After a delayed start due to a flat tyre (well it wouldn’t be a summer ride without one!) we were off and battling the strong wind round the Maxwelltown Cyclepath. As we headed out of Cargenbridge there was bit of dodging to be done on the shared use path alongside the Dalbeattie Road – a route obviously popular with horse riders too!
We then made our way along the Mabie Farm Park road before heading past the giant pink marshmallow hay bales to Mabie Farm Park. From here we cycled up a little known track to bring us out at the sawmill in Mabie Forest.
The proof is in the pudding! Here we enjoyed the final cake offering of the last summer ride before heading back the way we’d come and this time with the wind behind us – weeeeee!
It’s not over yet. The night’s may be shortening and the brambles ready for picking but there’s no need to put the bike in the shed. Our annual Bike Breakfast is coming up in September and Beat the Street starts next week, which sees Dumfries turned in to a town size game. We’re hoping to form a team so please let us know if you’d like to be part of it! Either email us firstname.lastname@example.org or message us on facebook.
Love your bike? Treat it with a ride out to Sweetheart Abbey. We’ll be heading out of Dumfries along the old military road, crossing the Dalbeattie Road at Beeswing. Then it’s an easy few miles down the Loch Arthur New Abbey Road.
In New Abbey as well as admiring Sweetheart Abbey, we’ll head to the tea room or pub for a bite to eat. The abbey was founded by Lady Devorgilla in memory of her husband John Balliol. After his death she had his heart embalmed and placed in an ivory casket, which she is said to have carried with her forever after, finally being buried with it on her death.
Despite a chequered history and an early demise in the 16th century, this 700 year old ruin has survived various wars to stand almost complete.The blood red sandstone and graceful architecture are nestled below the bulk of Criffel amongst green rolling hills and patches of woodland.
It’s through this countryside we’ll head back, leaving New Abbey to the north along the coast road for a short section before turning off to follow Kirkconnell Lane. This will bring us out near Mabie Forest, where we rejoin the coast road for another small section and then take the Mabie Farm park road returning along the shared use path to Cargenbridge and back in to town.
With a starting number of 13, including our two ride leaders, we headed off from Dock Park along the Whitesands to begin our ride to the 12 Apostles near Newbridge.
After negotiating the Buccleuch Street Road bridge by foot due to the closure of Loreburn Bridge, it was a steady ride via Cuckoo bridge to the crossing on the A76. We were delighted to be joined by an extra four riders at Lincluden, so the group of now 17 continued through Lochside to the Irongray Road which provided a tougher than usual ascent due to a strong headwind. This was however rewarded with an enjoyable freewheel into Newbridge, for the final push up to the stone circle.
A regular sight – taking the Buccleuch Street bridge by foot due to the closure of the pedestrian and cycle bridge.
The freshly cut field provided an enjoyable stop complete with cake AND biscuits. The stones made an excellent assault course for the younger ones who were quick to scramble over each stone, suggesting the purpose of this stone circle could well have been a playground.
The perfect rock to pose on.
As we regrouped for the return ride a red kite was spotted soaring above us, one of the closest sightings to Dumfries. After some deliberation we headed back the same way, as a few riders agreed the shared use path along the A76 can be a broken glass hotspot. The only down side was the enjoyable hill into Newbridge is a testing hill on the way back up. So in true Tour de France spirit when the going got tough we simply ascended on foot.
Several groups peeled off on the way back, so we arrived back at Dock Park with six cyclists. Another summer afternoon well spent. So with only three rides left, if you haven’t had chance to join us yet, please do! We’ll be venturing out into the wild west of Dumfries along the Glen Road next week.
A wintry lane
It seems a bit premature to mention winter when we are still enjoying the autumn colours and mild weather, but this year’s Winter Rides are back by popular demand.
They are longer than our summer rides, anywhere between 20 and 25 miles, so are suitable for people who feel up to the challenge. As with all our rides, we happily go at the speed of the slowest, and if anyone wants to stop and ‘admire the view’ at the top of any hills, they should feel free.
Be prepared for the elements – these are Winter Rides after all – and bring cash for a lunch or coffee stop which is planned it to every route. The rides will go ahead regardless of the weather unless, in the opinion of the ride leader it would be unsafe or no fun.
The rides take place on the third Saturday of the month starting from the St Michael’s Bridge entrance to Dock Park at 10am. The programme is as follows and we are sticking to our tried and tested routes from previous years:
- 21st Nov 2015: Ruthwell Cross – a visit to Ruthwell Church and its Anglo Saxon cross, and back for lunch at the Glencaple cafe – 24 miles
- 16th Jan 2016: Auldgirth – all via cycle paths and quiet rural roads – no A76 required. 21 miles
- 20th Feb 2016: Caerlaverock – the castle and the wetland centre, with a choice of lunch destinations… 22 miles
- 19th Mar 2016: Loch Arthur – a chance to sample some award-winning cheeses and try out their new cafe – 20 mile
There will be no ride during December as many people are enjoying the festivities, but we shall continue through to March, when hopefully there will be lambs gambolling in the fields and daffodils bobbing their heads at us . . .
These jaunts are a reminder of how we can continue to enjoy the area by bike, even in winter, when many think there are no riding days to be had.