Should Have Gone To Specsavers

On the climb out of Clashmore when cyclists dispersed into smaller two’s and three’s, there were some all out verbal attacks cloaked in mysterious tones! Proof that the biting cold wind does actually transfer to characteristic biting remarks.


Thursday, January 5, 2017

Lost: a pair of female cycling glasses, somewhere near Rathgormack recently (last August during Sean Kelly Tour, to be precise). If anyone comes across these, please contact Dungarvan Cycling Club, so that glasses and rider can be reunited.

The good news is that the glasses were found by a retired male nurse, but being unaware of the circumstances, he was in the process of retaining said glasses for a year and a day. It is likely that he believes cycling glasses lose their protective UV properties if not subjected to regular daylight and for that reason, he wore them last Wednesday on the Easy Riders spin to Mahon Bridge. Great hilarity ensued as the owner of said glasses saw the light! The penny dropped and the cat was out of the bag.

Introducing Easy Riders

Easy Riders cycle on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from the front of the Tennis Club at 10am. The pace is determined by who is in the group. It is usually composed of regulars from Group 5 and Group 4. Over the past number of weeks, it is has attracted a number of newcomers, especially as the Wednesday pace is generally at about 21kph (or lower if needs be). Mondays and Fridays are a wee bit faster, and all these spins are fuelled by coffee and scones. Therefore, if you like the idea of sorting out the world on a bike, do join them. They will be glad to see you, and they promise to be nice!

Cat And Mouse

Yesterday, (Wednesday) we had a fine group of seven riders who chatted their way to Griffin’s Garage and Mahon Bridge. While most had tea/coffee and a sausage roll at Leamybrien, one wily operator loaded up with coke. Little did we know at the time, but he had a plan! On the return towards Durrow, as agreed, the Group 5 members gave us permission to push on faster. We felt Michael was part of this trap because he sprang up the hill at Halpin’s Cross and the only thing on his mind was the finish line at the Friary Roundabout in Abbeyside!

Tactics were discussed. Counter-measures were analysed and implemented without a fuss. We decided to let the escapee loose, and planned to catch him near Ballinroad, a distance of 10k. We would allow the sausage rolls to digest further before ramping up our effort. At O’Mahoney’s there was no sign of the coke-man, nor could he be seen on the descent to Dalligan Bridge. But once we met the coast road there he was in the distance. We upped the pace and narrowed the gap slowly. Cat and mouse. The mouse usually looks back a few times, but the advantage is with the cat(s).

We did not catch him as planned by Ballinroad Roundabout, but 100 metres before the finish line at the Friary. Job done. As cats do, we played with him rather than committing outright murder, before releasing him to play another day! Perhaps one day, I’ll be the mouse, and Michael will be the head-cat among others revelling in the thrill of the chase. Of course, I’d be a rather experienced mouse, and it’s likely that the frustrated cats would feel as if they’d just lost a life!

Having had a lovely easy pace to the coffee stop, riders were more than happy to note that the chasing average for the 10k was 30.9kph into a slight headwind.

The North Wind Doth Blow

The cobwebs were literally blown away last Sunday (New Year’s Day, 2017) as our intrepid band scaled Colligan into a gale. As arranged, we had been sensible the previous evening, as we saved our celebrations for another day. This was all the more surprising really, as this group is not known for being sensible! Correction: this group is sensible on hills, and this first Sunday of the month (first of 2017 too) is designated as the hilly spin. It was very easy to be sensible on Colligan because the wind would not allow us to go hard.

Later, on the second hill of the day at Clashmore, we surprised ourselves once again by continuing with this sensible resolution. The hill is a long one, and the group disbanded on the lower slopes, only to regroup once again beyond the summit.

Such was the severity of the cold North wind that regular chatting on the bike was down to a minimum, as concentration was required throughout. There were some little exceptions, of course. On the climb out of Clashmore when cyclists dispersed into smaller two’s and three’s, there were some all out verbal attacks cloaked in mysterious tones! Proof that the biting cold wind does actually transfer to characteristic biting remarks.* To an outsider, such remarks seem arrogant and divisive, yet this group does not have any outsiders. No in-laws, outlaws or silent partners. The group does have and is proud to have, cyclists of varying abilities. Some silent, some boisterous, faster, slower, but all handsome! (Pretty is such an overused word). The fact that the slightly faster, stronger members feel duty bound to be considerate of slower (prettier) cyclists is what gels this group together.

