Sunday, 1 November 2015

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 shells
With 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.


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.