The Largs to Alexandria ride
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 "Largs" in the search field & Google Earth for xtra pictures
I got to know a couple of guys in my new job I started in some months before and they all raved about Largs. I had only visited the place some months before and liked the place. I was therefore very interested in combining a new visit to Largs with a bikeride home again from Largs. A plan and a route was deviced with the help of my maps.
I started the day with the long train ride from Alexandria via Glasgow to Largs. A two hours long train journey with the change in Glasgow. A very nice train journey it has to be said though. The final 30 minutes to Largs is excellent. I finally disembarked in Largs though and had a look at this town again. The ferry traffic over to Cumbrae was interesting to watch. But I soon turned my nose and bike towards the hill over to Kilbirnie.
The 3 km long climb on the A760 from Largs up the hill and through the forest is vertical and the road very narrow. The terrain is a bit scenic on the top with the views over Largs, Cumbrae and Arran. But the ride was dead boring and the weather a lot colder than anticipated. I reached the top after a very dull, cold climb. The descent down to the two water reservoirs was flat and not difficult. The road alongside these two lochs a bit undulating. The descent down to Kilbirnie was a bit hairy. I had changed to a smaller tyre the day before this ride and I discovered during the descent that the bike was unbalanced and not particular safe too. I reached Kilbirnie after this pretty hairy descent. There was nothing I could do, I soon found out. There was and still is a dead flat cycle track from Kilbirnie to Lochwinnoch and Paisley. For some reasons I do not understand, I chose to continue on the road. A pretty undulating road it is too. Just to compound my misery, I was freezing like hell now, I got a puncture just before reaching Lochwinnoch. It took me some time to change the tube and get going again with stiff fingers and not that great spirit. I was soon in Lochwinnoch . I asked for directions to the cycle road in a shop and got it. This cycle road is on a disused railway line and I have used it a lot during the time I have lived in this area. But back then, this was a new experience to me. The alternative, my original plan, was to take the steep road up to Beith again and the hilly road to Johnstone again. I did that in 1998 and it was a pretty bad experience. The cycle path I did this time though was dead flat and far easier than the road. I was in Johnstone in no time.
For some reasons and probably down to the lack of proper markings, I chose the road over Elderslie down to Paisley. I now knew how to get to the A 726 taking me past Glasgow Airport to the Erskine Bridge. The hills over Inchinnan was a bit of a pest again. The weather a bit warmer now and I was in better spirit. I crossed the Erskine Bridge well ahead of schedule. I rode past Dumbarton and up to my flat again in Alexandria after a cold but not too hard day in the saddle.
Not the most interesting ride in the area and not a ride I would repeat. The climb up from Largs towards Kilbirnie is not particular interesting. I have made it a point to avoid this road altogether now due to the bad road surface too. The ride from Kilbirnie to Alexandria is OK though. But I would not recommend this bikeride.