Group 4 huddling for warmth in Aglish


On a bright brisk New Year’s morning fourteen Group 4 riders gathered at the Civic Offices with a little apprehension in the air as words hilly spin today and strong winds blowing down Colligan circulated. Nevertheless the group, including newcomers Elia and Cal, rolled out and headed for Master McGrath monument before heading up Colligan. Little talk of Christmas was heard apart from the word overindulgence as the strong breeze and hill quietened most of the group. Beary’s cross was a welcome sight as climbing was over for a while and they got a chance to enjoy the sun shining down on them. As the group headed back through Milstreet, Nora’s home country, the sun was dancing through the trees playing tricks with our eyes and was tough going at times. Crossing the Dungarvan road heading for Whitechurch / Kereen a good pace was set with the thought of coffee in Aglish very welcome before the climb up the mountain road out of Clashmore to N25. For a brief moment panic stations set in as no sign of life was noted at Hurley’s shop and word went out keep going but then word came “it’s open” and we gladly did a u-turn. Following recharging of batteries the group took on the mountain climb and banter was good and all the group made light work of the long climb. On reaching the N25 those with responsibilities at home headed down the Sweep for home while some of the people with no one to answer to cycled into Ring and returned home to Dungarvan. A good start to New Year with a pace of 22.3kph, reduced sensibly because of strong wind and two hills. May I take this occasion to say on behalf of Group 4 thanks to our Road Captain Padraig and all his assistants and happy cycling to all for 2017. (Tony S)

Present were: Majella Keogh, Nora Halley, Judit McNally, Karen Hickson-Walsh, John Coleman, Gearóid Fraher, John Roche, Conor Coleman, Keith McEvoy, Tony Sheehan and myself. Cal, Elia and Darren (Tutty) joined us for the harder first half of the spin.

*Biting remarks is an old pro trick. Basically, it works by getting into another rider’s head, and is used especially on hills, and more particularly if the other rider might be stronger.

By way of advice this week, please take a few moments to check out “Build Strength Before Speed”. With this in mind, we will have a strength test next Sunday. Watch this space!

Follow on Twitter & Instagram @burkesbiking

Until next week, stay safe out there,


The Freedom Machine: Intoxication to Immoral Acts

Michael Gilhaney is always going to a particular destination or other on his bicycle at every hour of the day or coming back from there at every other hour. If it wasn’t that his bicycle was stolen every Monday he would be sure to be more than halfway now. (Flann O’Brien, The Third Policeman)

December 11, 2016

Recently, Cycling Ireland has estimated that the boom has peaked. The cycling boom, that is. Registrations have dropped ever so slightly in 2016. That’s the official statistic, yet it’s very likely that the number of people cycling is continuing to rise. It’s just that they’re not Cycling Ireland members.

I read a really wonderful article by Paul Rouse in the Irish Examiner (Friday, October 28, 2016*) and I urge you to go there and read it in full. Outlining 150 years of the bicycle in Ireland, he describes how cycling has changed people’s lives, “and this change has been dramatic”.

You will read about Flann O’Brien’s depiction of Michael Gilhaney:

“…some people simply lived on their bikes. This was an obsession picked up on by Flann O’Brien, who – in his novel The Third Policeman – has the sergeant describing how a man in the parish, Michael Gilhaney, ‘has spent no less than 35 years riding his bicycle over the rocky roadsteads and up and down the hills and into the deep ditches when the road goes astray in the strain of the winter. He is always going to a particular destination or other on his bicycle at every hour of the day or coming back from there at every other hour. If it wasn’t that his bicycle was stolen every Monday he would be sure to be more than halfway now.’

‘Halfway to where?’

‘Halfway to being a bicycle himself.’

Women On Bikes

You will read about the reaction to the arrival of women in cycling. Likely, you will not be surprised that certain national establishments expressed the view that cycling to dances far away from local eyes led to “ranks of reckless girls who became outcast women”.

Furthermore, when women wanted to wear men’s clothing (you know what I mean), the response was remarkable.

Verbal abuse was commonplace and the female editor of a newspaper called the Rational Dress Gazette was hit by a meat-hook while out cycling in trousers in Kilburn in London in 1903.

Thirdly, of grave concern to menfolk was the notion that “cycling would destroy a woman’s feminity, by giving her muscular legs and arms”.

In my view, the important equality becoming increasingly evident within leisure cycling might well be partly attributable to three lasses who, in the past, have spoken out to bring matters to the attention of the few remaining bigots:

  • “I hate men who are afraid of women’s strength.”
    Anaïs Nin
  • “No woman gets an orgasm from shining the kitchen floor. ”
    Betty Friedan
  • “A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.”
    Irina Dunn (That’s deep!)

