Members of Walkers Cycling Club met recently to put together a programme of events for the coming year. Here, Alan Woodison gives a preview of what we’re up to in the months ahead:
Walkers Cycling Club has a packed programme for 2020 – from regular road rides of around 30 or 40 miles near home to longer away-day outings to more distant places.
The club was formed 15 years ago and has approximately 50 members who tend to meet up
in small groups, each formed through longstanding friendships or simply because the riders happen to live near one another.
Cycling ability may come into the equation too because some riders prefer a slow pace while others relish a fast pace – and the distance again will be another consideration.
Members keep in touch through this website, the club Facebook page and social media channels like Messenger and What’s Ap. If anyone wants to suggest a cycle outwith the usual timetable of organised rides he or she just has to post the idea and wait to see who’s up for it.
Walkers CC is best known for the wide range of cycling opportunities it has to offer. Most clubs generally stick to one or two disciplines. But … we like road cycling as well as mountain biking. Cyclo-cross and gravel riding are also big on our agenda. Short trekking rides on roads, paths and through public parks or woodland areas are popular too with club newcomers. Now and again you will even find us going round in circles – at the Sir Chris Hoy velodrome in Glasgow.
Here’s an example of what has been proposed for this year.
Saturday, April 4: spring classic road rides from Craufurdland near Fenwick. Two distances with soup and sandwich lunch at the Laird’s Table. Ride contact is John Walker.
Saturday, May 4: away day road ride round Arran. Ferry over from Ardrossan and lunch at one of the island’s many food stops. Part subsidised by club. Ride contact is John Frame.
Saturday, June 6: gravel challenge from Whitelee windfarm near Eaglesham. A few route options up for discussison after a session on the hard stuff around the turbines. Ride contact is Brian McCutcheon.
Time for TT
Every year the club runs a summer TT series on half a dozen well-known mini circuits in East Ayrshire and North Ayrshire. Attendances have dwindled in recent times and so the series has been replaced with a one-off event on a less-competitive theme.
The date has been tentatively set for May 20 – a Wednesday – and the course will be the stretch of road between the two roundabouts on the A77 at the Galston roadend. Riders will cycle the seven-mile course twice, making the distance 14 miles in total, and will be paired in a 2-up format to add to the fun and provide some element of handicapping. Prizes will be provided from club funds.
Saturday morning rides are as popular as ever and the group will continue to set off at 10am each week for a road trip from Rendezvous Café, Kilmaurs. These weekend rides will, however, venture further afield this year when the weather is better. The Saturday morning regulars are talking about heading south to the likes of Newton Stewart or Dumfries for a longer time in the saddle (and the sun!) The starting location will vary, with car or train travel beforehand also being considered. Riders will finalise arrangements for these away day runs on What’s App as the weekend approaches.
Wednesday and Thursday evenings
Club founder John Walker is hopeful of re-introducing Wednesday night mountain bike rides and Thursday night 20-mile easy-pace road rides. These are dependent on the turnout for each as the spring and summer season progresses. A downhill “no-pedalling” challenge from the Standing Stones at Eglinton Park has been put forward as a launch night competition for members interested in mountain biking. Or even roadies who want to let their hair down!
Extra Extra …
Club members are also proposing bike ride ideas of their own, and even bike expeditions, with the lighter nights beginning to tempt people out on two wheels.
Dave Kaminski is planning a two-day bike packing adventure on the Capital Trail from Portobello on the east coast in March or April and a source to sea off-roader along the River Ayr Way in April or May.
Many other opportunities to go biking with Walkers Cycling Club will present themselves as 2020 gets into its stride. The above proposals came from an advance planning meeting among club members. Once the weather improves and the bikes are dusted down, the chat in coffee shops all over will soon turn to … “where we going next, what’s the plan, who’s the leader?”