You might have thought that every cyclist in the UK had crammed themselves into Yorkshire yesterday to watch the Tour de France go by – but there were enough left in Dumfries to join us for the start of our summer rides, with a short figure-of-eight shaped jaunt along the banks of the Nith to Kingholm Quay.
Ten of us braved showers to gather at Dock Park at 2pm on Saturday – and after a pause for some bike maintenance and to hand out the first of our summer challenge cards to the children participating (adults can have them too, if they want) we set off. The first ride is always the shortest – just 3 miles on dead flat cycle paths and a short stretch of road. We wheeled our bikes over the Suspension bridge to take the river path down to the Kirkpatrick Macmillan Bridge, keeping a keen eye out for kingfishers and other bird life.
As we crossed the bridge and followed the path down to Kingholm Quay, the kids were very much to the front – only just remembering the injunction to keep behind the ‘yellow jersey’ of our ride leader. Once at Kingholm Quay we joined the road for a short stretch, riding in double formation for safety with our youngest participant being just five years old. We were pleased to note that the temporary traffic lights changed readily at the approach of our bikes, so we didn’t have to wait for a green light. Then, with the rain starting we made a final sprint to the bandstand for coconut and cherry flapjacks and a group photo – and the formal stamping of the cards with the total distance completed – three miles.
The verdict of our younger riders? Too short! Three miles is a doddle, even when you’re five. So let’s see how they fare next week when we head to Lincluden Abbey – a four mile round trip.