ON SUNDAY Fullarton Wheelers riders Brian Loye, Kev Brown and George Gass took part in the annual Don Smith Memorial Ride, promoted by Johnstone Wheelers and starting in Lochwinnoch.
During the non-competitive event the Irvine group met up with the club's Sunday run riders on the stretch between Kilwinning and Dalry.
The highlight of the day was the performance by Johnstone Jets, five of them at 14 years old taking turns on the front and mixing it up with the group. Two of them went on to finish first and second in the sprint.
The Sunday outing from Irvine Cross attracted four riders out on a great day for cycling. They immediately made for Kilwinning and then blasted over the Blair Road into Dalry, patiently negotiating the roadworks at the Dalry Inn on the Kilbirnie road. Once clear of the obstruction the four ground their way up and over the Largs road before descending the Haylie Brae. A left turn at the lights took them along the coast road to Seamill and Ardrossan from where they split to pedal home.
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EAST Ayrshire Council's Equalities Week started on Saturday at St Joseph's Academy, Kilmarnock, with a number of bike events provided by CTC Ayrshire and Walkers Cycles.
Around 50 cyclists participated, despite a damp start, on a wide variety of bikes which came near to reflecting the full range of machines around today. The day certainly lived up to its equalities title with nearly 70 years between youngest and oldest.
It was up to the CTC to provide the on-road experience which was designed as two loops of six miles each. The day had dried and brightened when 27 riders tentatively set off for the first loop but by the time they were out on to country roads they had settled down well to group riding and were responding confidently to leader Nancy Law's advice. No records were broken but the route which was new to all participants was well received for being challenging but not too hilly.
On the return to St Joseph's there was time for a few of the riders to have a go at the cycle skills area before embarking on the second six-mile circuit. Fourteen riders were up for doubling their mileage and, having had the earlier experience of club cycling, the distance was soon achieved at a steadier pace.
The Equalities team were thorough in their organisation with certificates for all and a seemingly endless quantity of tea and cakes being served up before, between and after the events. The CTC contingent were very pleased by the enthusiasm shown by all the participants and would certainly support similar activities to get people of all ages out on their bikes.
This Sunday's CTC outing is the monthly main ride and is a little over 40 miles in length. Leader is Pat Standen and she will take the group out from the Blackburn car park (south end), Ayr, to head south for a lunch stop at Dowhill. Departure time is 10am and new faces who can tackle this distance are welcome to sign up for the day.
Full details of all CTC Ayrshire activity can be found at www.cycleayrshire.co.uk.
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ORGANISERS of Ayrshire's newest cycle event 'The Highwayman Challenge' have announced their target of £5,000 in fundraising for the MS Society Scotland.
The Highwayman Challenge is a 100km audax event on Saturday, June 9, the day before the classic South Carrick David Bell Memorial race.
Participants are being asked to encourage friends and families to support them as they take on the challenging terrain of the Carrick Forest Drive and the area popularly referred to as the 'Ayrshire Alps'.
Scotland has the highest incidence of Multiple Sclerosis in the world and it is particularly prevalent in Ayrshire. There is currently no cure, but research is progressing fast thanks to funding from the general public.
The Davie Bell organisers are delighted to be able to use the event to sponsor a charity which seeks to find a cure for an illness that affects so many people in Ayrshire. Donations can be pledged via a 'just-giving' page on the event website www.southcarrickdaviebell.org
The event is being promoted as part of a weekend of sporting activity backed by South Ayrshire Council, South Carrick Community Leisure Services and Ayr Roads Cycling Club. There was further good news this week as local employer William Grant and Son came onboard as an official category sponsor, donating some of their premier brand products as prizes for participants in both the road race and audax.
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Ayr Roads Cycling Club/Harry Fairbairn BMW were represented by two riders in the first competitive road race of the season on a 40 mile circuit round the village of Gifford in East Lothian. David Torrance and seasoned veteran Alex McAllister both put in fine performances, sprinting to tenth and 18th position respectively from a field of 80.
