Info please: Road surface report for B7076/NCN74 and NCN7 over Dromochter

Specific board for this popular undertaking.
hughwill69
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Info please: Road surface report for B7076/NCN74 and NCN7 over Dromochter

Postby hughwill69 » 27 Aug 2018, 11:58am

I'm hoping, back permitting, to complete my LeJog in September 2018 or April/May 2019 (target is before my 70th birthday in November).
Being a wimp at heart, I'm hoping to go over Beattock on the B7076/NCN74 route and over the Grampians on NCN7. I've read negative reports about the road/track surface of these routes in the past- Does anyone have an up to date report- are they OK for my Carbon Cyclocross Bike (with Marathon 32mm tyres)?

Hugh

LollyKat
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Re: Info please: Road surface report for B7076/NCN74 and NCN7 over Dromochter

Postby LollyKat » 27 Aug 2018, 10:45pm

With 32mm tyres you should be fine, even if they are Marathons (which ones?) which are generally not the most supple tyres. On 23mm or 25mm it would be rather more uncomfortable but still doable.

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Wanlock Dod
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Re: Info please: Road surface report for B7076/NCN74 and NCN7 over Dromochter

Postby Wanlock Dod » 28 Aug 2018, 7:58am

Some of the more southerly sections of the NCN 74 South of Beattock have a fairly smooth but narrow cycle lane with magic paint protection, traffic tends to be light but very fast. The nearby B7020 offers rather nicer riding but is slightly heavier going. From Beattock to the summit is less well maintained, although there is an off road section with a reasonable surface going over the summit, although it does have a couple of pairs of difficult to negotiate barriers (a quick dab will probably be all that is required). There is a stretch on the down way to Crawford that has been resurfaced, but after the Elvanfoot turn (~J14) it's basically just crap to Abington, there is a back road from Crawford village (turn right by the cross in the road, go over the railway and river, then turn left by a bench) that will take you a nice route to Abington if you have some time to spare (turn left after the caravan park). After Abington you will be treated to a section of road cycle path that runs on the original surface of the A74, I'm not aware of any other parts where the original road surface still remains, do not be tempted by narrower tyres and keep a look out for glass.

There is some utterly crap pavement cycling available if you don't like the stretch between J11 and 12, but it will make access to Happendon Services more tricky. The section which traditionally had the reputation for the worst surface of the entire ride between J11 and Lesmahagow now has a fairly decent off road path with a nice smooth surface to the Mway side of the road (although it does have about 20 sets of give way markings making it clear that bikes come quite some way below hedgehogs in the South Lanarkshire road hierarchy). The nice cycle path stops just as the road gets quite hostile for the last mile or so to Tescos at J10. There is a somewhat less good path between J10 and 9, but it's still perfectly rideable. If you are going to Larkhall I strongly recommend taking the Drafan, Netherburn, Ashgill route on the other side of the Mway, and once you near Larkhall go as fast as possible and stop for nothing. There is more crap pavement cycling between Larkhall and Chatelherault (pronounced Shat-le-row).

It is worth bearing in mind that this are has seen some pretty immense motorway building projects completed in recent years, and traffic levels have been increasing fairly rapidly, and are likely to continue to do so for quite some time yet.

simonwoodward66
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Re: Info please: Road surface report for B7076/NCN74 and NCN7 over Dromochter

Postby simonwoodward66 » 28 Aug 2018, 8:24am

I recently cycled south over Drumochter. I started out on NCN7 but switched over onto the A9.
I switched over because the state of the NCN7 meant it was slow going. I was touring using a road bike with 28mm tyres.

The NCN7 is rough but other than being slow, still OK with a road bike.

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Paulatic
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Re: Info please: Road surface report for B7076/NCN74 and NCN7 over Dromochter

Postby Paulatic » 28 Aug 2018, 8:32am

You’ll be fine, I did it all on 25mm and ride route74 weekly on 25mm
I think the off road Wanlock refers to on the summit is not off road as in mud it’s seperated by grass rather than a white line.
Drumochter is good fun but I think we all nearly over cooked it on a left hand bend after a bridge. :lol:
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Norman H
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Re: Info please: Road surface report for B7076/NCN74 and NCN7 over Dromochter

Postby Norman H » 28 Aug 2018, 10:52am

It's been a few years since I rode the 7076/8 route on 23mm tyres, but my recollection is pretty much as others have stated.

