JANUARY is traditionally a quiet time of year, with cyclists emerging from Christmas complaining of over-indulgence.

The early weeks of the year are all about Sunday Runs and steady miles, combined with secret squirrel training plans for peak fitness come the Spring.

This week, 15 hardy souls arrived at the regular meeting point for Fullarton Wheelers’ Sunday Club Run, the Portal in Irvine, at 9.30am.

Conditions were cold and damp: it could have been worse but it was definitely a January Sunday in the West of Scotland.

Rider Joseph Boyle, as ever, bucked the trend by wearing shorts, with no immediately obvious ill effects.

The forecast predicted dry weather and a strong wind from the South, so the coastal Pennyglen route was chosen.

Heading south from Irvine to Loans was slow going into the headwind, with short turns being taken at the front of the peloton. Some pairs of riders took shorter turns than others (no names mentioned).

Passing Prestwick Airport the windsock was pointing the opposite way to the direction of travel, and it felt like it.

Turning into Prestwick itself a brave man flu survivor was waiting outside the local bike shop and hitched on the back of the bunch.

Ayr town centre came and went, and so did club chairman Derek Skinner and transplant super-hero Steve Donaldson: an early coffee proving more temping than a headwind sufferfest on the Maybole High Road.

By now the filthy salt encrusted roads had covered everyone in black speckles and even the bikes were suffering.

A family of squeaking gerbils had moved in to Guy Walker’s mudguards, George Gass’s rear mudguard made a dramatic skyward bid for freedom, and Mikey Allen’s gears stopped working, meaning his legs resembled bees' wings on some of the downhill sections.

Turning for home along the Coast Road everything changed.

With a 30mph tail wind the pace lifted dramatically. Riders then zoomed down the Electric Brae and whizzing past the Heads of Ayr, collecting Derek and Steven on the way through.

The Balgarth Pines was the cafe stop of choice. Martin Shields sat down first as usual and was served last. As usual. A good winter ride of approximately 50 miles for most and no punctures.