A clydeside social ride

After last Thursday's storms it seemed unlikely that anywhere near a river (like the Balloch to Clydebank cyclepath for example) was going to be rideable without a snorklet. However, if we gave up that easily we'd never ride our bikes at all in Scotland so our Clyde walkway ride was determined to go ahead.

A small group of us met at Hamilton West train station and headed out through Strathclyde park to reach the walkway near the watersport centre. The start of the ride was really beautiful as we followed the river through Barns Haugh nature reserve. Despite a few fallen trees and some missing bits of path, it was still pretty rideable (Anna was doing a sterling job on her touring bike). I felt sorry for the deer skulking in the bushes; the high water levels weren't leaving them anywhere to hide. Good news for the wildlife photographers though, who were out in their droves. Even sadder was all the empty bottles on the path - obviously cast ashore from the Clyde during the storms. I'm feeling inspired to go help out at a river cleanup sometime soon.

A bit further on, the path was (as predicted) nowhere to be seen under the river. We fled to the higher ground through Netherton then back down through a farm track to rejoin the path, out to Garrion bridge then across the road towards Rosebank. I'm constantly amazed by how easy it is to ride right past big signs saying 'Clyde walkway'. We must all be blind!

As we ate our soup, sandwiches and pies at the garden centre, I realised that night time wasn't actually all that far away, we'd only gone about 8 miles (really! in about 1.5hr) and (just maybe) my plan of out to New Lanark and back was a bit overambitious. Still, we pressed on, following the walkway through a million gates and some grassy, muddy climbing, only giving up on the Clyde at the power station - an impressive sight with its massive torrent of water.

It was slippy and difficult enough on my mtb so I think Anna was lucky to only fall off once. From there, it was a lungbusting ascent up the road (the biggest hill in Lanarkshire -I'm scared to drive up it), quick pint in Lanark and train home. Definitely a social ride and loads of fun. I scared all the party-goers and Christmas shoppers with my muddy bike and I hope noone sat in those seats after us!


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