On a weekend in the west (day 1)

It may or may not already be apparent that I own more than one bicycle, and that I wear things other than a suit to cycle in. This post (and the next) will be by WisoB’s alter ego, the dreaded MAWIL (Middle Aged Woman in Lycra – though I hope I’m not quite old enough to be middle aged…)

So on Good Friday I cycled from just south of Drymen, past Balloch on the southern shores of Loch Lomond, through Glen Fruin, round the Rosneath peninsula and back (thanks to “Rasmus” on the CycleChat forums for the route). It was a very nice day, and the views over Gare Loch, Loch Long, and the Firth of Clyde were very fine. When I got to the A 82 (which is the main road north from Glasgow to the Highlands) I looked for a cycle path which I’d been told existed, but I didn’t spot it, so I just went up the road. The road was quite busy, but it was OK to cycle, if you are used to cycling on busy roads… that stretch at least is quite wide and I only remember one very close pass. As I got near to the roundabout where I was going to turn off I realised that the footpath on the other side of the road was my cycle path, but I didn’t bother crossing the road to get on to it. The next section (the A818) did have a nice smooth wide path on the correct side for going up the hill, but it took me a while to conclude that it was designated shared use… so I used it, and when I got the the roundabout at the top of the hill I discovered that the creators of the path had not thought that cyclists might want to go somewhere other than left at the roundabout. I had to get off the bike and lift it back onto the road.

The minor road through Glen Fruin was lovely. There’s another, parallel road which takes most of the traffic, so the road was very quiet and the glen was lovely. There are a couple of cattle grids that are obviously no longer needed, so they’ve just taken out the gate and put tarmac round them! At the high point there’s a little road that takes you through to the main road and a fast descent to Garelochhead. The next bit of road is shown as a minor road on the map but it is the access road to a military base at Coulport so it was a good road (with some scary notices about MOD property at the start!) There’s another good descent into Coulport if you like that sort of thing… and then a lovely quiet road all the way round the peninsula and back to Garelochhead. The climb back up on the minor road to Glen Fruin was reasonably tough, but the views over the “Arrochar Alps” were very fine. I agreed with the cyclist who I passed admiring the view that it was worth stopping for.

Then I was back on my outward route. This time I did pick up the cycle path by the A82. The first bit was fairly bumpy and narrow, just a pavement that had been designated shared use. However near Balloch it turned into what was obviously a section of the old A82, which was almost traffic-free. And it was shorter! I got coffee and cake in Balloch after cycling round for a bit looking for somewhere that looked suitable, and when I got back to the car I discovered my cycle computer was showing 99.6km, so I did an extra little bit to get the 100km in. I’m a bit of a geek like that…

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