Crow Road and Tak Ma Doon Cycle Route

Carron Valley Reservoir

The Crow Road and Tak Ma Doon cycle route is a great cycling loop route – the start and finish point of this circuit is at some free parking at Milton of Campsie which is only a fairly short drive from Glasgow, or Stirling, for example.

Taking the clockwise cycle route the road starts up the Crow Road fairly soon after leaving from the car park base. This is long climb but at a fairly manageable incline. Some steeper sections are followed by flatter sections which give time for recover. Once at the top of the Crow Road there is a long relatively flat section which passes the Carron Valley Reservoir, a really beautiful section of the route. Then theres a shorter section of further climbing before the steep descent down the Tak-Ma-Doon road. It is worth pausing at the car park at the top of the Tak-Ma-Doon cycle to enjoy the spectacular views and prepare for the descent itself. Beware that it requires fairly constant use of the brakes and can be quite hazardous especially in icy conditions with lots of tight, sometime blind, bends.

25.7 mile loop. Needless to say, clockwise is the easier direction. For the hardened climbers, the anticlockwise route with the ascent up the Tak-Ma-Doon is a daunting challenge.

Click ‘Download’ (bottom right, next to the route profile above) to download a GPX file of this route which can be easily uploaded to your Garmin GPS or other cycle computer device.

Tak Ma Doon

How to Start Track Cycling Glasgow Velodrome

The opening of the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow was associated with some well justified exciting in the cycling community. Since its opening it has hosted the World Cup, Revolution and Junior Track World Championships. It is first rate venue of international standards and the best news of all is that anyone can ride the track cycling Glasgow Velodrome!

You need to complete four levels of ‘accreditation’. Accredit 1 – 4. These are formally coached and assessed sessions that take you from the very basics of starting to ride a track bike to the basics of racing. Once you’re fully accredited you are free to ride the other indoor velodromes in the country such as Manchester. Manchester accreditation similarly allows for riding in Glasgow.

Registration for accreditation is done via an online booking page if you are a Glasgow Life member. If not, then there is a form and contact details at the following link: Emirates Arena. There is a small fee of around £25 for each session and this includes 1-2 hours of small group coaching and full hire of the bike and all other kit required with exclusive use of the velodrome for the group – I consider this to be very good value overall for the total package you’re getting.

Once you’ve completed your accreditation you’re free to book into free riding session, or further coached sessions with a certain focus – e.g. track sprinting or pursuit. You are also eligible to enter in the track league races and other track races held on the track.

Scottish Road Potholes

Anyone who cycles in Scotland knows how bad the roads can be. It is true that potholes are a problem for cyclists around the whole of the UK but it is perceived the Scottish road potholes are the worst. Expecting potholes on every blind corner is a known hazard, ignored at your peril. Even cycling routes you know well is not guaranteed to be safe as deep crevasses seem to open up in a matter or days, especially during the heavy rains and freeze-thaw cycles of the winter months.

A recent BBC article has shed light on just how much Scottish councils pay out – £360,000 for Glasgow City Council alone last year! This money was just compensation to drivers with damage to their cars. Remember that cyclists, too, can claim for any damage sustained from potholes, either direct or as a result of crash caused by a pothole. British Cycling provide good information on this and some of their membership categories offer some legal support in this respect.

Remember that if you see a pothole when out cycling that you must report it to your local council. Glasgow City Council, ironically, have one of the best website services for this: and you can make your report anonymously or register to track the confirmation from the council that they have received the report and will address it. They even have a smartphone application which you can use to take photos of the pothole in question for your report.

There are also various very effective third party websites such as and or the associated smartphone applications. It can be quite surprising how quickly councils respond to these reports. Once the potholes have been reported the information in saved on a database. Any damage that occurs to cars or bikes as a result of the pothole, after it has been reported, becomes much harder for them to defend and avoid paying out compensation. It everyone made the effort to report even pothole they came across then it really could it improve the roads for everyone.


Kingsford Loop (Newton Mearns cycle route near Glasgow, Neilston)

Harelaw Dam

This is a great cycling route which follows a rural loop along good road surfaces. The scenery is impressive passing several Lochs and reservoirs with excellent views in the countryside and farmland. The roads are quiet and the terrain generally consists of rolling hills with no particularly steep gradients and lots of fairly long flat sections. It makes for an excellent cycling route whether at a gentle pace, moderate training, or a fast circuit. The rolling nature of the route might also make it suitable for steady pace time trial training. It is a good Newton Mearns cycle route for those living in this area and easily reached from Glasgow.

The circuit is very easily reached from central Glasgow or nearby areas such as Newton Mearns and Paisley. The location of the route also means it is extremely easy to extend the distance to take in other scenic roads in the area such as to the west towards Uplawmoor or to the south toward Kilmarnock.

The route as shown below is just 19 miles but most cyclists will join the route from Glasgow or nearby towns. As with all routes on you can download a gpx file of the route using the route map download link below. This file can then be easily uploaded on to your gps cycle computer such as those made by Garmin. Alternatively you can use the Google map below to review the route and plan your approach. This particular route is equally enjoyed clockwise or anticlockwise. The profile shown is for a clockwise circuit of the route.