Sunday 8th April
This morning started with a mass reshuffle of mine and Danny’s bags so that we could more economically split all of the stuff Danny had brought for me (tent, sleeping bags, stove etc.). This ended up taking longer than expected and meant we got on the road a little later than I’d planned. I will say that after over 40 days of perfecting my single person system having another person to interfere with this was a challenge!
I need to say another big thank you to ICE Trikes who sent me a replacement flag to the place we were staying – I’ve now fitted it and it is certainly much better than the high vis vest the guys at the pub cobbled together for me!
We took to the roads and had a gradual climb out of a beautiful wooded area before taking a left turn toward the cliff tops. The sun was shining down on us and made this stretch such a pleasure, one made all the better by having Danny accompanying me.
We cycled along a stretch of road known as the Electric Brea – a strange section of road which appears to be going uphill but in fact it is an optical illusion and it was a -3% gradient! I had been told about this section previously but still had to keep checking my Garmin to believe what was going on – luckily for us we were headed in the downhill direction and were benefactors in this illusion.
We had arranged to meet a fellow trike rider Richard, and his two friends John and Eric, at a cafe in Irvine at 10:30 but because of the smooth coast road we arrived at 10:05 just after it had opened. Richard was already there and was prepping his trike for the day’s ride, and John and Eric arrived after we had finished a lovely breakfast.
The five of us set off into much drearier weather and were making good progress until the heavens finally opened and we were forced to take shelter in a local restaurant – a good excuse for lunch if you ask me! Richard and the others were so kind and insisted on paying for both breakfast and lunch, something I really didn’t expect as having their company was so nice on its own. So if you’re reading this then thank you again 😀.
Once the rain had stopped we headed out to get on our way, only to be greeted by a flat tyre for (who else) me! The culprit was a large shard of glass but it was quickly dealt with by my willing pit crew for the day. Finally underway we kept to the coastal route on a mix of road and cycle paths and progressed northwards towards Largs where we would say goodbye to Richard, John and Eric. We stopped by some large anchors near a marina for a group photo, but the bikes turned out to be better subjects than us lot!
After the guys left Danny and I had an early dinner and drinks in a local pub and were delighted when we stepped outside to glorious sunshine. Excited at the prospect of 15 flat and sunny miles to the ferry crossing we set off to finish the day’s riding. We came unstuck about a mile down the road though when we came across a closure and had to take the (very) steep diversion up over the hills – not exactly what I needed on a full stomach!
We pressed on after the climb and took a smaller road back down to the coast where the main road looked scarily quiet…as it turned out we were still within the closure and had the whole stretch to ourselves! When we got to the workers turning around cars at the other end rather than being told off he simply chuckled and said “very clever” in reference to our bespoke detour.
It’s days like today that remind me why I love cycling and the stunning places it takes you. The road was smooth, the sun was beating down, and the water was sparkling – it had an Italian lake vibe about it but without the hoards of traffic usually associated with that area.
Danny and I arrived at the ferry terminal just as one was docking so it was perfect timing. We rode on to the ferry ahead of the cars and relaxed whilst it crossed the loch from Gourock to Hunters Quay, our destination for the day.
We were staying in a newly opened BnB and as it turned out we were the first ever guests! Szandra and Sam were great hosts and even took us up onto the roof for an amazing twilight view of the bay – a beautiful end to a great day in Scotland.