We’ll leave it there, so…

DCC Audax 2017

I mentioned last week that there’s another new group within Dungarvan Cycling Club. That makes seven now! Here’s the info from Declan:

An audax group is being formed within Dungarvan Cycling Club, commencing in January 2017. Audaxing is the term used for long distance cycling, from approx. 200k upwards. Members of DCC may also wish to join Audax Ireland (not compulsory), as some events (eg 300k, 400k 600k) are organised and may be on our planned rides). Initially, the idea is to have a long spin on the second Saturday of each month, weather permitting. Later, when the event season kicks in, long audax events will be selected approximately once a month. Who is this new audax group for? If you are interested in this type of riding, and if you have the ability to cycle at approx. 25kph pace, then this may be for you. Planned spins / events will be posted as per club policy together with all other club spins. Members will be most welcome to join us for these spins (or part of). Several coffee stops and a lunch stop will likely be on the menu. The group will be captained by Declan Earley, and routes / events selected by him, as per all other DCC groups. Anyone interested is asked to contact Declan (or Paraig de Burca) just so that we can get an indication of interest.

I will be a keen participant in this venture, and very likely at the start line of Dungarvan’s 200k Audax in early March of 2017. Watch this  ____ space.

And so to the bread-and-butter of some of the spins last weekend:

Group 4 On Tour
Before the fog descended

On a bright crisp morning for cycling, 9 group 4 cyclists left Dungarvan heading in Lismore direction and we were joined at Cappagh by Seamus who made wise decision not to leave home until he found his gloves. As temperatures dropped we met a cold damp fog . Coming out of Lismore, a brisk pace was set and some of us were glad to hear the call  “Slow it a bit as we are ahead of our planned pace”.

The words “Fail to Prepare … Prepare to fail” came to mind as, heading for Ballyduff, the word Puncture was uttered. Prior to leaving, puncture procedure was discussed: what exactly the group does when someone punctures. Some said he drew it on us, but the plan was put into effect perfectly! … 6 rode on as the puncture was dealt with, although it took 3 attempts as first two tubes proved faulty. As we regrouped, another maintenance request was called for a faulty brake cable and a comment was heard that it was the two guys with the dodgy-coloured Tipp / Dublin jerseys that had come croppers. Not sure what was being implied and maybe some GAA jealousy. While proceeding through Ballyduff at Mass time a potential accident was avoided as good calling and calm heads dealt with an incident where a pedestrian hadn’t noticed group coming through and stepped out on to the road. Leaving Ballyduff a good pace was set heading for Lismore to get blood circulating as air temps remained low. We stopped for coffee in Lismore and watched Group 5 pass by. Soon, we were joined by group 23K and enjoyed some good humoured banter as those who couldn’t make the club Christmas party listened with open mouths as the Kris Kringle presents were discussed. Following coffee we headed back to Dungarvan going through Tourin and soon arrived in Cappoquin. Regular changing at front of group ensured a good roll up on way home and the good rhythm shown on dance floor on Friday night was in evidence again as all stayed together to return a pace of 25.2 kph for a terrific 70K spin. Special thanks to Seamus for the CO2 canister, when Criostóir punctured. Many hands get bikes going again! (Tony S.)

I am reminded of something I wrote back in 2014: “It’s actually easier for one person to fix a puncture, but men tend to think that 10 hands are better than two!”

Fun and coffee in Lismore

I thoroughly enjoyed our morning together. At one stage, with about 15k remaining, I pushed them outside the comfort zone that we all enjoy. I was reminded of a veteran holiday bike-touring leader who said that the trick is “to push them without breaking them”. In that way, there comes a realisation (once the zombie-like state moves gently towards recovery), that one’s potential is usually several kilometres ahead of self-limiting beliefs. De réir a chéile a thógtar na caisleáin. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

On a lighter note, I am attempting a summary of our Group 4 Kris Kringle experience, but as yet it will have to remain as a DUD (Dark Unpublished Draft). I am fearful of slander, ostracisation and letting my standards slip. Perhaps one day, when my cycling career is over, it might see the light of day, but for now it shall remain in the fog.

Group 3: The Long And The Short Of It

For a long 90k spin, the report is short. In the words of Van Morrison, “There be days like this”. I’d guess it was because of the dense fog!

Shaking off any cobwebs from the club Christmas celebrations, 10 members of group 3 headed towards Cappoquin, Lismore and Tallow. The group shared turns at the front making good progress until after Tallow, and the inevitable climb, when a slight change was made to the route due to thickening fog and poor visibility. No visit to Inch then but instead a slight detour to Ardmore this time enjoying bright winter sunshine! Home via Kiely’s Cross and the main road. In all a spin just shy of 90km and a respectable 28kph average. (Carol B.)


