AN established fixture in the Fullarton Wheelers calendar is an Autumnal Away Day to the Trossachs.

This marks the end of the summer season, a time for dusting off the winter bikes, tightening up the mudguards, and making the most of any sunny days that come along. Sunday was one such day. The temperature was a chilly eight degrees but the winds were light.

Perfect conditions for a 57 mile figure of eight loop beginning in Callander in the middle of the Trossachs National Park, and climbing the Dukes Pass – all 750ft of it, a lot at 10% gradient – twice.

Twenty-three Fullarton riders took part in the ride which was organised by Membership Secretary Mikey Allen, a large contingent but still only a fifth of the total club membership. This is a challenging ride involving no less than 3900 feet of climbing in total, but the autumnal scenery was stunning and there is no better way to experience it than on a bike. This thought occurred to most riders over lunch at the Pier Café in Stronachlachar on the shore of Loch Katrine. =Tired riders arrived back in Callander for the trip back to Irvine, and special thanks go to Scott McKendrick for providing a high quality mini-bus and bike trailer transfer service, complete with Fullarton Wheelers vehicle graphics and passenger t-shirts.

With that, the summer season is concluded, but the bike riding continues. The Fullarton Wheeler’s indoor Winter League begins with Event 1 on the 6th November. It may be raining outside, but in ‘The Barn’ competitors will take part in a virtual race on the altogether sunnier Canary Island of Fuerteventura. The Fullarton ‘Nighthawks’ ride out on Monday evenings, the Wednesday Criterium training session around the Marine Drive circuit continues throughout the winter, as do Saturday Runs to Largs, Sunday Runs, the Track League at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, and an active program of Cyclo Cross Racing.

As legendary professional cyclist Sean Kelly once said: “I check the weather, I put on my gear, I go out and do my spin, then when I’m back I decide if it was too wet or not”.