Sunday, 31 May 2009

Glasgow.A kaleidoscopic cycle tour.

Alex was feeling ill when I phoned.Despite our blog name he doesnt like it when its too warm ( not far off 80 degrees on sunday) so a sudden attack of man flu was called for."You`ll have to go it alone" He croaked."I`m counting on you.Feeling a bit rough."
Where to go? No challenge in finding the sun this weekend it was golden and roasting uk wide a la chicken on a spit.The challenge was simply to enjoy the day.It looked like I was soon going to be grafting hard at work in sweaty conditions so I wanted an easy day out.
The answer? An old favourite of mine that never fails to lift my spirits.Cycling around half of Glasgow and Paisley from my house on the western outskirts of the city.Its got everything. A true Kaleidoscope.
Although this is an urban ride it is surprisingly green and pleasant with large sections linking up meadows and parks.
So took the mountain bike and followed the Loch Lomond cyclepath from my house down past Glasgow Harbour (nice flat biking along the waterfront)
This is just the usual glass and steel towers common on UK wide new build waterfronts. Ok, but I just wish They had a bit more verve, boldness and individual style like a lot of continental projects I`ve seen.
So, continued into Glasgow centre intending to take the wee riverbus which runs to Braehead only to find its now on Loch Katrine plying its trade and the river is now an empty desert again.Gutted! It was a real tourist attraction for the city and brightened up many a journey for me on its decks.R.I.P. Thanks Glasgow district.Tourism is safe in your hands.
Back to Bell`s bridge then and detoured to take this pic of the Angel building with the aforesaid winged one looking pretty hot high above Paisley Road Toll.
After that it was a short distance to Festival Park which is cycle friendly and has a man made stream system you can follow leading you out to Ibrox. Smashing wee park ,shame about the usual heatwave rubbish though that people leave in their wake.BB Qs, takeaways,cans of drink.If they carried it in etc.
Next up, after a merry canter through the picture postcard scenery of back street Ibrox.....
it was into the cool shade of Bellahouston park.
My usual steady uphill push past the much enlarged dry ski runs (3 now) of the Glasgow ski centre brought me to my favorite seat atop the hill for a lunch stop and a great view west towards the Barrhead braes and the southern arc of Glasgow.
Although still in the middle of the city all you can see in this direction is trees, green rolling hills and more trees.My next destination,the vast and leafy Pollok country park lay ahead.
As I sat gumming down on my spicy chcken slice a fat old man was happy.After 15 minutes of sitting down,sweat tricking freely,I knew the bike was the right choice for really hot weather like this as a constant breeze dawdling along kept things pleasant and cool.Alex.Take note!
Had another wee detour just to take a picture before entering the north gate of Pollok park as there is a smashing short link section above the south side of the M8
with good views
Altough this is just off route from what I consider the best classic circlular route
the beauty of this tour is that most parts of it have many different options so its never the same route twice once you know your way around.
Cycled happily through the dappled woods of Pollok Park until I came to Pollok House.Done well here and managed to get this people free pic of the grand house without getting a kicking as maw, paw and scantily clad females of all ages wandered around.I was very careful where I pointed my camera.I only wanted this one iconic shot.
Next up skirted Pollok on quiet roads (Crookston Castle is worth a visit,can go to the top usually.Chain your bike!) then followed the slow meanderings of the White Cart water through the green meadows and inward pointing spiked railings of Leverndale hospital grounds with its dark tower a reminder of its past.Had a few mad relatives incarcerated in here when I was growing up but its quiet and serene mostly nowadays.
This is a lovely stretch of track leading into Paisley with gentle ups and downs along the river.You can continue through this town and out past Bridge of Weir to Greenock on the cycletrack but I cut off it down to Barshaw park as I was going through Renfrew and the ferry which would take me back near my home.
All in all this is a great little day out with endless variety.Braehead waterfront promanade, X scape and the newly constructed ferry village park next to it are all worth a look see on the bike as well.You could do this from anywhere near this route or park and bike from Braehead or Pollok park. Allow 3 to five hours depending on your speed and, or curiosity.
As I said in the title. Kaledoscopic man! Ma eyes are knackered! (No sunglasses as yet). Alex, you missed yerself boy!


Alistair said...

Dunno how you do it Cap'n but you make Glasgow look worth a visit! Keep up the excellent writing :)

blueskyscotland said...

I think I`m multi storeyed out after they pics..!
In retrospect,I think I`m glad I was ill :)

Brian and Martina said...

And where's ma beloved West End? Tae posh fer ye?
By the way: Brian's hair is grey from me asking "Are we in Canada yet" every day!

Anonymous said...

alistair.As you lived not far from both pollok and bellahouston parks you must know how nice they are or were you scared of trees back then? not many of them where you are now though.
to B and M.Hope your having fun in that fiery furnace over there.I,ve been to the west end festival 3 years in a row but did,nt fancy cycling down byres road even on a sunday as I was attempting to show how green glasgow can be on a bike ride.Talking about green issues its really,really hard now to go a walk without seeing a windfarm.Dont think we,ve managed it since the blog started.