The Paisley Circuit bikeride

July 2011
70 km

A bikeride born through mourning..... I was meant to do a longer bikeride the day before. But the massacre of 100 innocent people back in Norway sent me in a day long state of shock. So no bikeride on a narrow mountain roads that day. I spent the day in the front of the computer and the TV instead in total disbelief. I needed to get over my shock though so I put the alarm clock on for an early start the morning after.

I felt fine when the alarm clock went off and was on my way after a short breakfast and an update on the news. I also made some mental notes of where to go too. The bikeride up to Renfrew and over to Inchinnan were OK. I had originally planned to go over Houston and Carruthmuir to Howwood and back this morning. But I felt fine and decided to go over Bishopton instead and then seek out the backroads over to Kilmacolm. The right knee gave me a lot of pain on the road over to Bishopton from Inchinnan. I put on some spray. It was a sunny, but very cold morning and the pain may have been down to arthritis pains in the knee due to the cold weather. I sprayed my knee with some heatrub and took some painkillers. That worked and I continued past Bishopton over the Old Greenock Road with great views over Bowling and Dumbarton. This road is pretty undulating, but I felt in great shape and the hills were climbed with considerable ease.
I was soon at the Houston Langbank crossroad. I took the road towards Houston in search for one of the smaller backroads over to Kilmacolm. After a bitterly cold ride through a small canyon, I arrived at a couple of small climbs. On one small descent, I found a signposted backroad (named West Glen Road) and gratefully accepted this invitation. The tarmac was even great. This road went into a pretty hard climb and it climbed most of the way up a viewpoint overlooking Kilmacolm.

Looking back down the hill towards Renfrew, Paisley and Glasgow

Looking towards the next big hillclimb at Carruthmuir

The road topped out at 165 meters above sea level (from where I started) and went into a pretty vertical drop on bad tarmac into Kilmacolm. I have always loved this small village. It is one of the many undiscovered jewels in Scotland for most people living here. And the locals would prefer it this way. The whole area is actually a jewel and worthy a lot more attention. But the locals would probably throw stones at me if I did so let's keep this area as a secret very few knows about.
I rode straight through Kilmacolm on my way to Carruthmuir. I arrived at the major crossroad with three options to choose between. I chose the B786 to Carruthmuir. The road was a bit undulating before it arrived at the steep climbs up to Carruthmuir. I was in no hurry so I took it easy here.

Looking back towards Kilmacolm from the first big climb up to Carruthmuir

The road was too vertical for my gear ratios anyway so I was happy to push it through some very good scenery. The road became a bit more civilized at the top of this big climb with a couple of smaller climbs before I arrived at the top of Carruthmuir at 170 meters above sea level. I now chose the road towards Howwood. A nice descent followed. A hare decided to run out in the front of me and I almost had an accident. Stupid f**** !!! It woke me up a bit, but I continued down the hill and over the Lochwinnoch Paisley cycle path on my way past Castle Semple to Howwood. I arrived in Howwood, very relaxed. An idea now started to germinate in my head. Why not do the Paisley Circuit route I had been playing with in my head and on a map for the last weeks ? I still had 3-4 hours left before the German F1 race on BBC. The map was consulted and I decided it was a doable ride. So I cracked up the climb towards Gleniffer Braes. A very steep climb, but I was in no hurry. A couple of hundred meters after the Bowfield Hotel, I took a steep backroad, signed Howwood Trout Fishery, taking me up to Gleniffer Braes. This road took me into a superb area and landscape I have never visited before. The first climb was steep, but the road became a bit agreeable past the Howwood Trout Fishery where I observed many anglers on this sunny day. I took a break up here and admired the scenery.

Looking back towards Howwood (hidden) and the valley below with Carruthmuir in the background

The road now went into a descent to a small river before climbing up again to a ridge and then falling down to the mainroad B775, also called the Gleniffer Road. I followed this road towards Paisley for one kilometer before a new backroad to the right took me up a steep climb to a hill overlooking Barrhead and Neilston. It topped out at 215 meters above sea level which is the highest point at Gleniffer Braes.

Looking down towards the Kilmarnock to Barrhead mainroad hidden in the valley below and the hills above Neilston in the background

I chose to descent directly down to the valley below instead of taking a far more scenic alternative called Fereneze Road. I will save that road for later. The descent was vertical to the mainroad A736. This road was mainly flat before it descended down to Barrhead. I chose to go for Renfrew to complete the full Paisley Circuit so I raced through Barrhead on my way to Crookstown and the roundabouts in Hillington. After a short descent from Barrhead, the road became pretty flat and uneventful on a dual carriageway with plenty of trafficlights (mostly red). It crossed Glasgow Road and went past Hillington before it arrived at the Hillington Roundabouts under the motorway. I hit trafficlights and negotiated them before arriving in Renfrew again after the full circuit of Paisley. I still had plenty of time left and did some shopping before heading home again.


I suspect this ride will come very high on my or anyone's list of most enjoyable rides in the Glasgow area. It has a great mix of everything. From quiet flat bikeriding to steep climbs. Always with brilliant views and scenery. The bikeridng was so funny that I had to pinch myself several times. This ride is highly recommended and probably a coming classic too.