The pulled muscle in my abs whilst stopping me running also gave me the opportunity to increase my cycling. Riding down to my old hometown of Stewarton has been on my bucket list for a while and I decided to give it a go on 6th March 2017. I had given my Felt Road Bike, sorry it doesn’t have a name, a good and much needed clean the day before. The weather was dry but very windy when I set off from Strathbungo Village along the A77 towards Pollok.
A slight uphill took me to and through Barrhead where I turned left and headed up the country road towards Neilson. It was like being in a spin class as I peddled up the steep hills having to work hard and stand up on the way up the hill and resting a little on the declines whenever I could. Normally the good thing about go
ing uphill is knowing that you will be rewarded with a much easier downhill section. Unfortunately today there was a strong headwind which made even the downhill sections hard.
Although this was my first ride over the 400ft Neilston hill, I remember one of Stewarton’s characters ‘Wee Ted’ telling me that the cycle from the town was ‘all uphill to Neilson and all uphill on the way back too’. I laughed then, I wasn’t laughing now. I did smile though as I passed the well named Traveller’s Rest. The route continued down through Uplawmuir, Lugton and Dunlop before reaching Stewarton’s Corsehill Castle. It was good to be at home but 18 hilly miles into a head wind wasn’t really my idea of 100 minutes of fun.
A did a wee tour of the town and considered the various options for my return route before deciding on the Old Glasgow Road. Resisting the temptation to pop into the Smugglers Inn and then the Mill House Hotel, I cycled up Dean Street, through Kirkford and had another smile, this time at the aptly named Windy Yett before I passed the White Loch as the picturesque B769 took me north towards the Dams to Darnley Country Park. Although the road was even more undulating than the Neilston route, I had the wind on my back and it didn’t take me too long until I was on the outskirts of Glasgow and rewarded with a panoramic view of the Dear Green Place.
It was then down through Newton Mearns and over the final hill of the day on Stewarton Road, through Thornliebank, around Pollok Park and via Fotheringay Road to sunny Strathbungo.
Thirty-five miles in the bag in a time of 2:40, it had taken me forty minutes less to return, covering the 17 hilly miles home in one hour but the main thing was that I had proved to myself that I could cycle to Stewarton and back. At 55.7 km this had been my second longest cycle ever.
At 55.7 km this had been my second longest cycle ever. It wasn’t fast at an average speed of 21k/hr and a maximum speed of 51k/hr but it did me fine.