The Glenariff debacle

March 2002
25 km

I did not have a camera back then, I am afraid. So no pictures from that tour. But click on the button below to open up Google Maps.
Enter "Larne" in the search field & Google Earth for xtra pictures

I moved to Belfast in July 2001 and I brought with me my bike. I was looking forward to some bikerides in Northern Ireland. I did one ride that autumn, but a bad leg killed all my plans that autumn. I started in 2002 again with this tour. I thought March was OK for cycling, but I was wrong.
My original plan was a 70 km tour up to Glenariff and over to Brougshane with return over the B94 and Ballyclare back to Belfast again. A hard route, it later turned out. I did the Brougshane to Belfast bit some months later on the Antrim Coast ride (see own ride). But I did not know that back then as my maps was really bad. No Google Earth back then.
I started the morning with the one hour long train journey from Belfast to Larne. A first for me and I really enjoyed this train journey out the Belfast Lough and up the coast to Larne where I disembarked from the train at Larne Town. The train continued to the ferry port though. I soon found out that the weather was bitterly cold here on the east coast. I started on my bikeride up the coast road. It is a brilliant ride, but it was bitterly cold and I was wearing heavy clothes. My legs soon became very stiff and uncooperative. The road took me through a small tunnel and up to the small, pretty village called Ballygalley. The road was flat, but my legs in a really bad shape. So was my fingers and all uncovered skin. My obesity and lack of training did not help me at all. Nothing was working.
I was relieved when I arrived at Glenarm. A very pretty village on the seafront. I turned off the coastal road here and took the B97 up the valley. This is a reasonable steep hillclimb over several kilometers. With stiff legs and burst lungs, I walked it. It is a very nice climb though and it is one of my regrets that I have not done this climb in a better weather. I arrived at the top of the climb and a small moor with some stunning scenery. A small descent followed down to a glen called Glenariff. It was during this descent I got a slow puncture. At the bottom of the descent and after reaching the mainroad A 42, I tried to change tube. My fingers was gone and everything was miserable. After troubling around for half an hour, I gave up and went down to a pub at a crossroad. The pub and crossroad is called The Shedding and is still there. I called for a taxi. I got it and it took me down through Broughshane to Ballymena, a major town. A two hours long wait followed at the bus station for a bus to Belfast. I got the bus and were back in Belfast, very humbled by this fiasco.


What can I say ? It was a fiasco and entirely my own fault. This was not an early spring tour. I got what I deserved really. It also turned out that the tube was gone, but the wheel easy to repair by myself. But if I had completed the tour, I may have got a heart attack or something because the road between Broughshane and Belfast is nothing but hilly. Something I learned on the Antrim Coast ride some months later. But this is an excellent tour in good warm weather. That is all I can say, really.
This is one of those tours that got away.