Group 3  descending the Sweep into Dungarvan
In the beginning there was no fog
Tip Of The Week: Clean & Maintain Your Bike

We had a mucky spin last Sunday, Dec 11th. Be sure to run a hose over your bike immediately afterwards. 30 seconds each side, after EVERY spin, but especially today. It’s much more difficult to get the muck off if you leave it until later

  • Every third week, the bike really will need a good thorough cleaning
  • If you don’t have time to do this, try to make time. Done properly it’s about 20- 30 minutes. 
  • Very likely, twice a year, get your bike serviced at your local bike shop. (Some will be able to do servicing themselves). A good time might be early autumn (Sept – October) and spring (March – April), but it all depends on usage. Perhaps one may be enough
  • You know it’s overdue if gears start slipping
  • There will always be an unexpected repair from time to time
  • Change your shoe cleats before they get worn

NOTE: for the very time-pressed cyclist, I’m offering thorough bike clean service. Deliver your bike to me, and I’ll deliver it back. If you are even more pressed for time, I offer a “Collect, Clean and Return” option. Private message me one-to-one if interested.

There are numerous good video clips from the guys at Global Cycling Network. These two will guide you to having the cleanest bike on the block.

To end this week, I am asking for feedback, dear readers. Please review the choices below to suggest a name for my BIKE. I’m not promising I’ll heed the feedback, but it will be processed over the Christmas, and the name emblazoned on the top-tube for a maiden spin in January.

Off-bike Fun This Week

My dose of off-bike entertainment this week comes also via a link from The Irish Examiner. Donald is set to appoint Breaking Bad anti-hero Walter White to head the Drug Enforcement Agency (the off-bike DEA) Be sure to watch the video within, “The Lead with Jake Tapper”)

To add a semblance of balance, I’ve chosen to add a gorgeous photograph snapped by Mícheál Burke (He’s my brother):

Winter scene at Knocknamaulee in the Comeragh’s

Until next week, happy biking and stay safe out there,


Follow @burkesbiking for all blog updates. Same goes for Instagram

*Irish Examiner. All rights reserved.

This Will Blow Your Mind: Mudguards and Etch-A-Sketch

Even at professional level, it is very obvious that some are climbers and others are not, so don’t get your chamois in a twist. Just get over it. Literally.

November 27, 2016

Picture it in your mind. A Dub carrying a Kerry jersey for nearly 50km. There is no lovelier sight anywhere in the sporting world. It may come close to Jose Mourinho (or Gearóid) wearing an Arsenal tie, or Enda Kenny wearing an Easter lily. But it gets much better. It gets better because the context is a Sunday morning club spin with Dungarvan Cycling Club.

There was a white-Christmasy feel last Sunday, even though it was still November. Our recently reformed Group 4 headed towards Ballinroad in freezing temperatures, only to discover that the sunny south-east reappeared, together with mild air and ice-less roads once they crossed the river Deelish at Barnawee Bridge.

The spin proceeded as planned, as this fine group of 11 settled in to concentrate on the mountain of advice they had been bombarded with. The men among them were focused on their chosen item of advice, each having chosen a different item. As a result, there was very little chat. Keith was super busy taking his new winter bike on a virgin ride. A bit squeaky in places, we thought, but an entirely beautiful machine. The ladies, being multi-tasking cyclists, nattered on and successfully implemented the entire range of instructions received over the previous two weeks, including (but not limited to) …

  • cycling directly behind the wheel
  • cycling behind the wheel at a safe distance
  • refusing to engage in half-wheeling
  • chatting about cycling
  • refusing to engage in crossing wheels
  • practising cycling closer to the cyclist beside
  • using the small ring most of the time
  • more  chatting about Peter from iBike in Killarney
  • passing safety calls up and down the group

Meanwhile, the menfolk stayed single-minded. This brings me neatly to the bike tip for this week.

Bike Tip This Week

Thus far our group have focused on the items above and these ones also:

  • Being very predictable within the group
  • Not moving from inside line to outside
  • Not SHOUTING, except in an emergency

Now, it’s time to mention the dreaded word “hills”. Akin to life, there will be ups and downs. Overcoming hills brings. personal satisfaction, perspiration and exasperation because lots of extra effort goes into getting up them. We can offer some advice here. Hills are meant to by cycled on an individual basis. Do not try to scale a hill by comparing yourself to others in the group. Why? Quite simply because some of us are strong on the flat, others on hills, some like short spins others like long (very long) spins. It’s got something to do with the spice of life. We are all different. You cycle a hill against yourself. If you get it into your head that you are not good at hills, you disempower yourself. Ask yourself three questions:

  1. Who am I trying to be better than?
  2. Will anyone think less of me if I am not first to the top?
  3. Will others in the group still share coffee with me long after the hill is over?

