Well, we were hopeful we would get a good turnout for our new year’s day ride – but we never quite know who’s going to show up to these things, even on a perfect winter morning for cycling.
We certainly didn’t expect 27 people to decide that the only sensible way to kick off the new year was a bike ride – but after all, who can argue with that? Indeed so unprepared were we, that we didn’t even manage to get a group shot of everyone before we set off. Still, we did at least manage to get a photo of Rhian’s bubble-blowing set up – surely the must have bike accessory for 2017 – as we set off along the Whitesands.
Avoiding the path down to Kingholm Quay which was likely to be busy with walkers, we rode up through Castledykes Park (the group keeping together remarkably well given the sudden change in gradient) and then through the Crichton before taking the Bankend Road down to the Caerlaverock Wetlands Centre. With such a big group, and a fair few cars out (though mostly very patient drivers), we soon naturally divided up into two or three bunches, allowing those who had rashly worn shorts to power ahead to keep warm.
We regrouped at the turnoff to Caerlaverock (and had a minor ‘fender bender’ pile up, fortunately at slow speed – too much chatting to pay attention to an unannounced stop ahead), and then made the final run down to the Wetland Centre where soup and bacon rolls were very much the order of the day – as well as the usual chat, bike related and not.
By the time we got the traditional group shot, a few had set off for home already – and others were still finishing the last mouthful of cake in the cafe, but it gives an idea of the size of the ride.
Once on the road again we faced the reality of the headwind, and as we were on the slightly busier Shore Road, again split up into a faster (and more skimpily dressed) bunch at the front, and those of us who like to chat at the back. This allowed people to ride home at their own pace, after what had been a grand day out with some great company – it’s only a shame that with so many people, it wasn’t possible to get to know all of the new faces as well as catch up with old hands.
The next ride will be on the 29th January, when in honour of Robert Burns we will ride out to Brow Well. We hope we’ll see a similar turn out – and equally kind winter weather