We had a round dozen people for our fourth summer ride, not put off by the prospect of a seven mile ride up and down the Caledonian Cycleway, even though one family had only ever tackled two miles up until then.
We formed rather a motley crew – from a couple of Barbie bikes, two Orange bikes, and the usual hybrids and road bikes, but everyone rolled along happily enough together, taking their time.
Just before our turnaround point at Lochthorn Library, disaster struck: one child’s pedal came off! It turns out that pedalling backwards while you freewheel is not a good idea as it can loosen the pedal, resulting in a bit of a tumble and a grazed knee. Fortunately Mike Gray was able to get the pedal back on – and also sort out the stiff brakes on another child’s bike – while the rest of us sat around chatting and eating tray bakes (we did reward Mike with an extra tray bake at the end)
We then made our way back by a slightly shorter route – taking in the railway station, Newall Terrace and the High Street, cutting out a bit of a loop along the Maxwelltown Path. This was a bit of an eye opener when you have less confident and experienced kids (and adults!) in tow – basically, the short stretch of Loreburne Street between Newall Terrace and Munches Street forms a real barrier unless you ride as a tight group, and Bank Street, although only a 20mph road, feels very hazardous when there are kids in the mix, as drivers seem more focused on finding a parking space than looking out for cyclists. In the end, we walked down the last stretch of Bank Street, and were quite relieved to get back onto the Whitesands for the last leg to Dock Park.
Still, we made it back with the same number of children we had set off with, and it was smiles all round as we reached the ‘finish line’. The next ride will be a similar length, to the 12 Apostles – another hidden bit of Dumfries’s history.
Our next meeting will be on Tuesday at 6pm at the Coach and Horses – please do come along, as we’ll be discussing plans for our Big Bike Breakfast – the highlight of our cycling calendar