Feb 5

Road Reliability Trials

An “Alpine” Challenge on the outskirts of Dundee

January is traditionally the time when road cyclists start thinking of the coming race season. In the days before many could afford a winter training bike a ride known as the reliability ride took place. Each cycling club usually had their own ride which was open to riders from other clubs and on these early season rides the cyclists would be able to check the reliability of their equipment before a new racing season. These rides still continue and many clubs around Tayside have organised these events for years with routes heading out into the Angus and Fife countryside.

The routes of several of the Dundee Clubs traditionally head out towards Strathmore via towns such as Kirriemuir, Coupar Angus and Blairgowrie and a look at the OS Map will reveal the network of roads that make the Strath ideal for cycling.

My first club was the Charles Star CC, who were based, when I joined, in Menzieshill Community Centre in Dundee. At the Monday evening club meet, members such as Jimmy Gordon who had ridden with my father in the 1950s would discuss races and rides and one route that caught my young imagination was out by Tullybaccart. I had no idea where it was, but the way it was spoken about in the club, I imagined it to be of similar status to the Alpine and Pyrenean giants I watched Robert Millar tackling on the Channel 4 coverage of the Tour de France. One Sunday, during a club ride from Dundee to Perth and back, we tackled the airy heights of Tullybaccart on the return leg.

“You want to be like a carpet unrolling. Get faster as the climb goes on.” – Chris Carmichael

The reality was not as painful as the anticipation had led me to believe, but I can still picture myself grinding up the initial modest hairpin bends. In the end another new club recruit and I still had energy enough to ride out to Carnoustie and back, before returning home.

The route

Starting in Muirhead to the north-west of Dundee, head towards Newtyle on the B954. As you enter Newtyle turn left at the bottom of the hill towards Keillour. After half a mile take another left towards Kinpurnie Castle and Leys then follow this road until you join the A923 on the North side of the Tullybaccart climb. You can follow the A923 all the way back to Muirhead, but a nice wee detour is to follow the Lundie Road, which will take you back onto the B954 just north of Muirhead.

Grade: Moderate – A steady ride with one climb. The roads are generally quiet, except for the climb on Tullybaccart (A923)
Distance: 18 miles (29km)
Climbs: Tullybaccart (2miles at 3% avg) Total climbing 768 ft
Start & Finish OS 1:50,000 Map 54 – NO348341
Parking: Various street parking around Muirhead and Birkhill

Some up and coming club reliability trials.

FIFE CENTURY – 12.2.2012 – Falkland (9.30am) £5

DUNDEE THISTLE – 26.2.12 – Lochee Boys’ Club (9.30am) £5

DUNDEE WHEELERS CC – 4.3.12 – Muirhead (10am) £5

Note: These rides are not supported. You must be fully self-sufficient. Please visit the club websites for more information.

 

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