Here is a nice way of looking at hills. Everyone in Group 4 will be slower on hills than Group 3 (well, nearly everyone). The strongest in Group 3 will struggle on a hill with the best of Group 2. The strongest in Group 1 will meet his match going one step up the ladder. Even at professional level, it is very obvious that some are climbers and others are not, so don’t get your chamois in a twist. Just get over it. Literally. Feel the burn and keep the mind speaking gently. “This is my best, today.”

Kerry, Dublin and The Nire Phenomenon
All smiling back at Group 5

As Group 4 approached Griffin’s Garage the ladies requested a disrobing break. There were no objections to this. A DCC jersey was doffed and packed into a back pocket, followed by Karen’s Kerry kit (just the jersey, alas). Dubliner Declan zoomed into gentlemanly mode by offering to carry the jersey on his super-duper back carrier. This must have been a very difficult dilemma, gracefully offered.

What happened next will blow your mind! (I got that line from FB posts about stupid stuff, in an attempt to get an uninterested user to watch crappy videos). As we all know, Waterford senior football champions, The Nire, were due to play a Munster final against Kerry’s Dr. Crokes in Mallow later that afternoon. Not surprisingly, our noble Nire native, Tony, intended travelling. All well and good, and most of us wished them well. However, the daring Declan proceeded to cycle in front of Tony for much of the remainder of the spin (bit of bloggers licence here…. it was only sometimes), and the sight of the Kerry jersey was like a green and gold rag to a bull.

Line-dancing after coffee. It has that effect!

Being a fair-minded reporter, Keith wisely omitted the episode from the local papers. Here’s his summary, and we thank him for it.

Once again, due to low temperature, the official route had to be altered in case of possible frosting on the roads. A group of 11 riders braved the cold and took off in the direction of the 5 x roads. The group decided to take the GreenWay as far as Durrow and and slip off back onto the coast road as road temperatures were starting to rise. A steady controlled pace was set with the group having to be cautious at the Crooked Bridge and the tree lined quarry road, but as road conditions got better heading into Kilmacthomas the group decided to venture onto the backroads of Fews, Mahon Bridge, Killrossanty and finally into Leamybrien for a well-deserved coffee stop at Applegreen. Refueled and refreshed the group were back on the bikes for the final push home, taking their regular back road route to Durrow and onto Ballyvoille where the group had to show caution and care while descending. Onto the flat of the coast road, it was back to business with the group executing constant rollovers at a good steady pace into Ballinroad, then down the Military Road and back to Dungarvan with an Avg of 24.3 for a total distance of 66 km… Very well done to all in G 4. (Keith M.)

Chopping off helmets to get the full-on socks. #priorities
3G Roaming On The N25

In reality, I almost wish I’d been with Group 3 last Sunday. They had none of this Kerry / Dublin silliness. Rather, the cyclists’ Christmas wish-lists were discussed, agreed, composed and emailed using 3G data roaming along the N25 home from Port Láirge. Just for a moment, imagine the complexity of this, all the while holding a straight line using safe group skills.

See for yourself:

G3’s numbers were somewhat depleted on Sunday probably due to the ongoing cold snap. Road scout Declan brought the news that the coast road was devoid of frost enabling the group of 10 to set off on the planned route. Once at Ballinroad it was almost balmy conditions that engulfed us and it was a happy bunch that continued on the Bunmahon. As suspected the gaffer had untraveled territory for us to explore as a left after Bunmahon brought the group on a rollercoaster of a ride up and down (more ups than downs) the Glen road, the Watertower road finally reaching Dunhill. Our procession finally took us to the bright lights of the city and the gang’s first time to cycle the full Waterford link road. Once we turned for home the pace increased aided by lovely smooth road surfaces. Chat on Sunday was varied but we did have time to compile our Santa letter…a new helmet for Pascal (the excitement of being back in the saddle last week led to him leaving it in carpark), new eyewear for lady rider(designer preferably), mudguards for all and etch a sketch for the boss (stop him drawing lines on map my ride)! Another great spin 80k, 800m climbed, 26.2kph. (Carol B.)

