We’ve had a great season of summer rides this year so it’s really sad to write up the last of them, but at least we ended on a good one! Another baker’s dozen turned up for our ride out to Mabie Forest, the longest (at 11-12 miles) of our summer rides. As well as some folk who have been coming on and off all summer, there were some new faces too, which is always cheering!
The ride to Mabie Forest is a new route put in by the council and Sustrans a few years back, but it’s never been signposted, so even people who know Mabie Forest well don’t necessarily know there’s an almost-entirely off-road route from the centre of town to the sneaky back entrance beside Mabie Farm Park. Riding alongside the Dalbeattie Road isn’t always the most relaxing place to be, but it’s separated from the fast traffic and this year the path itself was clear of horse poo (which had proved a hazard last year …). The final section is along a single track road, and the few cars we encountered were fine, happy to wait until we’d reached a passing place to go round us. We also rode past the Dumfries Model Flying Club and were able to watch their very impressive remote-controlled planes taking off and flying around, which was a bit of a bonus.
Once at Mabie Forest, there was again no litter to be found – but the sight of large ripe juicy blackberries proved irresistible to some members of the party, so much so that our traditional group photo was missing a few participants. We’d much rather be picking hedgerow fruits than other people’s rubbish so this was another bonus!
We came back via the same route, waving to the model aircraft flyers, and noting other good blackberrying spots as we went. These are the kinds of things it’s much harder to do in a car which is why we love getting out and exploring by bike (not to mention the cake …)
Our summer rides may be over, but things are busy in September so keep an eye on the site. And make a note in your diaries for Friday 21st September, when we have our annual Bike Breakfast! We’re ringing the changes a little this year and holding it on the Whitesands (outside the Coach and Horses) so it’s easier for people to get to and on a major bike commuting route. See you there!