Pat Standen started Cycle Ayrshire, a Cycling UK member group, over 25 years ago with her partner Drew Moyes. They were both awarded a Cycling UK Certificate of Merit in 2014 and Pat, who is now the volunteer secretary of the group, was selected as one of Cycling UK's 100 Women in Cycling in 2017.
I love travelling by bike and this 30 miler down the Ayrshire coast ticks all my cycling boxes as it can be varied to suit my mood, fitness or the weather. There are ups and downs to challenge or take slowly, coffee stops to enjoy, it’s easily changed to anything from 6 to 100 miles or I can return by train. It’s also a good touring ride with views of the Firth of Clyde, several castles, Robert Burns’ associations and the varied Ayrshire countryside.
Start at the Blackburn car park on Ayr’s seafront and go through Alloway with its Robert Burns Birthplace museum, auld kirk and Brig o’ Doon then up the B7023 to skirt the Carrick Hills. Before Maybole, turn right to a Covenanters memorial and the A719 which goes to the former fishing village of Maidens, turn right here past the shop and tearoom, along the seafront and through the caravan park into Culzean Country Park. Meander through the estate, glorious all year but especially in spring with the daffodils and rhododendrons. Past the castle there’s a visitors centre, café and the climb up to the exit. Turn left and left again along the A719 and coast to try the Electric Brae and take in the views of Culzean, Ailsa Craig, Arran, Mull of Kintyre and on a clear day the Antrim coast. Now the route loops down to Dunure, tiny and picturesque with its castle and harbour. Once back on the A719 there’s a fine view over Ayr. After the holiday park take the cycle path going left. It takes you to the Heads of Ayr and Greenan Castle before dropping to cross the river Doon and return to the start.
- Explore the Robert Burns sites in Alloway and return by the cycle path and Greenan Castle.
- After Culroy turn right and follow NCR7 to climb to the Carrick Hill viewpoint then to the start.
- Drop into Maybole for the train. There’s a community café nearby (not Sundays).
- Go left to loop through Kirkoswald, head south to the Ayrshire Alps or Girvan and the train.