Jul 13 2012 By John Woods
FULLARTON Wheelers produced yet another good turnout for their Sunday morning club run.
Boosted by several guest riders, a total of 18 cyclists set off from Irvine Cross towards Stewarton and the momentum of the big bunch in full flow ensured that Stewarton was reached in no time.
At a traffic light stop in the town, one club member seemed to perform a karate kick as his foot slipped out with a jerk while attempting to clip into his pedal. Thankfully The Kung Fu-llarton Kid remained upright and was soon back pedalling in the main bunch. After Stewarton it was uphill all the way as the bunch joined the twisting Old Glasgow Road.
A grey drizzle soon descended and dayglo waterproofs were quickly summoned as the riders climbed right into low-lying cloud. Visibility was dire by this point and, without any stunning scenery to savour, everyone had to make do with watching silver rain drops dripping off the front of their crash helmets.
A rear wheel puncture at the junction off the main road was quickly repaired, and the bunch were soon cruising along the A77. Before long the misty rain had vanished and everyone's damp clothing began to dry out while sweeping over the notorious false flats of the A77.
Four riders lost contact with the main bunch at this stage of the ride. Unknown to the four-man group, another club member, who'd encountered mechanical trouble, was chasing heart rate hard behind them.
When the gap was eventually bridged, the gasping rider saved just enough puff to wind the small group up about leaving him behind.
By Fenwick everyone was back together, and the fast road over to Kilmaurs saw riders begin to peel off the main bunch and head homewards.
The last part of the run saw a smaller group return to Irvine via a detour through Torranyard, Benslie and Kilwinning. Total mileage on a day of decidedly mixed weather was between 45 and 50 miles
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THE weather put a bit of a dampener on the early stages of Ayrshire CTC's multi-ride weekend which took 15 members onto the roads of Arran.
Wet it was, but the mild temperature stopped it from being uncomfortable and few complaints were heard from the participants.
Saturday saw a group of eight going over from Ardrossan, with five ladies intent on completing the monthly ladies ride. Three of these were intending to overnight in Lochranza and make a weekend of it as were the three men who joined them on the sail.
By the time the group arrived at Brodick the ladies had invited the three to join them as, in the light of the weather, a bigger group was more likely to keep spirits up.
The ride then became more casual with a break at Duchess Court for the obligatory visit by the ladies to Arran Aromatics and, five miles later, a lunch stop was agreed at the Corrie Hotel in the hope that the rain would stop. It did as food was consumed but started again as bikes were remounted. Then a bit of 'real' cycling started as they set out for Lochranza. Susi and Linda were just over for the day but volunteered to cycle to the head of Glen Chalmadale, a considerable climb that increased a normal ladies' ride distance by six miles. Parting at just under 700' both parties enjoyed a downhill despite the continuing rain.
The duo headed for the late afternoon boat and the six-strong party for the showers at their accommodation in Lochranza.
The following day the sextet regrouped from their various accommodation at around 10am and decided that the failure of the 'better day' forecast made the early afternoon boat an attractive prospect so the simple route of Catacol, Pirnmill and the link to The String above Machrie was agreed regardless of the climb.
Once again it was shown that the forecast was right but the timing was wrong as the damp cyclists descended to Brodick where people could be seen in typical Scottish beachwear – T-shirts, shorts and scarves. The truth is probably that the early ferry decision was in the hope of catching some of the Wimbledon tennis final.
The distance was 40 miles but did include two of the island's most significant climbs.
The CTC Ayrshire Main run for July had seven turn up at Brodick for a jaunt on Arran on Sunday. Light rain was their companion as they set out to do an anti-clockwise route of the island. Fortunately, the rain disappeared during the run-up the coast to Corrie and the initial flat eight miles allowed leg muscles to warm up before one of the major climbs of the day.
From Sannox, the pace slowed considerably as the climb up-and-over towards Lochranza took its toll. The road was busy with other cyclists who had also come off the ferry, several of whom had chosen to walk parts of it. The popularity of the island as a cycling destination was evident with numerous cyclists also passing in the opposite direction, with and without backpacks and panniers, showing a mix of both touring cyclists and those just out for a day's enjoyment.
After re-grouping at the top of the Bogie, the reward for their efforts was the three-mile descent into Lochranza. There was a short refreshment stop at the tea and sandwich shop on the coastal road before setting off down the western side of the island. Unusually, there was very little wind on the day so good progress was made as a steady pace was maintained all the way to Blackwaterfoot where a stop was taken for lunch at the picnic tables on the shore at the Kinloch Hotel.
