in the view.
Other views, sitting at the café at Ettrick Bay on Bute looking across to Arran, looking west and south-west from the Haylie Brae above Largs are among too many to mention. It makes all the pedalling worthwhile.
The view from Scroggy Bank above Greenock has to be one of my favourites and I never tire of being there, an uphill cycle on a rough track then an obscure tarmac single track road to the mast area.
I can leave home and have a 20 mile plus run and be back home in under 2 hours, some days it takes 3, 3½ maybe 4.
I’ve got to know folk along the routes I travel and we spend time, talking about this and that. I do a weekly check on all the geocaches I have placed along Route 75 and other areas…
New places visited.
I headed one day with Balloch in mind but nagging for a few months in the back of my mind was the thought of heading further among 7 to Drymen. A case of ‘I’m here, lets go’, a cycle designated route but no level tarmac path, just the up and down of country roads. I sat in the square in Drymen and spoke to a passing cyclist, he asked where I had left my car..’My car? I’ve cycled’..a look of shock as I explained I just point the front wheel and go.
I try and vary my runs so I never get that feeling of ‘not this stretch again’, I have ran out of side roads to explore and meet all sorts of happenings, I occasionally meet the river watchers who check samples of river life, the replacement bridge builders, the taking a trip along ‘paths’ I took the Mill Lade path between Crosslee and Bridge of Weir and cycled around 60% but I’ll walk the next time, the bike and myself were a bit muddy to say the least. I’ve still a geocache to find midway.
A drudge it could have been but December has been a month of heavy rain and constant high winds, I’d headed out more as an escape of the house, it looked okay but as I got to the end of the avenue, it rained BIG rain blown horizontally into my face as I pedalled towards the cycle track , I wished lads I knew a ‘Good morning’, a ‘WTF are you doing out in this?’ came back but off down the track where 5 miles out, I decided to turn back.
I stood sodden at the back door, every item of clothing straight into the washing machine, the bike? ironically got a natural ‘jet’ wash..It’s been a ‘weather window’ hunt. as I write this, I’m 5 mile short of 3,500 miles or 5,632 Kms. I’ve still time to break this total.
I spent last winter making all sorts of plans and never achieved many of them, I’m not making plans this winter as I’m going to dig in to what is already stored by.
I’m writing this in the dog days (alternative world) of December, gales have been constant, rain? more than normal and I’ve been grounded..a light dusting of snow lies outside.
Over 3,300 miles logged, surprisingly not much more than 2014.
Earlier Jan, Feb and March weather restricted my ‘oots’, top month saw over 550 miles logged.
I’ll take that…..
Radio and others, sometimes.
I used the full image of Scroggy Bank as this is one view which continues to astound me no matter how often I stand there. Please click on image for a fuller image and appreciation of the view.