Sunday llth April. JOHNSTONE - AYR 34 MLS


Jane goes for her run about 730am. I frantically watch the TV for the forecast - fine morning cloudy afternoon ??? Who were they kidding.

830am All down for breakfast everyone in good spirits, despite Colin dropping his trousers to show off his cycle shorts just as mine host was coming through with the Breakfasts. Leisurely breakfast then it was time to load the bikes. Minor hiccup in the car park one of the guests reverses his car into Colins New Vectra SRI scraping the Bumper and choosing not to stop. Apart from that at Approx 10am we were ready to roll, its raining, we must be on our cycling holiday. Photos and Video whirring, we were on our way once more towards Tynemouth well Ayr today approx mileage 34 miles. A downhill start makes a change, a quiet ride through Johnstone and we picked the cycle route the old railway cinder track and set off steady away( its south all the way back to Tynemouth) our first stop was to be Lochwinnoch, which was to be our first stamping station, the weather was cloudy but pleasant for cycling as we slowly got away from the urban environment and into the country side pleasant rolling hills. As we cycle along we pass a guy with Black plastic mask a bit like Darth Vader he followed us keeping the same distance behind all the way to Lochwinnoch, our first stamping station at the Leisure park. It was a lovely place the sun shining people on rowing boats very peaceful.

Lochwinnoch, our first stamping station


We cause a slight commotion as the lady states I had a phone call from Sustrans last week to remind us - you are the first of the season. Other people wait till the weather is warmer. We were to hear that again.  Eventually stamped, we even got a free Lochwinnoch country Park badge. Colin repaired the first puncture, what was to be the first of a few breakdowns that day.

We left Lochwinnoch in sunshine and cycled twice round the town before we found our way back onto the cycle track. We have a steady ride along the cycle tracks and country lanes the weather is clouding over. Along the way Colin is altering my gears so we swap bikes for a while, his bike handles better than it looks.

We arrive at Kilwinnning and enjoy a pint in the Buffs tavern the name of the local football team. I quickly realise that the beer is going to be an acquired taste. 

Hurry up and fix that puncture the rain is coming

Colin gets a second puncture. Repaired, then slowly down towards Irvine. Its starts to rain and the wind starts to get up and yes its in our faces. As we cycle through Irvine the rain gets heavy. We see a man putting out a sign Fish and Chips 300 yds, its wet and cold a Bag of Chips will be just the job, we do a detour -surprise surprise the Chippy is closed.

Irvine is a very pleasant town all revamped in a Maritime theme. Home to Scotland's Maritime museum. The Rain and Wind become relentless and torrential, we just plough on Colin has to stop in Bus shelter and get more wet weather gear on. We eventually make it to Troon sea front and a chippy is open we order warm chips and a drink and take shelter in a Public Toilet to eat the food and dry off a little, it was luxury compared to outside.   The Baby changing table came in very handy for our meal.

Fish and chips in Troon seafront toilet 


We cycle along the coast it is torrential if it was not for the wind and rain the view is wonderful( I think).
We cycle on slow progress all of a sudden nobody else is about just us who have no option. Past Troon golf course and some extremely Large Mansions.

As we arrive at Monkhill just outside Prestwick airport disaster, my rear tyre side wall rips, I don't believe it. The inner tube is sticking out in a large bulge ready to go pop at any time. The weather and Now this. Colin says we have to lighten the load so the tube holds out as long as possible. So we off load my panniers, strap one each onto the other two bikes then Colin being  the lightest, rides my bike and I ride his. Graeme and me share the luggage. GOOD TEAM WORK. The rain is relentless and now we are limping along with a disabled bike. Colin riding it canted over at an angle to try and stop the bulging tube rubbing on the road.

It is slow progress especially as the route takes around the houses and along the front, where the inner tube finally bursts and Colin has to ride the last few miles into the wind and rain with a flat back tyre. Apart from some foolhardy fishermen no one else is about. We get to Ayr and attempt to read the rain sodden map for directions to the Digs. We eventually get to our digs in Ayr bedraggled wrecks.

The Lochinver guest house land lord takes one look at us and puts blankets down in the hall and allows us to leave our bikes in the hallway of the house.
We find our rooms and everything has to be dried out. All available radiator space used. Colin has to repair a hairdryer to use as a drying aid. As I am sorting myself out Graeme asks me what I'm like cycling in snow, he wasn't kidding he'd heard the weather forecast.
8 15pm we are changed and dried out, we go out for food and a beer. Guess what, its stopped raining and its a nice evening.
We find an Indian restaurant which was very good apart from the waitress who insisted on telling us her life story.
1100pm Bed. What a day Rain, cycle tracks going nowhere. Punctures Blow outs and attacks from two dogs and a cat. It can't get any worse can it?

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1999 Day 5 1999 Day 6 1999 Day 7 1999 Poem  


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