A great year ahead – and it’s only just begun

Walkers Cycling Club took full advantage of an extra mild New Year weekend – despite warnings of horrendous weather.

The forecasters said the UK would be pummelled by gale force winds and torrential rain caused by “life-threatening” Storm Dylan.  Violent tidal waves and snowstorms were on the way, the newspapers reported.

But the reality couldn’t have been further from the truth as temperatures remained unseasonably high and the sun even shone, occasionally, to allow cyclists to get out and celebrate the year end.

Walkers CC had group rides on Saturday (December 30) and Monday (January 1) and a midweek trip to Glentrool for a mountain bike session in the Galloway Forest.

A dozen members responded to the rallying call on Facebook to meet in Kilmaurs on Ne-erday.

They set off to cycle the back roads to Galston but were soon halted by a puncture at Dean Park, Kilmarnock. Much leg-pulling followed when it was realised that the flat tyre was attached to one rider’s brand new £1500 carbon wheel Christmas present.

Back on the road the group pressed on to Galston, climbing the high hill at the back of the village and circling round to the main road on the network of narrow, bumpy farm lanes. The return route brought them back to Kilmarnock via Bellfield, to complete a trip of 22 miles.

Club riders also had unexpectedly good weather for Saturday’s bike rides. The long-established Saturday social ride left Kilmaurs in search of a café on familiar back roads while the trekkers group tackled riverside paths between Kilmarnock and Irvine.

Last Thursday’s Glentrool trip presented a half-dozen Walkers riders with an altogether more challenging adventure.

Trickiest part was getting from Ayrshire down to Glentrool on the Straiton road. Four of the group chose this option, favouring an early start and a hard driving slog on the snow and ice-covered roads.

Two of the riders had planned ahead and stayed the night before in their motorhome.

Temperature at the start was minus 2 but the sun was out and parts of the forest shone in the light through the trees. Glentrool’s Big Country trails were hard-packed and even the muddy logging sections of track were frozen. Three punctures slowed the pace, one near the start of the first big hill and two on the descent to Glentrool. Sandwich lunches were well-earned on a hard pedalling ride in the bitter cold.

One talking point was the sound of a lorry approaching the riders from behind. It was a logging lorry thundering down the road at the back of them – with the driver blissfully unaware about what was round the next corner. Thankfully the group managed to get out the way in the nick of time. It also wakened them up fully for the long drive back home!

Club rides are usually limited in number and attendance at this time of year because of the weather. However, recent cool temperatures and a renewed commitment to club outings have given Walkers CC a promising start to 2018.