I really do begin to wonder why on earth anyone in their right mind would want to cycle with Dungarvan Cycling Club! New eyewear? Whatever next?

Then There’s Group 5

In contrast, I’m reminded of the ever-sensible Group 5. We met them for coffee at “DCC Corner” in Leamybrien.

Group 5 are a much prettier group

This group also has its ear-to-the-ground reporter, who leaves no wheel unturned to get at the truth. Thank you, Rachel.

The welcoming and supportive nature of Group 5 was to the fore on Sunday morning. 3 returning riders with various ailments, or suffering from busyness were back in the saddle. As ever the group supported each other on a great spin out to Griffin’s Garage, Carrick Rd. The stop at Leamybrien where 3 Groups met up was very welcome – they’ll need to rename a corner there as DCC’s second home! Back via Durrow on a lovely calm day, 45km at a decent enough 19kph average speed. (Rachel N)

Dungarvan Cycling Club is based in County Waterford on the SE Irish coast and on the web at Dungarvan Cycling Club.


Appendix 1: after they won the cup, they broke it!

Dr Crokes’ Johnny Buckley breaks the handle of the cup after lifting it up. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho
Dr Crokes’ Johnny Buckley breaks the handle of the cup after lifting it up. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Appendix 2: Any offence taken by anyone to anything is unfortunate. The motivation has been unintentional. Don’t get your chamois in a twist.

Finally, on a further non-cycling note I came across a wonderful tweet on Twitter (yep, that’s what happens there) during the week, but you’ll need to be sharper than a Nire forward!


Until next week, be safe out there,


Instagram and Twitter @burkesbiking

The North Wind Doth Blow & Wafts of Frying Bacon

November 6, 2016
The previous two weekends had been very mild. We thought the sight of men (and women) in shorts was just a forgotten dream, yet there they were, bare-legged and smiling.

But the polar vortex was watching. Watching and waiting. It waited, and waited, and finally flung its icy arrows towards County Waterford on Saturday morning. Not content to stay just for a short visit, this devilish vortex from the polar north persisted into Sunday.

Undeterred, the wise cyclists of Dungarvan and round about were out in force. Force 6, I would say. No bare legs, arms or fingers today. Correction; there were 10 bare fingers on view. The wind was northerly, and it was wicked. As we say in Dungarvan, it was wicked strong. It was described to me over the phone later in the day as a “lazy wind” (*). When I continued the conversation without commenting on this lazy wind, my friend said to me:

D: You do know what a lazy wind is, don’t you?

Me: I’m sure you are going to tell me.

D: Well, a lazy wind is a wind that is too lazy to go around you. Instead, it goes right through you.

Our spin today in this polar vortex with the lazy wind brought us to the scenic seaside village of Ardmore, and the report is just in, hot off the presses.

The Ardmore Gallery & Studios

The Sunday group 23K spin took in 12 cyclists which included some from G4. The journey took us along the N72 turning left at the Welcome Inn and headed towards Clashmore and then onto Ardmore for coffee and scones in the Ardmore Gallery and Tearoom. The group were a little bit early but Breda looked after us with help from one of G23’s Anne; thanks Anne. After a relaxing short spell we headed for home with G4 heading off at a faster pace the remaining G23 cycled at a steady pace along road out of Ardmore and turned left towards Ring. The group turned left before Kiely’s Cross at the cross roads and headed at a steady climb towards the Seanachai were the group turned right and headed back onto the Ring road and headed for home. (Tony M) 


As agreed with G23, six Group 4 hillbillies tackled the spin home from Ardmore at a faster pace, managed by Páraig (aka Burkes Biking, Forrest Gump and other unprintable unmentionables), but to be fair, these hillbillies needed very little managing. The group cycled as one, with just two exceptions. The call was made from the Ardmore hairpin uphill to go hard if feeling good, and ditto at Ballintlea to John Paul’s. At all other times, this fine group cycled to support one another. Stronger cyclists were asked to hold back a little, to ensure that the group returned to Dungarvan together. All in all, a fine spin. Clear blue skies & happy faces throughout.

Also noteworthy today was the arrival of a lone cyclist to the rear of our group as we approached Ardmore. This well-known local restauranteur enjoyed our company and shelter before forging on alone while we diverted indoors to Betty’s hospitality. Such a short time he had with us. Gone with the lazy vortex wind. 

Group 3

In recent weeks I have abandoned my good comrades in Group 3 (The Famous Group). Abandoned may not, in fact, be the correct word, as I have merely moved to another great group of friends, and I’ll be back in the fold presently. In the meantime, the reports of goings-on within the group help keep me in touch, just in case I miss any of the scéalta móra (**) in my absence.

