There was another good turnout for Sunday’s ride, with fourteen of us assembling on the Whitesands (fifteen, initially, until Rhian noticed her front tyre was coming apart and decided to make a detour via Halfords).
After a brief pause to fix a fellow cyclist’s puncture, we set off in what turned out to be another fine winter’s day, apart from a very brief shower (just after an unwise remark about how lucky we had been with the weather).
With a larger group, and a variety of abilities and preferred cycling pace, we decided to let the group split into two or three different speeds. This also makes cycling along the Bankend Road a little more relaxing than having to deal with drivers fazed by encountering a big bunch of cyclists!
Once at Brow Well, we enjoyed the warmth of the winter sunshine, fixed another puncture, and contemplated eighteenth century medical practice (Burns had attempted to be cured here by wading out into the Solway in winter …). A full Burns Supper was impractical on a bike, but we did manage some ‘mini haggises’ (actually cocoa covered date balls) and some flapjacks, including some Cranachan-inspired ones complete with a tot of whisky in the mix.
Next stop was Caerlaverock Castle tea rooms – but first we were reunited with Rhian, who had a new front tyre but was now wrestling with a puncture on her back wheel – two spare inner tubes later (and a back wheel that was reluctant to go back on), we got her back on the road again. As the front group had gone on ahead once it was clear it wasn’t going to be a speedy repair, this at least eased any congestion in the tea rooms.
For the tail enders, there was one final stop, just past Kelton, to meet Rona and John Carson and sign their petition for lower speeds on the Glencaple road. Standing on the blind bend where they live, it was clear that this was a very dangerous spot, made all the more so by the 60mph limit. Unfortunately the council are very rigid about lowering speed limits on rural roads – we would like to see them following Clackmannanshire’s lead and make some rural roads far more cyclist, walker and horse-friendly.
If you didn’t manage to sign the petition on Sunday, you can do so online – it only takes a minute and it would make a big difference.