Carlisle to Inverness, 450 miles - Day four: Tuesday 15th May

Wednesday, May 16, 2007 11.00pm
We began climbing this morning almost as soon as we left Dalrymple, a steady ascent that culminated

We began climbing this morning almost as soon as we left Dalrymple, a steady ascent that culminated at the top of Carrick hill, where we stopped to admire the wonderful views. Below us, the coastline snaked its way into the distance, whilst the island of Arran was clearly visible out to sea.

As we descended and ploughed on into Ayr, my sprocket again came loose from all of the hard work I was doing in my highest gear. Fortunately, I was able to limp into the town centre and make my way to Carrick cycles. It is worth pointed out that Ken, who last year completed LEJOG with Ric, had noted all of the cycle shops along our route, testament to his wonderful organisation. The guy in the shop was really helpful and immediately tightened the sprocket again, using a better set of spanners than we had had at the roadside. He also warned me that I would have to replace the sprocket and possibly the rear cassette if it came loose again. So far it hasn't.

A couple of the others also made some adjustments to the bicycles, and Richard bought some replacement inner tubes, before we set off again, weaving our way in an out of residential areas and the numerous golf courses, following the coast. As we approached Troon, we passed the most famous of the golf courses.

After lunch, we headed towards Glasgow, our end point for the day. We knew the locals would be making several sarcastic comments about our kit, nine men all in blue and white lycra, and they did not disappoint us with their humour, singing, "Gillette, the best a man can get", from passing cars. We had managed to complete another day without rain and felt incredibly fortunate. In truth, it was a doddle, compared to some of the previous days, 65 miles along largely flat terrain.

As we all made our way along the Paisley road, Alan, Colin and I were caught at some traffic lights. When they changed, Colin somehow managed to loose his balance whilst pressing down on his pedal and fell into Alan, who in turn fell into me. It took all my strength to support Alan, a big 15 and a half stone Scot, and stop myself falling under a Glasgow bus⦠We were glad to be able to have a good laugh about it.

In the evening, we all walked into the centre of Glasgow for a good meal and a few beers whilst watching the play off semi-final between Derby and Southampton. The city was buzzing with Spaniards ahead of the Uefa cup final at Hampden park tomorrow, and we had a really good evening. The group is getting on really well, with everyone cycling together for the whole of today.

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