Tag Archives: Glasgow

Urban cyclery.

Taking bikes to a Jean Michel Jarre gig might not be the first thing that pops into your mind but with gig tickets and 2 nights hotel booked it seemed like an ideal opportunity to explore some of Glasgow on two wheels.

Carol and I travelled by train to Glasgow Queen Street and then onwards to our hotel in the West End by a very effective protected bike lane which took us through the traffic and over the motorway system safely and efficiently.  Before heading for our hotel we nipped into the Siempre bike cafe on Dumbarton road to while away some time till book in.  We had checked with the hotel that they had storage for bikes and this was in the main corridor under a cctv camera which, by the markings on the wall was a pretty regular occurrence.   With bikes stowed and after a wash and change we headed out for food and the Hydro which was just a short walk away.  Whilst browsing the net for food outlets in the vicinity I came across Fanny Trollopes literally 200yds from the front door of our hotel, Fannys it was. Advertising a two course pre theatre dinner for £15 I would happily have paid double for the food.  It was excellent.  No use describing what we had here as the menu changes on a frequent basis but suffice to say even if you think you know what you are getting it will be different with some twist to the flavour.  The gig at the Hydro was amazing and JMJ in his seventies still has the energy and passion he showed at the Docklands in the 80’s.

After a not too heavy breakfast served efficiently and quickly by the staff in the Sandyford we climbed on our bikes and headed back to the Hydro and the Clyde walkway.  This had been work in progress when I did my LEJoG and although some stretches were still undergoing work had vastly improved in the 3 years since I had last been thru.  We followed the walkway out to Clydebank and Dalmuir where we had a break for a cuppa mainly to warm ourselves up as a slight rain was falling.  We had lunch booked at The Ubiqitous Chip in the Centre so after tea we headed back to the centre but along the F. C Canal.

WE followed the canal back towards the centre, through the Botanic Gardens and into Ashton Lane and the Ubiqitous Chip.  Unlike Fannys this was booked on purpose and features in Peter Irvine’s Scotland the Best.  Soup and an open sandwich was the order of the day here and the results are shown below.  Another gem of a place!

After lunch we headed back to The Sandyford.

We had return tickets for the train but decided to bike down the Canal to Lenzie or Croy and catch the train from there.  So we headed back to the Canal via the River Kelvin and the Botanic Gardens and headed NE first then due East along a well tarmaced canalside path.   We stopped at a canalside pub for a cuppa and sheltered under an umbrella from the rain. Then continued on towards Lenzie.  We left the canal at Kirkintilloch and picked up a cycle path near the marina from there it was simply a case of following signs to the station.  On the way there we cycled across a nature reserve and through a wood both of which even in the rain were very pleasant.

We now begun a tour of Central Scotland’s lesser known rail stations from Lenzie to Larbert where we changed to get our train to Edinburgh and were told in no uncertain terms by a surly rail guard to move our bikes two carriages down as the bike storage was full.  We would have done this anyway. But a smile doesn’t hurt does it!!

Totals for the weekend were 30 miles 530 feet climbed in 3h 27.  Not great distances but the whole point of the trip apart from JMJ obviously was to do some biking in Glasgow. 

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Book review:Flesh wounds

Written by Chris Brookmyre.  It had been a while since I had picked up a Brookmyre and I had forgotten how  intricate the plots can be and how interwoven the characters and their interactions are.

A story of the Glasgow underworld involving a years old crime an ex marine and a private eye this is a real page turner and keeps you on the edge of your seat even when you begin to guess at the connections. One to read.

Islay Marathon week and road trip.

Caledonia blared out from my IPhone 04:30 on Friday where had the week gone?

I had made sure of an easy week with the only  runs an interval set a cooper test and my Jog Scotland session and the only biking I had done had been to deliver Mums on the run flyers to local nurseries.  Weds I had spent with Carol and we had finally managed to get around most of the tapestry in Kirkcaldy museum before closing time.

Back to 04:30!  After a wash and breakfast I gathered everything together and set off with my heavily laden Giant for Kirkcaldy station and the first of three trains in my journey to Ardrossan Harbour for the first ferry.  The 05:53 was on time and I arrived in Edinburgh with 15 mins to spare before the train for Glasgow Queen Street alighting at GQS I made my way to Glasgow Central for the Ardrossan Harbour train. 

