Today’s plan was to head out early on the bikes then back for a bit of gardening. It all fell apart at the first hurdle; it’s been a very busy week so although we both woke early, the actual rising time was 8.30am. So that’s the early start out the window. 

That put paid to a couple of the planned routes which involved reasonably busy roads where earlier is better and safer. We settled on Largs as today’s destination. It’s about 20 miles away over the beautiful and desolate moors of Muirshiel (once you tackle the Greenock hills!). My legs were tired, but the wind and views sustained me and we made it down to Largs in about 1 hour 45 minutes. Bean and Leaf for coffee and a roll with square slice and a new plan formed. JT has never cycled round Great Cumbrae. So off to the ferry, which was heaving!

I always think it feels like it’s a million miles away just because you’ve had that 10 minute boat journey. Most bizarre moment was the fellow cyclist who approached me as we waited to disembark. “Can I just grope your sleeve?” she asked. We bonded over the loveliness of my Castelli jacket, which is indeed a thing of beauty and perfect for today’s temperatures. 

It’s relatively flat and only 10 miles round, so an easy cycle other than dodging the hordes of walkers and inexperienced cyclists who are weaving over all sides of the road. Great to see so many people enjoying it. Vague muttering about a second loop in the opposite direction (the direction I have travelled on every previous trip) but we decided to save our energy for the ride home. There is always the option of a train, but that would feel like cheating. 

Back on the mainland we sat in the sun with lunch and then, in a fit of enthusiasm decided to go the long way home… Fairlie Moor. Fairly tough. No scratch that. Extremely tough! Strava tells me 250m of climbing in 3.4km. It’s shorter but steeper than the road we came down. And today even tougher as it was as busy as Sauchiehall Street! I stopped a couple of times at passing places to let cars pass, one of which made it tough to get going again. That’s my excuse for my rubbish strava time!

Onwards to Kilbirnie and the cycle track to our favourite cake stop in Lochwinnoch. Then cycle track to Kilbarchan, road to Bridge of Weir and cycle track home. We finished at just over 100km; my longest ride in a few years. Probably in more than 5 years… it’s fair to say we are both a bit burst and there will be no gardening today. 

So much for the plan 🙃