Sunny Tour of Down

Sunday Evening I just appened to catch the Weather forecast for the Week ahead and it was giving warm temperatures and lots of Sun for Tuesday so as soon as I got in to Work on Monday Morning I booked Tuesday off and hatched a plan with a mate to go for a decent cycle.

Mark got a lift to Belfast as his Wife commuted to Work and I cycled down the Comber Greenway to meet him at City Hall. The Sun was already blazing down as we clipped in to the Pedals and set off through town to do a lap of the Newtownards Peninsula. Traffic was still heavy due to a road closure from a fatal accident on the Bangor road but we utilised part of the Comber Greenway to get out of town to Dundonald then on to the main Newtownards road and climbed up and across Craigantlet descending to Clandeboye, crossed over the main carriageway and cycled on through Crawfordsburn in to Bangor. The Sea and the Sun was enticing us to stop but we continued on round the coast through Groomsport before our first stop in Donaghadee for Tea and Scones dining outside in the heat. Who needs foreign travel when wee Norn Iron is like this?

Leaving Donaghadee we kept up a nice steady tempo along the Coast road through Millisle, Ballywalter, Ballyhalbert, Portavogie and Cloughey where we agreed that our arrival in Portaferry to catch the Ferry over to Strangford would determine whether we ate lunch in Portaferry or over in Strangford. As luck would have it our timing was perfect and we arrived in Portaferry as the vehicles were coming off the Ferry which meant we would have no wait so we boarded right away sailed over to Strangford and had a bow of Soup sitting outside the Cuan in the shade of a nice canopy.

Fuelled up we set off on our Cycle again taking the Strangford road to the Quoile River Bridge and then the main road through to Killyleagh. At that point I guided Mark off to the right in to the Ringdufferin road to show him some of the narrower county down lanes and the scenic coastal bays of Strangford Lough, he was well impressed and was imagining owner many of the water front properties along the route. Before long we were descending down in to Whiterock and on to Sketrick island for another Tea and Caramel Square stop. Carb stores topped up we said our goodbyes as Mark left for Banbridge and I headed back to Belfast via Comber.

Home with 85 miles done I had a nagging feeling in my head that I still hadn’t ridden a century ride this year so a quick wash, change of clothes and back out on the bike and across town to meet up with a few from my Phoenix cycling club for a leisurely spin in the warm evening air which was a few miles too far for the energy levels. But after a brief stop and a few nibbles I was revived and by the time I got home from that my legs were feeling strong again and I had clocked up almost 119 miles for the day, a new personal best distance for me on an epic day of fantastic weather, dry roads and no punctures.

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