North over the Crow and south over the Tak

A very good 50 mile ride yesterday with Douglas Beattie. We took the Drymen road to Carbeth, down the Cuilt Brae, and over to Lennoxtown to go over the Crow Road to Fintry. Then the horrible surface of the Carron Valley Road to Carron Bridge, up the Tak (through a flood at the bottom) and down to the Boathouse in Kilsyth for well deserved scones and cream tea! A gentle ride from there to Twechar and thence via Torrance to Bearsden completing our 50 miles. Along the way we met some interesting people – Paul at Carbeth walking with his lovely, friendly bull mastiff Zenden, and also his hawk Ruby who was eventually seen on top of a telegraph pole waiting for us to leave so that she could return to Paul’s glove. Lots of chat about dogs and how to drink whisky! Then, at the top of the Crow, we met Alec, 88 years young, who had run quite a few marathons (he says New York is the best, by the way, with great goodie bags!) and lots of other running. His athletic life showed in his healthy and fit demeanour! The only surprise of the day was not meeting Alex, Natalie or Andy of West Coast Velo at the Tak ma Doon car park! Altogether a great day out on bikes!
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Tak ma Doon climb from Carron Bridge to viewpoint

This is the easier side of the Tak, but there are some very steep little ramps, limited to 10-11%, which is a critical 2% or so less than the north side, where the steeper parts are also longer. On this side, however, there is plenty of less steep road where a rest can be taken, back in the saddle. I have been up a few times on my geared bike, and also single speed but only on 46/18, 69″ gear. i think that is a sensible maximum for me! There is a ford about half way (surprisingly there is a loch, not at the bottom but also half way up) and at the top the views from the car park viewpoint are all the way over to Grangemouth, the Forth Bridge and the new crossing. Very much worth the climb!!

Crow Road climb, south side from Lennoxtown

This is the side of the climb I have probably done most often, and also quite a few times just up to the car park, about 1/2 way. It’s about 2.5 miles for the full climb. The car park is pretty much the finish of the Glasgow Green Cycle Club hill climb course; going for the full climb, for me, requires holding back a little to the car park as the steepest parts of the second half of the full climb are just after the car park, and after a short relief, again just after that. It flattens nearer the top (the whole hill is pretty much convex like an upturned pudding bowl) and I can spin up a 69″ gear quite nicely. Eminently do-able on my 46/18 fixed and single speed (69″), and also 46/17 73″). I chose 54″ for the last hill climb event (which turned out to be too low, I think) and did it in 8:38 (approximately to the car park) and with 69″ my best is just on 10 minutes. i would think a 62″ or 66″ gear might be best for me. The full climb is a little over 20 minutes for me. The thing that makes this climb a little easier, given its maximum steepness, is that there are flatter sections here and there where I can get back in the saddle for a bit!

Crow Road climb, north side from Fintry

Another climb I do frequently on my 46/18 single speed, a little longer than the south side of the Crow Road, and no car park half way up if a rest is needed! It’s about 3.5 miles, and I have also done it on 46/17, a 73″ gear. That demonstrated it is a little harder at its steepest points than the north side from Lennoxtown

Glen Fruin March 1st 2016!

There are some interesting climbs around and near Glasgow. The Crow Road between Lennoxtown and Fintry (both directions), the Tak Ma Doon between Kilsyth and Carron Bridge, and a new one to me, Glen Fruin Road (the narrow one) from Faslane to Glen Fruin itself. Here it is! Those red parts are between 10% and 13%, only just about feasible on my 46/18 69″ single speed gear. I was standing on the pedals for the complete climb, about a mile.