If you read the Wales ride pieces you may have noticed me being down on the Sustrans routes. Shame on me. I’ll stand by my words when I say you do not want to use the Sustrans route to ride to Reading or Windsor unless you want to take ages to get there and don’t mind riding on gravel, but on a recent trip to Scotland I had the pleasure of riding along route four, and couldn’t believe the difference.
Now that’s how you do a cycle path. A solid tarmac surface, no peds and pretty greenery. I rode for 30 miles and saw only other cyclists, one person walking a dog and my new favourite hero, Sustrans Volunteer Man. Check out this badass –
He is behind the fence, trimming back the greenery. I have no idea how he got there, because this fence went on for quite a distance but his bicycle was parked right beside him. I’m presuming he jumped over the fence, which is impressive when you consider he’s around 60 years old. Well at least I’m guessing he was, but since it’s Scotland he could have simply been 30 and lived a life of cigarettes and fried everything. Here are his tools of justice –
He rides this along the path, dealing swift Sustrans justice to any plants that threaten the safety of mankind. What a total badass.
I rode from Lochwinnoch to Irvine and back. The paths were extremely well maintained, with only a couple of scary transitions into towns full of people with dead eyes. I did it on a friend’s mountain bike, but wished I’d had my road bike throughout.
This recommendation is largely redundant, since if you live there you already know how ace these routes are, and if you don’t, you’re not likely to be easily able to go ride on them, but I wanted to mention them because they’ve shown me that not all Sustrans routes are a shambles, full of gravel and pedestrians. So don’t bother with them in and around London, but seemingly once you leave London you’re in cycling heaven, where even the cows stop to say hello.
Why are you still sitting there reading this? Go out and ride along this NOW:
That is all.