The schools may be back today, and August winding to a close but we still have one more summer ride on the calendar (and the forecast is looking hopeful too!). This absolutely is your last chance to join us for our 2019 summer rides so come on down to Dock Park at 2pm on Saturday for our final ride out to Mabie Forest – all via off-road paths and one quiet rural road.
We’ll not run a ride on the last weekend in August but that doesn’t mean the fun is over – on Saturday 31st August Buddies will be holding another one of their all-ability open days in Dock Park. These events are always great fun and have also proved a good way of spreading the word about what sort of pedal-powered options are available for people who struggle with a standard two-wheeler for whatever reason (only last week we passed an older gent on a trike who had thought his cycling days were over before he had a go at one of these days – and now he’s got his own trike and is out and about all over the town on it).
And of course, there’s the news you’ve been waiting for – our Bike Breakfast! This year we’ll be holding it on Thursday 19th September (note NOT a Friday) and the Frothy Bike Co on the Whitesands are kindly lending us their carpark for the occasion (besides Domino’s). But don’t come in a car! Come on a bike (or trike), and get a free breakfast. We can’t think of a better way to start the day.
After pretty much a washout last week – and some fairly wet weather in the run up to the weekend – we were relieved when this Saturday proved dry, and tempted out a handful of people to tackle the climb up the Glen Road.
Our numbers were swelled by two visitors who live in Italy so it was a chance to see how the scenery of Dumfries and Galloway compares with the Mediterranean coast – surprisingly favourably, as it happens!
We made good progress along the Maxwelltown Path and past the hospital, despite a bit of a headwind – and it was quite a stiff breeze too. But the Glen Road, which used to be the A75 before the dual carriageway was built, proved a bit more sheltered so it was only the gradient we had to contend with.
We made it as far as the second bench before the need to ‘admire the view’ – and check out the brownies and vegan treats we’d brought along – proved strong enough for the group to stop. With fresh legs, we then went all the way to the end of the road – the first time we’ve managed it during our summer rides.
Then it was just a question of freewheeling back down the hill with a nice tailwind to help us along the way!
Next Saturday is our final summer ride – out to Mabie Forest on the cycle track and along one mostly quiet rural road. To join us, just be at the car park at Dock Park for a 2pm start – ready for a steady paced 11 miles round trip. We hope to see you there!
The weather may have turned a little autumnal – and the start of the new school year may be looming – but never fear, summer isn’t over yet as long as we’ve still got summer rides to look forward to!
This Saturday we’ll be heading up the Glen Road – a chance to ride on what used to be the A75 before they built the dual carriageway, and also to stretch your climbing legs a little (as well as enjoy a wonderful freewheel down again!) It’s also a good warmup for our ride out to Mabie the weekend after – which really will then be the end of the summer, so make sure you join us. (We’ll draw a veil over the fact that nobody fancied braving the monsoon weather last week …)
And, even as August draws to a close, September is filled with lots of good things. Stand by for an announcement of the details of this year’s Bike Breakfast (in an exciting new location) but meanwhile here are a couple of dates for your diary. On September 1st the Big Climate Conversation is coming to Dumfries – a chance for you to tell the Scottish Government how you think it should respond given its recent declaration of a climate emergency. With emissions from transport remaining stubbornly high, we think bikes must be part of the answer – but what do you think? Then on Tuesday 10th September the Robert Burns Centre will be showing the wonderful Afghan Cycles documentary, about a group of women who are pedalling their own revolution in a country where women cyclists (and women generally) face far worst harassment than the odd ‘lucky saddle’ remark. This will be followed by a discussion (and possibly preceded by a bike ride). Book now, to avoid disappointment.
Finally, while we’re on the subject of women and revolution – Edinburgh will be hosting a Fancy Women Bike Ride – one of a worldwide series of rides on Car Free Day (Sunday September 22nd). A few of us will be heading up from Dumfries in our finery so why don’t you join us? You can sign up here (on Facebook) or just show up at Holyrood Park at 4pm for a mostly traffic-free ride.
This Saturday we’ll be venturing out beyond the outskirts of Dumfries to explore our very own stone circle, the Twelve Apostles.
As well as a chance to see another of Dumfries’s hidden historical sights, this ride sees us starting to explore a little further afield, into the quiet back roads that make Dumfries and Galloway such a wonderful place to cycle around. At 7 miles, it’s still accessible to pretty much all riders, and shows you don’t have to go far to escape the town and enjoy our beautiful countryside.
Last year we took a slightly different route back and returned via the Hardthorn Road – another quiet back route into the countryside which may be an option again if people are up for it.
Either way, meet at Dock Park for a 2pm start – no need to book, and all you need is a bike!
After last week’s wet weather, it was a relief to have a gloriously sunny afternoon for this week’s ride to Heathhall – the only problem was getting everyone out of the nice shady patch under the tree in the park and out on the road!
Once on our bikes, it was nice to have the cooling breeze as we cycled along the Whitesands, over the river and then onto the Maxwelltown Path and back over on the viaduct (it might seem perverse to cross the river twice in order to get onto the Caledonian Cyclepath but it’s much more relaxed than attempting to navigate a group through town).
Once on the Caledonian it was plain sailing along the cycle path and then into the welcome shade of the forest. The pump track is the main attraction on this route and everyone had a go once we arrived – whether their bike was designed for off-roading or not! We even got a little coaching on making the best use of the track.
After one, two, or – in some cases – six circuits of the track, we headed deeper into the forest to explore further. It’s a beautiful, peaceful spot and we largely had it to ourselves.
Then it was time to head back again after a wonderful ride (and chat). Thanks to all who came! Next up is the 12 Apostles for a little bit of prehistory on Dumfries’s doorstep.
Where does the summer go? It’s August tomorrow and we’re already half way through our summer ride programmes – but the best is yet to come.
The Heathhall Forest route is a firm favourite among participants on our summer rides, mainly because of the chance to play on the off-road track – we normally see folk do a few circuits, no matter what bike they ride!
If you want to put your bike through its paces, or just enjoy a gentle 6-mile ride out along the Caledonian Cycleway into the forest, then please join us at Dock Park at 2pm on Saturday 3rd August. No need to book, just turn up on the day with your bike.
The new month also means it’s time for our August meeting on Tuesday – please do join us at 6pm at the Coach and Horses for an hour or so of planning, various issues, and generally putting the world to rights.
We’ll be honest, we weren’t expecting a massive turnout for this afternoon’s ride – not only had the forecast been verging on apocalyptic, but although the morning wasn’t as wet as the gloomiest predictions, by lunchtime it had pretty much set in.
So, six was a respectable number to turn out for a gentle run out along the Maxwelltown Path in the steady, if mostly quite warm, rain. We were largely an experienced group, so it was just a question of enjoying the company (and, for those who aren’t fans of the higher temperatures, the weather) as we made our way along the Whitesands and onto the Maxwelltown path.
It was still raining as we reached the end, so we kept going to the new hospital where the new bike parking also offers ample shelter from the rain and enjoyed some cake and more chat there.
With no kids to worry about, we took the official route back along the Dalbeattie Road and Park Road half-a-path. Even so, crossing the Dalbeattie Road onto the path, and then getting back across Park Road when the path ended, did demonstrate how badly this route needs to be upgraded.
All-in-all a pleasant outing that the weather couldn’t spoil – thanks to everyone who came! The next ride will be out to Heathhall and the skills track in the forest – hopefully on a dryer day!