The captain’s armband was passed to John on Sunday as G3’s regular boss was on a well-earned break. In capable hands, the 14 strong group were off up the N25 turning left at Ring Cross, up Old Parish and down to the seaside village of Ardmore. The group welcomed a first-time visitor to our club/county Mark who was treated to magnificent scenery in brilliant winter sunshine. A puncture outside of all places but JJ’s cafe where the group were tantilized by the wafts of frying bacon as they waited for the maintenance crew to get Rob mobile again. Back in the saddle, it was onwards to Youghal where on starting the climb the group were assaulted by a very blustery north wind. The relentless gusts on roads with no shelter hindered the pace and progression home. An ease in Cappoquin quickened the step and all arrived back in Dungarvan safe and sound if a little slower than usual. Thanks to John for minding the gang so well. 14 in group, 90k in 26.4 kph. (Carol B)

Old Hat

My lazy take on last week’s Sunday spins (October 30th, 2016) involves merely copying the notes sent in via the ever-reliable group reporter.

The night is dark and full of terrors’…not so as a lovely Autumn morning heralded group 3’s Halloween spin on Sunday. 16 souls took off down the coast road towards Durrow and across to Carrick on what turned out to be not the straightforward route we had envisioned. At the bottom of Crehana Frank got spooked and turned for home, maybe he had a premonition of what lay ahead. A surprise left turn after Curraghduff brought the group on a new hill, weighing in at 16% gradient. All survived, a welcome stop at the crossroads for treats followed. A fast pace over to Carroll’s Cross and onwards to Kill. A very lively descent to Ballylaneen followed. At Griffins garage the group zig zagged back across the five cross roads where out of the shadows emerged the ghost of Frank. Tucked safely back in the fold it was a helter skelter trip back the coast road home. Welcome back to Group 3 regulars Benny and Philip this week. 16 in the group and 90 kilometres done at 28kph average speed. A brilliant spin yet again! (Carol B)

Did it Bother You?

Readers will be shocked that there is only one picture this week. I ask for your understanding in this matter. It is not easy to get a good photograph of a polar vortex. Equally, it is not appropriate to take a photograph of bare legs in such cold conditions. Veins start to pop and there are goosebumps on the goosebumps. Finally, I would have liked a good photograph of the frying bacon, it was not to be. I was 300 metres down the road at the time.

* I came upon a wonderful blog mentioning “lazy wind” from way back in 2009 near the top of a hill in a rural area of Derbyshire. It is worth a visit (both the blog and the top of the hill in Derbyshire, I’m sure). Material is copyrighted, and I want to acknowledge it as such. Just mention that @burkesbiking (Twitter) sent you.

** Scéalta móra = updates / gossip, sca.


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Safe cycling out there,



These captains did not get where they are today by being eejits. They’ve climbed the ladder of respect, and they pull fellow cyclists up, step by step.

How do we judge a “good” cycling club? There are many ways of doing just that, and many answers to the question. It depends on what “good” cycling means, and that’s so different for everyone.

One important aspect of good cycling is that there needs to be a structure in place, providing enjoyable activity for as wide as possible a cross-section of club members. In this regard, Dungarvan Cycling Club is tops.

Currently, there are five well-supported group spins every Sunday morning, as follows:

  • Group 1: racing members. Pace is anywhere from 32k upwards
  • Group 2: pace 30-32k
  • group 3: pace 27-28k
  • Group 23: pace is 23k (that’s why it’s called G23)
  • Group 5: pace approx 19-20k

Isn’t that very clever? What’s also clever is that anyone may hop up or down a group, depending on these factors:

  • current fitness level
  • targeting a big goal ahead
  • wine the previous evening
  • coughs, colds, splutters or gammy knee problems
  • not enough on a given day to form a viable group
  • mixing concrete (anyone in the construction sector can substitute some gardening for this)
  • wanting to cycle with your bike-loving partner, or maybe wanting to not cycle with your bike-loving partner
  • add your own reasons here. All Facebook comments accompanying this post will be edited in, provided they conform to Burkes Biking Profanity Policy.

To this list, I want to add one further item. I rarely upgrade (definitely no wine previous 48 hours) but like to downgrade, simply to cycle with different people. In addition to my comment about the great structure within our club, most will agree that all our cyclists are just nice people, out to enjoy the bike and all that brings with it.

Enjoying the refreshments outside Mace Lismore. They know all about biker-bench-syndrome.

