SIS hill climb

Made it to the top

Recently, Spinal Injuries Scotland hosted a barbeque and sporting event at Castle Semple, Clyde Muirshiel Park that Neil and Ken headed out to, and where we met up with Mike. It was a great day out and a chance to do a bit of cycling, try some kayaking, sailing, and power boating, and meet some fantastic people. The barbeque was mighty tasty as well, and well worth queueing for in the light rain.


There were a number of folks who hadn’t tried handcycling before and who had a shot on the bikes available at Castle Semple while Neil, Mike, and Ken talked about our experiences and gave some tips to the new riders. We also had some great support from some of the other keen riders on the west side who came out for the day.


One of the highlights though, was the early morning ride that Neil and Ken took. On a crisp morning, the two of us headed out from Castle Semple heading up the hill to Muirshiel Visitor Centre. Our previous road training paid off as we headed out through Lochwinnoch to head for the hills.


It wasn’t long before those hills kicked in too, and what a workout it was. The first gentle climb was a just a warmup until we turned right on to the main road and the hill just got steeper. But it was no match for our arms and we kept on going. As the village thinned out and the grassy hills came into view, we kept putting the power on. Occasionally we’d have a bit of a downhill run but it was just enough to get some speed for the next climb. Meandering through the bends past the on looking cows and sheep  we managed to power to the top of the climb to the Muirshiel Visitor Centre.


Having triumphantly reached the top, we replenished out energy stores, snapped a picture and prepared for the descent. The initial gentle descent soon turned into a roaring blast, with unbelievable speed. So much so that you can only see it when you contrast the times: 50 minutes of climbing, for 3 minutes of descent, but both were so worth it!

Coaching Day 1

Recently, two members of Handcycling Edinburgh, Neil and Ken, ventured out to Castle Semple to meet up Jane Egan, British Paratriathlete, for a spot of road training on out handbikes. We were also joined by David and Lewis of Ride 63 & Castle Semple, Clyde Muirshiel Park.


We started the day with a lively discussion over coffee and biscuits about what it’s like to ride on the road with a handbike and how it differs from riding an upright bike, as well as some of the important points to consider when manoeuvring around cars and working with factors including visibility, signalling, lane position and speed.


After venturing out to the bikes and going through our pre-ride checks, we cruised out to the car park and, amongst the cars in this quiet section, we revisited issues of safety and road position, paying particular attention to the visibility that we have as handcyclists, as well as how visible we are to drivers in cars. Then we planned our route though the lovely village of Lochwinnoch.


Once on the road went through a myriad of road positioning scenarios from proper positioning of the handcycles on approaches to corners and intersections as well as positioning through and leaving those same corners and intersections.


Added in for a dose of good measure was practice of the inevitably forgotten gearing setup to ensure that once we stopped, we could accelerate quickly and efficiently while blending in with the traffic. And what great traffic it was! There was no shortage of cars and truck to mingle amongst and, I must say, the drivers in Lochwinnoch were great to ride around, very friendly and courteous.


A great bonus was that the rain held off bar a few small sprinkles that just made the ride more fun. And the topper was some surprise training on how to handle horses on the roads, and I must say, it’s quite an experience to come across a horse when you’re less than a metre off the ground!


All in all it was a great day of training with some fine folks and I think that Neil and Ken picked up a lot of great tips on how to make riding in traffic not just safe, but fun.


Thanks to David for the photos and Jane for the great coaching. Thanks also to David and Clyde Muirshiel Park for the use of a handbike for the day.


I think Neil and Ken are definitely looking forward to our next training sessions. Check out our events page to see the upcoming training dates.