Thursday, 31 March 2011

Ardlui to Neilston

Thursday 31st March 2011 52.52 Miles 4hr 53mins 10.76mph Average Speed 298.07 Total Miles We had seen a weather report last night to say that we would have rain all morning with gale force winds of up to 60mph, so we had decided to have a lay in and leave a bit later hoping it would clear in the afternoon. This morning the weather report said it would rain all morning and the gale force winds would follow this afternoon! So an hour later than normal we set off in the pouring rain along the shore of Loch Lomond. It was beautiful and relatively flat with the mist sitting in the valley in layers.

We cycled for 25 miles without stopping pretty much as we got cold the minute we stood still. We had one photo stop when the rain eased for a bit and carried on straight through Tarbet and Luss to stop in a McDonalds in Balloch after 25 miles. For the last 5 miles or so the wind really picked up. It was quite dangerous cycling on the road, we managed to find a cycle path for some of the way but the surface was quite uneven so painful in many places and a lot slower.

It felt like we were in a dishwasher with the rain and wind coming from the left then the right then the front then the back etc. You had to be prepared and its not easy to cycle in those conditions with lorry’s zooming past splashing us and drawing us in. Leaving a few puddles in McDonalds, we left when the rain had nearly stopped but the wind had taken its place. Until now we had been following the A82 for a few days but it was time to put our map reading skills to the test.

We found our way through Alexandria and Dumbarton on smaller roads which was a nice change to people watch on the high streets. It was also more protected from the wind. Getting back on the A82 the sun came out and the wind was blowing strong behind us. We stopped briefly to remove some waterproof gear and there on the side of the road was a brand new still in the packet high vis jacket with dads name on it… thanks grandparents.

We climbed up onto the Erskine Bridge where we were approached by the maintenance van who told us to walk the bikes over as he had measured the wind on the bridge at 45mph! Of course it was in our faces along with the grit and gravel being thrown up by the vehicles. It was tough and not much fun. Arriving the other side in one piece and a bit wind swept we continued on smaller roads into Paisley.

To avoid the major junction at Glasgow airport we took the pedestrian route across a wooden bridge, up a muddy path off road which came out in the airport departure area! We managed to avoid getting a flight home. In Paisley we had a quick stop in Halfords where we blagged a free chain clean and oil for Betty as she was squeaking quite loudly. We stopped in a park at a café for a well earned break but the lady was closing early and gave us some directions to Neilston. On route we came across a garden centre with a coffee shop that was lovely sitting in a greenhouse with the sun beaming in. We did the last 8 mile to the hotel but it was all up stonking hills! Another eventful day.

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