The original plan had been to head south and take the Ross Road back towards Brodick, but a quick vote resulted in a change of plan. Only one would go on to tackle the Ross Road as he was a resident of Arran and it was the shortest route home for him.
The six others tackled the String and once again, it was every man or woman for themselves on the climb to the top, where the group reformed for the final run down to Brodick.
Arriving in the ferry port with an hour to spare, there was time to indulge in ice creams as a reward for the 43 miles covered during the day before heading back to Ardrossan.
It had been hoped that the two groups would meet, or pass, at some point but route decisions, ferry times and weather didn't allow this.
On a cautionary note Ayrshire CTC would like to draw cyclists' attention to the drain covers around Duchess Court. These are fitted with the drainage slots in line with the direction of travel and could, at least, damage a rim or, at worst, catch the wheel and cause the rider to be thrown. The CTC have since drawn North Ayrshire Council's attention to this.
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A CYCLE COLUMN reader is appealing for fellow cyclists to play fair when pedalling on busy roads.
Tony Fenlon of Girdle Toll, Irvine, was provoked into writing a letter by the antics of some selfish cyclists in his home town.
Tony says that bikers are often given a hard time unfairly, being criticised for instance for not paying road fund duty. But he concedes that some of them do deserve to be called to account for their actions.
“I was riding into Irvine a couple of days ago and was passed by a younger and faster group of riders from a well known local cycling group,” he writes.
“I first encountered them at the BP roundabout on Long Drive but followed them past the Menzies Hotel, over the Foularton Arches (the old Bailey Bridge) towards Tesco. They rode the whole way three abreast on a single carriage road, delaying traffic behind them. No one could get past.
“My training, albeit from nearly 50 years ago, was that cyclists should ride single file in built-up areas, always paying attention to and acknowledging local traffic conditions.
“Cars were forced to pass this group on the wrong side of the road. This time I have to agree with the car drivers. Please guys, don't be so inconsiderate. Think about other road users and ride appropriately – even if it's only to make life easier for us older cyclists.”
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AYR Roads' elder statesmen may have shone at the previous weekend's British Master Track Championships but last week it was the turn of the less experienced cyclists to perform – by demolishing records in the club's confined 10-mile Time Trial.
With time trialling so competitive within the club, and records standing for 20 years until last year, Mick Robb of Straiton was able to cut the individual 10 mile time record to just 21mins 1sec.
The remaining 10s of the season will be interesting as Kenny Armstrong will be intent on beating this time, having broken the long standing record last year.
On his competitive debut for the season, Paul Gibson was second in 21.41 while Mark Skilling clocked 21.55 to break the team record of the fastest three riders for the third time in a year with a combined time of 1.04.037.
It was a good night for all with Lynn Wardrop setting a personal best of 25.2 and Trevor Wilson, on the comeback trail, also with a PB of 22.53. Sam Wakeling broke his initial fastest time set on a uni-cycle the previous Thursday with a 31.28.
Full results. 1 Mick Robb 21.01 (PB); 2 Paul Gibson 21.41 (PB); 3 Mark Skilling 21.55; 4 Trevor Wilson 22.53; 5 Brian Nicol 23.13; 6 Gavin Kerr/Grant Young 23.56; 7 Colin Reilly 24.10; 8 Lynn Wardrop 25.02 (PB); 9 Paul McGhee 25.10; 10 Calum Hume 26.46; 11 Sam Wakeling 31.28.
Ayr Roads Cycling Club/Harry Fairbairn BMW have entered two teams in the Team Trial Championships on a flat 38-mile course in Perth and Kinross on July 29, with the aim of building on their seventh and 14th places of last year.
The Ayr Roads weekend club run departs Beresford Terrace, Ayr, every Sunday at 9.30am. All riders of all abilities are welcome.
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WALKERS Cycling Club's Thursday night section featured a 20-mile newcomers' trip between Kilmaurs and Kilwinning.
Eight cyclists looked in on the closed-up Montgreenan Mansion Hotel on their way from Torranyard to Benslie.
From there they took the sawmill road at Burrowland, dipping down to the Lugton Water and working hard to keep tyres gripping on the wet climb back up and round to the left, en route for the Fergushill road.
Irvine was the next destination after skirting round three sides of Eglinton Park. The octet continued past the new homes at Montgomerie Park and on to Lawthorn at Girdle Toll, taking the Cunninghamhead route back to base.
The club's Thursday night ride is open to members and non-members. The aim is to allow new cyclists to try pedalling in a group.
The pace is easy and the distance is agreed upon in advance of setting out.
For more advice contact John Walker on 01563 544488.