 So far so good my timetable had been fine and all the trains had been on time too.  Now to get tickets and board the ferry.  The ferry was very busy with at least 30 cyclists waiting to board behind the cars.  Most of the cyclists were doing the 5 Ferries cycle route a very popular 1 day ride with Scottish club cyclists and one which I had done twice.  However today I got off the ferry after a very pleasent crossing and turned right heading north for a lumpy 14 miles to the hamlet and ferryport of Lochranza.  On the 5 ferries and indeed on my trip this is where things can go terribly wrong if you miss a ferry or if the ferry does not run.  However I got to Lochranza with enough time to relax in the sun with a smoked venison sanwich from the sandwich shack.  The Lochranza to Cloanaig ferry docked and this time cyclists were on first about 8 of us this time.  Once docked I headed across the peninsula to Kennacraig and my third and final ferry first I had to cycle 5 miles a nice easy pace with over an hour to cover the distance.  There isn’t much to see on this stretch of road so I did not hang around thinking it would be better to wait in the sunshine at the ferryport rather than on the bike!  This trip was over 2 hours to Port Ellen a significant portion of which I spent on the deck in the sunshine.  Scotland is an amazing country and I was seeing some of the best sights it had to offer.   

  

 The ferry arrived at Port Ellen we all disembarked and I headed off on :”the high road” to Port Charlotte YH my home for the next 3 nights.  This was the longest cycle of the day about 19 miles and with the sun starting to go down the sky was an amazing colour.  The route I was following was almost the whole of the marathon route so that let me know the kind of run I was in for!

I arrived at the YH at almost 8pm 14 hours, 3 train rides, 3 ferries and 3 bike sections after I left Kirkcaldy. Sunday’s marathon doesn’t seem like a bad proposition after that!! 

   

The hostel was an old distillery building and it had been converted by the SYHA into an amazing hostel.  It had everything one needs, comfy bunks, hot showers and large teapots.  When I booked in I was told that there was another 3 cyclists there from Fife and lo and behold there were 3 members of the Fife and Kinross CTC on Islay for a wee cycle break.  After spending some time with them I headed for bed and a good nights sleep.  Luckily my room mates were also early bedders so a good nights rest was had.  I took advantage of the breakfast on offer at the hostel and then headed out to registration in Bowmore.   

   
 After registration I had time for a cuppa and a scone and a walk round Bowmore.  At 5:30 there was a pasta party in the High school unfortunately it was not very well attended but the food was excellent and I ate more than my fill so much so that when a lift was offered I took it!

The race report is covered in A-Z of marathons.

On the return trip I was able to have a bit of a long lie as I did not have to start cycling until 07:15 on Monday to cover the miles to Port Ellen and get aboard the first ferry.  Much duller and cooler than Friday the rain, which had been forecast to hit at 09:30 had obv not seen the forecast and the heavens opened at 8.  By the time I reached Port Ellen I was soaked through and cold and stiff.   On the ferry from Port Ellen there were another 3 cyclists headed to Kennacraig with 2 travelling onwards to Ardrossan.   I arrived at Claonaig just as the ferry was raising its ramp luckily it was the ferry earlier than I had planned to get so I spent an hour relaxing in the sun with my book till the rain returned and forced me to take shelter!  The ferry returned right on time but had difficulty unloading a bus and in the end the passengers had to get out so the bus could get away from the water lapping at its wheels and power up the landing ramp. 

 This all meant that the ferry left 30 mins late!  There was however contingency in my travel plans so although I did had to get a move on to Brodick I made the ferry ok and connected with an earlier train this continued all the way home and I made it back to Kirkcaldy about 50 mins earlier than I had planned.  Time for a bath and bed!!

 

 

Ideals homes, GSoA, Riverside museum and the Clockwork Orange

A weekend away to Glasgow with Carol.  Main purpose was to go to the Scottish Ideal Homes exhibition which we did on the Saturday, straight off the train at the SECC.  I wasn’t looking to buy anything  just for ideas and the names of some companies or products.  It was good with loads of exhibitors and a lot of individual designer works especially in wood.  After spending most of the day at the show we headed for our hotel by foot and had a scenic walk up to the west end of Sauchiehall Street, after booking in we headed to Kelvingrove park for a walk in the sun.  Carol wasn’t familiar with the university so we spent some time looking at the buildings and wandering around the quadrangle.

After a wash and change we headed up Sauchiehall Street for some people watching and food, both of which is available in abundance.  While walking up the street we came across the remains of the GSA the smell of burning was still in the air and the road cordoned off with one of Glasgow’s finest barring entry!  We found an Indian restaurant and headed in for food.  We had a good meal ordering two different dishes and sharing them.  After food we headed back to the hotel as the rain started to fall.

The deal with the hotel had included breakfast so we were up early to take advantage of it and make sure that we had our fill so that we would not have to use time during the day to eat.  We set off for Kelvinhall station on the “Clockwork Orange” Glasgows underground.  We spent 30 mins on the Subway and got off at Partick and headed for the Riverside Museum which houses the Museum of Transport and won Museum of the year in 2013.  The building is a stunning design and is located right on the River, clue is in the name!  The contents of the museum and the layout are absolutely amazing, I wont go into detail but suffice to say it is well worth a visit if you are in the city.

After spending a little too much time we had to run to get our train back to Kirkcaldy via Edinburgh and the end of a very enjoyable weekend!