Our New Year’s Day ride is usually well attended (it helps that for the last three years the first of January has usually been sunny, if not warm) but even with the rather glorious weather we had yesterday, we were pretty pleased with a turnout of 21 for our first ride of 2019 – including one youngster who was making longest ride of her life so far on her shiny new-for-Christmas red Frog bike.
With such a large gathering – and a variety of different speeds and experience – we decided to let the ride naturally split on the road, regrouping after the climb up from Kingholm and again at Glencaple, to make sure all was well and everyone was happy with the pace and route.
We made quite a bright and festive sight strung out along the Whitesands and through Dock Park and although the park and river path were fairly busy with people on foot enjoying the sunshine too, allowing the ride to break into smaller groups meant there was room for everyone.
Normally the Glencaple Road isn’t our favourite as it can be quite busy and fast, but the morning of New Year’s Day was the perfect time to enjoy it with almost no cars and what few drivers we encountered mostly in a patient mood. This gave our little ‘back marker’ group a chance to practise riding in a group taking turns at the front – a bit of fun and a new skill for some of us! The views of the Nith and Criffel were spectacular in the sunshine and unusually for a sunny winter day, it wasn’t that cold either. Just rather glorious cycling weather.
We’d hoped that by letting the speedy folk have their head at the front, that we might have less of a queue at the cafe in Caerlaverock but unfortunately there had been a big group in before us. The queue moved fairly quickly, though, and it gave people further chances to chat. With so many new faces as well as some old regulars, there were just too many conversations to be had and not enough time to have them in.
With everyone fed and watered we retrieved our bikes (we’d completely overwhelmed the official bike shed) and set off for the longish pull up the Bankend Road and home. Taking it slow and steady, even our youngest participant made it up (with maybe a little bit of a push from Dad).
Thanks to John Henry for most of the photos on here – I think he’s captured the flavour of the day! And thanks to everyone who came and made it such a pleasant way to start the year.
If you enjoyed it (or missed it!) – mark your diaries for our next outing, a Burns Night excursion to Brow Well on Sunday 27th January.