We reported on the Advertiser's website earlier this week that cycling is on the up – in Helensburgh and across Scotland.

Cycling Scotland reports a 16 per cent year-on-year increase in people getting on their bikes in this area – not as much as some other communities, but notable nonetheless, and almost certainly the result of the coronavirus lockdown.

The quieter roads these days certainly make cycling a far more attractive proposition. And perhaps the lockdown might lead to a thawing in relations between cyclists and motorists, as people more used to four wheels and an engine rediscover the delights of two wheels and two pedals.

For the last couple of years, we’ve regularly reported the latest updates on the cycle path between Helensburgh, Cardross and Dumbarton – last heard of with a completion date of 2027, which will be more than 25 years after cash was first pledged for the scheme.

READ MORE: Helensburgh in the top 10 as cycling popularity soars across Scotland

And every time we report on the latest progress – if that's the word – with the project, a war of words breaks out on our Facebook page: on one side, cyclists convinced that thoughtless road-hogging motorists are threatening their safety at every opportunity; on the other, drivers adamant that cyclists’ lack of awareness is putting everyone at risk.

Me? I reckon everyone would be better served if we all remembered that anything using the road – a pedestrian, a bike, a car or a 44-tonne juggernaut – is perfectly safe if the brain of its operator is fully engaged, but capable of causing the most horrible carnage if it's not, and that it’s never wise to assume the former is ever the case.

I had a notion last autumn, when I reached the grand old age of 40, that I might treat myself to a half-decent bike as a birthday present. I haven’t taken the plunge yet, having thought that it might make sense to wait until the spring, but the longer days, nicer weather and quieter roads are all combining to make me think that now is the time.

READ MORE: Cycle path linking Helensburgh, Cardross and Dumbarton may not be completed until 2027, council report reveals

Mrs B is paving the way: she revealed at the weekend that she’s had a bike lying unused in her parents’ garden shed for the last 20-ish years.

We picked it up on Sunday, after dropping off some shopping at their back door (discovering in the process that the word ‘Corona’ is displayed in big letters along the frame, sparking brief giggles on my part), although the experience of squeezing it into the back of the car to bring it home is not one I’ll want to repeat in a hurry.

A helmet and a couple of new brake pads later and, as I write this, I can just about see Mrs B riding off into the sunset, happy as a wean in a sweetie shop, and very grateful that cycling and cycle shops remain exemptions to the strict rules of the lockdown.

In the short term, her temporary absences will give me easy access to the hours and hours of archive sport I’ve recorded off the telly in the last few weeks.

In the slightly longer run, I remain reasonably confident that I’ll be next to get back in the saddle. I might even bring my new toy along to the opening of Helensburgh’s cycle path – if it hasn’t rusted beyond repair by then...

READ MORE: Catch up with all the latest Helensburgh and Lomond news headlines here