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The Bicycle Island

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  • John Hearns
    I hope everyone had a great day at Herne Hill in the heat. As I m in Glasgow at the moment, I sadly couldn t come. Bit off topic for a Greenwich ride report,
    Message 1 of 1 , May 31, 2003
      I hope everyone had a great day at Herne Hill in the heat.
      As I'm in Glasgow at the moment, I sadly couldn't come.
      Bit off topic for a Greenwich ride report, but I had an interesting day anyway.
      I got up at 6:30 and was at the Boulevard(A82) for 7:30.
      Sadly the Fort William coach didn't stop for me, so I couldn't make it to see
      the world mountain biking championships at the Fort.
      So back home for a second breakfast, and plan B - a visit to Millport.
      This is a classic Glasgow day out - train, then ferry over to the island of
      Cumbrae. Its also most people's yearly contact with a bike - hire a bike and
      ride round the island.
      So at 11:30 I caught the Renfrew ferry, and sped off at 18+mph along the
      road to Paisley to catch the 11:56 train with 1 minute to spare.
      Good space on the train for bikes. Arrive Largs around 1pm for the short ferry ride.
      I then set off on the 4 miles to Millport, and popped in to see Sandy Morton in one
      Sandy told me he has over 150 bikes for hire, including trailers for small children,
      tow along bikes and 40 tandems!
      With two other shops, that's over 1000 hire cycles on the island. Truly a cycle paradise -
      the bikes outnumber the cars no problem.
      He was doing a roaring trade when I was there, with people coming in every five minutes.
      In the back shop, Sandy has a lathe where he maintains old and hard to find components.
      He also works out of a shop at the bottom of his garden, where the house overlooks the
      Firth of Clyde (some people have all the luck!)
      Off then for a pub lunch, only to run into the group of women from the ferry who seemed to
      be on a mission to drink the place dry of Bacardi Breezers...
      Then off for the quick 11 mile circuit of the island - on flat roads! No hassle from cars,
      and loads of family and leisure cyclists in various states of puffing and panting to chat with.
      Pride comes before a fall though, as the 16+ miles an hour I was bowling along at turned out
      to be due to a big tailwind. Turned round at the ferry slipway for a return at a reduced pace.
      A 99 ice cream in Millport fueled me for the last lap round to the ferry.
      Coffee in Nardinis in Largs - yes, its owned by actress Daniella Nardini's family.
      And yes, as a good London cyclists I dragged my heavy D-lock across to an island where
      everyone has a bike, and rows of bikes sit untethered outside shops, pubs and cafes. Duuhh....
      Oh well. Maybe one day we'll get a real cheap deal on a flight to Prestwick and organise
      it as an Easy Ride :-)
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