Rugged Bike – Whitelee Windfarm (Iain)

In landscape photography the golden hours of sunrise and sunset are considered the best time of day for any type of photography since the light is properly diffused and warm. Basically good light at this time can make any picture look good.

This month, the weather has been wet and the sky has been grey but on Saturday we were blessed with some spectacular winter sunlight.

It was a great opportunity to get the GoPro video camera out and shoot some video at Whitelee windfarm.

The Whitelee is just outside Glasgow and provides free parking, a visitor’s center, a cafe to enjoy lunch, and bus tours that take you around the entire complex. Although current restrictions mean only the free parking is available. Which proved very popular. By 10AM the car park was full and people were queuing to park.

The wind-farm has more than 62 miles (100 kilometers) of trails for cyclists, walkers, and dogs to explore. I’ve been here many times but usually to run. You can read about some attempts at racing here

https://twinbikerun.com/2018/07/25/run-the-blades-half-marathon-iain/

or here

https://twinbikerun.com/2016/07/24/run-the-blades-half-marathon-andrew/

I ride a mountain bike but the tracks would be suitable for gravel bikes too. The route I choose was a nice loop of Loch Goin with a detour to the highest hill. From there I could see across Glasgow as well out west to Arran.

After watching the video, my brother said it made him look like a good mountain biker. I’m sorry to say the golden hour can make anything look good but even the best CGI couldn’t make him look like Danny MacAskill!

Judge for yourself.

Video

Difficulty:

Route Review

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Nearly 300m of climbing but the routes were very easy to ride.

Views:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Great views over Glasgow and nice stretches of forest riding.

Traffic: 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

None

Parking

Rating: 2 out of 5.

It was very busy. On a nice day, if you are not there early, then it might be full.

Toilets

Rating: 1 out of 5.

There were no public toilets open.

Cafe

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The cafe was closed (Nov 2020) but normally it does a nice range of teas/coffees and baking.

Route

Rugged Bike – Easy MTB – Carron Valley (Iain)

I live near a mountain bike route. Part of the route goes through a forest. In the forest section there is a very steep drop.

Earlier in the year, during “lockdown” I saw lots of middle aged men cycle into the forest. They were on old mountain bikes that they hadn’t touched in years. Many of them did not cycle out of the forest. They pushed their bike out after braking a bone falling off the steep slope.

I have to admit I’ve never cycled the slope. I get off my bike and push it to the bottom of the drop before getting back on and continuing. So I am not the person to turn too to tell you where scary technical routes are unless you want to know how to avoid them.

I do love cycling off-road BUT on nice tracks. So, over the years, I’ve found lots of safer routes that are technical enough for me and safe enough that anyone could do them.

This is a great route near Glasgow. It comprises two different forest sections and its all on good wide fire-track roads. There’s plenty of options on the route to make it more technical.

Video

Not yet!

Route Review

Difficulty:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Nearly 600m of climbing in 16 miles is a lot but that means there’s some great downhill sections.

Views:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Great views over Carron valley reservoir and there a mix of different types of forests to ride through.

Traffic: 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

There is only a very short section on road and normally there are very few cars along this way.

Parking

Rating: 2 out of 5.

I parked at Todholes car park. This can be full by 10AM in summer as it’s a very popular spot. If the car park is full go further along the road and ride to the start.

Toilets

Rating: 1 out of 5.

There were no public toilets open.

Cafe

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I haven’t tried it but there is a café at the Carron Valley main car park.

Route