Cycling Round Strathclyde Park, Motherwell

Recently my employer participated in Cyclescheme which is a Government initiative to enable employees to purchase cycles tax free. As a result I ordered a ‘Pinnacle’ hybrid bicycle from Evans Cycles in Bath Street, Glasgow along with a waterproof jacket, gloves, overshoes and a set of expensive super-bright CatEye lights. 

After taking delivery of my new wheels, I tried it out in Strathclyde Park in Motherwell. It has been a nice, warm Autumn and the sun was shining when I went for a spin. I was trying the gears and getting a feel for them.

Hybrid bicycle

The bike is a nice light blue, which is quite striking. It has disk brakes which are nice and smooth. The 38mm Kenda KWest tyres are an ideal choice for the winter months. In the Spring I will replace them 28mm Continental GP4000 tyres.

Greylag Geese

As I started on my ride, I nearly fell off as I cycled along the path when a number of Greylag geese suddenly appeared in front of me – they had been hidden by a large rock! I had to pull my feet from the pedals and make an emergency stop.

Greylag Geese
‘Snow Goose’

The birds were looking for food and surrounded me but I could not offer them anything. One of the Geese was very unusual – it was completely white. However, in the park it should be reasonably safe from predators given its bright colour and similarity to the Mute swans who also frequent the park.
White Greylag Goose
The autumn colours were still on show and I managed to get some photographs of the trees with their golden leaves. When I see Autumn leaves I always recall my school days when the English teacher, Miss Thomson, (spelt the Scottish way without the letter ‘P’ which is in the English version of the name) had the class studying ‘To Autumn’ by John Keats (line by line).
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shellsWith a sweet kernel;
to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,

Until they think warm days will never cease,For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

Autumn Colours
On the north side of Strathclyde Loch is an amusement park, a hotel and a cafe. Outside the hotel was this beautiful tree displaying Autumn colours. In the car park of the hotel is a fountain displaying a lady’s face which is very nice addition.
Fountain outside Alona Hotel

Further on some more trees caught my eye.
More Autumn colours
In July 2014 the competitors in the Commonwealth Games Triathlon cycled up this stretch of road during their events. 
After this, I turned towards the beach to see if there were any unusual birds, but there were none. The sand was quite damp and I did not want to get my shoe plates clogged up in case they jammed in the pedals, so I had to view the birds from a distance.
Beach at Strathclyde Park
Beach at Strathclyde Park
Preparing the Bike for Winter

My bicycles are always well maintained. One of the first things I did with my new one was to get it protected from the salt which is put on the roads to the melt ice in the winter. I coated the frame with Turtlewax and sprayed silicon on the gears. To protect the nuts and bolts I used petroleum jelly to fill in the allen key slots with a cotton ear bud to prevent water sitting in them and causing rust.

My transmission chain is lubricated with ‘wet’ lube which is heavier than the dry lube I use in summer. I’ll degrease it regularly and add more lubricant. One thing to bear in mind is not to use dish washing liquid as it often contains salt – use car shampoo instead.
Locks

It is important to use a good lock to secure bike when leaving it unattended. I use a Squire Eiger Compact D lock which has the highest security rating of 15 (gold). I also use a Kryptonite extender cable to wrap around the wheels and lock it through the D lock. This should make the bike secure when leaving it in the street. 

With all these precautions I should survive my winter cycling.
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A Busy Sunday Morning in Strathclyde Park

It was an early start this morning as I wanted to get in a round of golf on my local 9 hole course and go bird watching after it. It was very cold and there was some frost on the course at 7.00am, but this soon cleared.

During the winter the course is maintained and many tees and greens are not in use. Temporary ones are used instead. This should last until about the beginning of April when the course should be back to normal. 

Ice on golf trolley wheel

While on the course, the sound of music could be heard and it was obvious that there was an event on in nearby Strathclyde Park. When the music can be heard as early in the morning as 8.00am, it usually means that it is a sports event.

South Lanarkshire Leisure Duathlon  

After finishing the 9 holes, I was making my way home by foot, pulling my golf trolley behind me. In the Palace Grounds in Hamilton, I saw some runners and was told that a duathlon was in progress – South Lanarkshire Leisure Duathlon. This consisted of a 5K run, 20K bike and another 5K run. 

While passing, I managed to get some photographs of the action with my phone. 

Running


Cycling
After completing the first 5K run, the competitors had to collect their bikes and start on the road racing part of the event. 

A competitor gets his card scanned

As the competitors left the transition area with their bikes, they had to get their cards scanned. This presumably was to help the organisers in getting the details of the competitors times during the event. The competitor above is being ‘scanned’ by the woman on the left. 

Getting ready for the cycling


On the course

Commonwealth Games  
The cycling part of the event was around the closed roads of Strathclyde Park. This was the course used last year at the Commonwealth games triathlon. This is not easy – there are quite a few small sharp hills in Strathclyde Park.  

Turning point on the course


The camera phone coped reasonably well in taking the photographs but will never replace a ‘proper’ camera with a good lens.  

All-in-all it had been an eventful morning despite it only being 10.30am.

Glasgow Getting Ready for the Commonwealth Games

On the way home from work this evening I went up to George Square in Glasgow to see the activities in the main square in the City. It was a lovely sunny and warm day with temperatures of 22c. 

‘Big G’

‘Big G’
The Big G is the centrepiece in George Square at the moment as the Games are about to begin. It is taller than a double decker bus and is 5.5m (18-feet) high and 10.2m (33.5-feet) in circumference. 

It weighs four tonnes, which is the same weight as an African elephant. It is made from mild steel and aluminium and has been painted in the Games colours of red, green, yellow and blue. Surrounding it is a circular garden of flowers.  

‘Big G’ with City Chambers in the background

 

Side view of ‘Big G’

 

Get photos taken with Games background

 

Piper outside City Chambers welcoming competitors

 

Piper outside City Chambers welcoming competitors

Outside the City Chambers were a piper and a drummer welcoming guests to the Chambers as they arrived.

Another view of ‘Big G’ showing City Chambers

 

Buying the last of the tickets

There was also a superstore where people could buy merchandise. It was very big inside with a variety of goods for sale, including traditional Scottish goods such as Harris Tweed bags, purses and wallets, Heather honey and haggis.

Supertstore

On the way home,  Central Station lower level was mobbed as there was a dress rehearsal at Celtic Park for the opening ceremony. I supposed we will all have to get used to the crowds for a few days.

Further Information:

Glasgow 2014 – All the information about the games.
Scotrail – Rail travel details