Are you planning on following route 74 all the way to Glasgow to pick up Route 7?

hughwill69
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Re: Info please: Road surface report for B7076/NCN74 and NCN7 over Dromochter

Postby hughwill69 » 29 Aug 2018, 10:57am

Norman H wrote:It's been a few years since I rode the 7076/8 route on 23mm tyres, but my recollection is pretty much as others have stated.

Are you planning on following route 74 all the way to Glasgow to pick up Route 7?


No. Going via Edinburgh and the Forth Bridge. Sorry, I should have made it clear I was turning away from the cycle route after Abington.

Thanks to all for the info.

Hugh

hughwill69
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Re: Info please: Road surface report for B7076/NCN74 and NCN7 over Dromochter

Postby hughwill69 » 29 Aug 2018, 11:04am

LollyKat wrote:With 32mm tyres you should be fine, even if they are Marathons (which ones?) which are generally not the most supple tyres. On 23mm or 25mm it would be rather more uncomfortable but still doable.



Marathon Supremes. Smashing tyres but unfortunately not available any more in my usual 28s. Can't think why.

FasterFerret
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Re: Info please: Road surface report for B7076/NCN74 and NCN7 over Dromochter

Postby FasterFerret » 29 Aug 2018, 1:17pm

Came South down the NCN74, Abington to Kirtlebridge. Couldn't help but think that it was a massive wasted opportunity for a really decent cycle route.

As others have said, it is reasonably quiet and I found it reasonably picturesque with rewarding views, but with what traffic there was travelling at high speed.

I found a lot of that road to be 'heavy' - another section where I thought I might be able to soft pedal a bit going down hill that didn't really reward my expectations.

The road is plenty wide enough to put a nice smooth strip of tarmac down each side for a cycle lane (just filling in the gaps between the rocks that they appear to have used to construct the road, with some more tar would be a start) even if only protected by the 'magic paint'.

I had a chuckle to myself when I went past a sign that said 'cycle lane narrows' - I didn't realise that they were referring to the glass, stone and other detritus containing gutter that went from about 1m wide to 0.5m wide.

keithg
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Re: Info please: Road surface report for B7076/NCN74 and NCN7 over Dromochter

Postby keithg » 29 Aug 2018, 4:27pm

simonwoodward66 wrote:I recently cycled south over Drumochter. I started out on NCN7 but switched over onto the A9.
I switched over because the state of the NCN7 meant it was slow going. I was touring using a road bike with 28mm tyres.

The NCN7 is rough but other than being slow, still OK with a road bike.


I’ll second that, some of the stretches need some care esp after the county boundary at Drumochter and imho even though its pretty poor its preferable to the main road. I rode it on 28mm road tyres and it was OK, some drifty gravel patches, but mostly OK. Bumpy and potholed but so are our roads!

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Paulatic
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Re: Info please: Road surface report for B7076/NCN74 and NCN7 over Dromochter

Postby Paulatic » 29 Aug 2018, 4:34pm

FasterFerret wrote:Came South down the NCN74, Abington to Kirtlebridge. Couldn't help but think that it was a massive wasted opportunity for a really decent cycle route.

As others have said, it is reasonably quiet and I found it reasonably picturesque with rewarding views, but with what traffic there was travelling at high speed.

I found a lot of that road to be 'heavy' - another section where I thought I might be able to soft pedal a bit going down hill that didn't really reward my expectations.

The road is plenty wide enough to put a nice smooth strip of tarmac down each side for a cycle lane (just filling in the gaps between the rocks that they appear to have used to construct the road, with some more tar would be a start) even if only protected by the 'magic paint'.

I had a chuckle to myself when I went past a sign that said 'cycle lane narrows' - I didn't realise that they were referring to the glass, stone and other detritus containing gutter that went from about 1m wide to 0.5m wide.


I love reading these descriptions of my local road. On a regular basis I gather them all up and fire them off to my local councillor. He presents them at council meetings and always associates them with tourists have said. When it opened they original surface was a watery solution which filled up the gaps in the rocks. It didn’t last long with tractors and other vehicles running over it. Small traces of it can be found in places.
Out on it today the only reasonable bits, which I actually ride on, left are Beattock north. Most of the time I’m in the traffic lane with one eye in my mirror ready to bail out to the left of the line if needed. There is so much bark falling from timber lorries I’ve witnessed the cleaner out and a week later you’d never believe it.
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