The Ayr club will be back to the east coast next weekend with a team of three in the Musselburgh team time trial.
Sunday's club run saw 17 riders enjoying the quiet roads of south Ayrshire and having to contend with hailstone showers on the journey. All riders with all abilities are more than welcome to attend on Sundays. Meet at Beresford Terrace, Ayr, at 9.30am.
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EIGHT members of Walkers Cycling Club met on Tuesday for a fast and hilly run, the route for which was chosen by Pete Forsythe who tends towards roads with high climbs.
The group set out from Kilmaurs on a familiar circular course via Fenwick, the Eaglesham moor and Malletsheugh before returning down the A77. The evening was unseasonably mild for late February with a bit of a wind as they were to find out.
Ignoring the fog and whipped along by a serious tailwind, the group blasted up the A77 to the Eaglesham road end in no time but split up as they worked the climbs over the undulating moor route before regrouping in the village.
Scott Kerr was unfortunate to be halted when his bike hit one of the very many potholes in the conservation village. It took him only a few minutes to sort the puncture despite much heckling and abuse from some of his cycling colleagues.
On heading back down the A77 the group had to contend with the wind in the opposite direction but they were fuelled up by this stage and eager to keep going.
It was a tough 30-miler made all the more difficult with a powerful headwind at the end.
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TWO Walkers Cycling Club members embarked on the first Wednesday run of the season last week, enjoying the double rarity of mild weather and dry road surfaces before February was out.
The pair covered 25 miles on the ride which took them towards Kilmarnock, over to Moscow, up to the A77 and then round via Newton Mearns to follow the Old Glasgow Road through Stewarton to the Kilmaurs start point.
The club's Saturday morning ride attracted eight out for a four-hour cycle in rain, wind and sunshine. The group left Kilmaurs and took the road to Chapeltoun, continuing on farm lanes to Beith. They then took the Sustrans cyclepath to Lochwinnoch, stopping for a shot in the BMX park along the way. After a lunch stop in Lochwinnoch they headed back home, fighting with the wind through Howwood, Stewarton and back to Kilmaurs.
Three club riders figured largely in the conversation en route. Russell Mowat took some ribbing for having two punctures during the ride, as did Pete Forsyth for falling unceremoniously in the BMX park. Julie Nimmo was an inspiration, hanging on in there for all of the 37 miles, despite not having been out on a club ride for many months.
The trekking twosome switched routes because of rain early on Saturday. Instead of the planned 30-mile trek round Drumlanrig Castle, they opted for a ride nearer home and covered the same distance by cycling from Kilmaurs to Newton Mearns, which seems to have been every biker's chosen destination in the past week. Mearns Cross shopping centre provided the lunch stop venue as well as an opportunity for a sneaky look at another bike shop.
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THE half dozen who ventured out on Monday as the mainstay of Stewarton's Retired Gentlemen's Cycling Club were treated to a history lesson on local railways.
The fresh, dry weather lent itself to a carefree, unplanned cycle on farm roads around Montgreenan, Benslie and Torranyard.
At Cunninghamhead they pulled up at the old bridge over the disused railway above Annick Lodge at Roddinghill to allow the group's most senior member (aged 69) to reminisce. He explained how the line would have been derelict from the time when Scotland was served by four private rail companies, all of which would have been absorbed by British Rail in 1948. Two competing drivers would memorably race on the Glasgow to Ardrossan line where the loser would be forced to give way, shaking his fist to the winner who gained sole entry at the harbour bridge and thus claim all the seats for his passengers on the Arran ferry.
Back to cycling, the auld yins travelled on at a somewhat slower pace than the trains and boats of yesteryear, taking the road through Cunninghamhead to Kilmaurs and back to Stewarton via Chapeltoun where the cakes were made very welcome at the end of 18 miles.