Last Sunday I downgraded myself. I joined Group 23 for a great 66k spin around West Waterford, with coffee and one sausage roll to assist with the headwind home.  The official DCC group captain’s log states:

11 cyclists took to the road for Sunday mornings Group23K/4 spin. They headed up the N72 on a breezy chilly morning turning left at the Welcome Inn and headed for Kereen were they turned right and headed to Villierstown and onto Lismore via Dromana and Cappoquin. They stopped for coffee at Lismore.  After re-energising themselves they headed out of Lismore town in the direction of Deerpark and then onto Cappoquin were they headed home against a strong breeze. The group captain would like to commend all 10 cyclists that made the spin an enjoyable and safe one and especially made his job as captain an easy one. The distance was 64km at an average speed of 22.6kph. (Tony M)

To be sure, I’ll be joining them again. They all enjoy their cycling, and “have the craic” along the way.

In Mallorca, its not cricket to leave your helmet on the table. Best just keep it on your head?


I sometimes use a nifty add-on to my cycling technology called RELIVE. It gives a birds eye view of the route, collected by the DCC drone in the sky. If you zoom in very closely, you will see the helmets on the table!

Click to run the video / amimation

While G23 headed west, my Group 3 went t’other way, and despite my absence, the rolling reporter reported back to me, just to let me know what I was missing.

On a very blustery but bright Sunday morning Group 3 were off on a field trip to the botanical gardens of Mount Congreve (well the general area anyway) on what one rider described as a very circuitous route!! What the group didn’t anticipate was in order to smell the roses there were a lot of nasty climbs to overcome. Climbing from the outset it was up the N25 to Lemybrien, over to Mahon Bridge and off across the peaks and troughs of Fews, Kilmac, up the five cross roads and up the “Mountcongreve Hill sprint” all 8% of it. A quick pit stop at the garden gates which happened to be closed so no botany lessons followed. Back in the saddle it was onwards and more ups to Kill, Bunmahon and the coast road home. An unexpectedly tough spin not at all helped by the relentless head wind for most of the spin but most enjoyable just the same. Kudos to our captain who never fails to turn up interesting and untraveled roads. 14 in the group, 900m climbing and 95k at 26.5kph. (Carol B)

Reading back through some of the recent Sunday Spin reports, it’s very clear to me that several important things are being done correctly in order to ensure that things run smoothly. First and foremost is that each group has a leader on the road. These captains did not get where they are today by being eejits. They’ve climbed the ladder of respect, and they pull fellow cyclists up, step by step. Equally, each group has a card-carrying journalist in their midst, watching and listening for worthwhile gaffes along the way! If you prefer not be mentioned in these insightful summaries, please cycle at the back at all times, and keep your mouth firmly dúnta.

Finally, unrelated to cycling, this gave me a great laugh during the week. What to you call a sheep with no legs? Answer: A cloud!

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And now finally, finally, anyone wishing to join us please be aware that biking is really good fun. You’ve got to be up for it. Take a peek at the upcoming Hallowe’en spins, courtesy of the DCC website & FB page:

“Plenty of chills and thrills on offer from DCC this Halloween weekend. Join us on our spooky spins…

  • Sat Club Spin: Ride with the ‘Friends of Frankenstein’ departing Kilrush at 9am. Lismore , Knockanore, Youghal Bridge, Geosh , Mountstuart, Kielys X, Old Parish. A spin for all!. 90 km avg 26 /28.
  • Sunday Club Spins Civic Office Plaza 9.00am
  • G2: ‘Bats out of Hell’ are flying to Colligan, Halfway House, Mill street, Cappoquin, Villierstown, Clashmore, Ardmore, Old Parish 95k
  • G3: ‘A haunting we will go’ taking in Durrow, Lemybrien, Crehana, Curraghmore, Carrolls cross, Kill, Ballylaneen, Kilmac, Griffins garage, 5 crossroads, Home. 90k
  • G23/4: ‘The Boo Crew’ will spin to Durrow, 5 Cross Road, Seafield, Kilmac, Mahon Bridge, Leamybrien, Knockeylan, Durrow, Home. 68k
  • G5: ‘Trick or Treat’ with group 5 to the Welcome Inn, Villierstown, Cappoquin, Lismore (coffee), Cappoquin home main road 50km. New people Welcome Inn, Kilmolash, Capppoquin, Lismore. Spin is at a very steady pace nobody left behind. All welcome.
  • Best wishes to club members taking part in Nire Valley Drop and Dublin City Marathon. Have a terror-ific weekend folks.”

Until next week, safe cycling out there.