S: Yer man. Would ya look at him! Thinks he’s god almighty. Thinks all dem drivers can see him.
C: But shur, you can see him and I can see him. Wha’s de problem, like?
S: You wouldn’t see a problem if it chased you up a bleedin hill! I’m tellin ya now… He’s gonna be a dead problem right soon.
C: Sounds bad, Spider.
S: I mean like, how bleedin much does it cost to put a light on that bleedin bike?
C: My fella had a light on a bike once, but it got nicked. Never again, he sez.
S: I mean like, isn’t there all dem Road Safety Authority tele videos? You’d think he’d take heed?
C: Who? My fella? He wouldnt’ listen to himself!
S: No, ya dope. Yer man on da bike. Look, he’s gone now. Invisible as a bleedin dodo. I mean like, what is he, maybe 100 yards up the bleedin road, and we can’t even see his arse! Can you? He’s gonna get himself bleedin killed.
C: They gave it a new name. Did ya know that?
S: Wha? Who?
C: The powers that be figured out tha de Road Safety Authority wann’t workin, so they called it…
S: Too right tinn’t workin!. Tinn’t workin for yer invisible dodo up de road. What are they callin it now?
C: Ammm… TII. It’s something something Ireland. Stop the bikes. I’ll google it. I need a break. This cough is gettin to me.
S: I just can’t believe yer man woundn’t hang a few lights on the bleedin bike. Is he savin electricity or wha? I betcha he’s one of dem bleedin naturists.
C: No, your thinkin of somethin else there, Spider. Naturists is dem fellas what wears nothin. Ya couldn’t be a Irish naturist biker! Not with a wind like tha.
S: He’d be grand in da fog, shur, wouldn’t he? Nobody’d see him.
C: Got it. Google sez Transport Inftastructure Ireland. It’s very specific. Would he listen to that, I wonder.
S: Nah, tha way yer man is headin, the only thing he’ll listen to is a fuckin chapel bell. And he’ll be dead so he won’t even hear that.
C: Will we push on again? I want to be home for de spuds.
S: We will, girl. Maybe if we push on harder, we’ll catch that invisible dodo, and we’ll give him a little earful.
C: Ya know, I think he won’t listen to two oul wans. He’s feckin bionic.
S: We’ll sneak up, all quiet like, and scream like bejaysus. That might shake him up a bit.
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.
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!
When out on the spin there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my saddle to see what was the matter. Away to the front I made a quick dash, And steadied the half-wheeling chap in a flash.
Saturday, December 31, 2016.
The Christmas excesses are now stored as fat, and given that a mental fog has persisted, today’s piece is very short. Gone is the advice column and the spin reports. Perhaps also the attempt to find an angle to an incident is beyond my state. Fear not, however, because fog is sometimes a breeding ground for poetry. Yes, poetry, albeit stolen and relicensed.
‘Tis the day before New Year and all through the house
not a Bisto was stirring, not even a turbo….
‘Tis the day before New Year, and all through the den
Not a turbo is turning, not even a wren.
The STOCKINGS were hung by the top-tube with care,
In hopes that BurkesBiking soon would be there;
Group 4* were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of 160 danced in their heads;
And ladies in longs, and I in my velo,
Had cycled our brains out for a long winter’s (Audax) solo,
When out on the spin there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my saddle to see what was the matter.
Away to the front I made a quick dash,
And steadied the half-wheeling chap in a flash.
That was the end of the half-wheeling from that day forward. Yet, the dense fog remains!
Bicycling isn’t just a matter of balance… It’s a matter of faith. You can keep upright only by moving forward. You have to have your eyes on the goal, not the ground. I’m going to call that the Bicyclist’s Philosophy of Life. (Susan Vreelan)
December 23, 2016.
The storm has arrived. It’s only our second storm of the winter, and it’s called Storm Barbara. I’ve waited for it. Normally, I’ve attempted to get the latest Burkes Biking article online by Wednesday each week. This week is different, though. I’m extra busy, but now that the wind and rain are all around, just two days before Christmas, I’ve taken time out from the busyness to sit and write. Time out from wrapping gifts, endless cycling, tidying my room and preparing sherry trifle while trying out the Baileys cream. There are thirty-seven other jobs that need doing, but right now I want to write during the storm.
Mostly, I just want to write about bike stuff and other STUFF. Nothing unusual there, but as Christmas draws near, there are things that need to be said.
The Shortest Day
The mid-winter solstice has passed and we are once more drawing nearer to the sun. It is my 58th time to make the trip. This is a time for setting targets looking to brighter days ahead. There will be many targets on my horizon for 2017. Given continued good health, I am certain to achieve some and hopeful of others. There will be a wise (!?) mix of the challenging and the purely enjoyable.
Sometimes Less Is More
I’m planning to do more, and I’m going to set my sights high. I will be attempting a 600km ride during the coming year. The build-up to this has already started and will continue as soon as Barbara has moved away. Yet, in my build-up to the monstrous mileage in my head, there will be time for short easy cycling with my wife and friends. Here in Dungarvan we are most fortunate to have the Greenway on our doorstep, so I’ll be a regular to Kilmac for coffee. I’ll be more than content to cycle slowly at perhaps 20kph. It’s there I relax and recharge.
I’ll be a regular with Group 4 on Sundays. I’ll dip my toe into other Sunday groups from time to time just for the added spice, and I’ll be on a regular monthly monster with other regular monthly monsters. This mix of long and short, fast and slow, challenging and easy will feature here through the coming year.
Banter And Craic
Cycling is a very time-intensive pastime. It could be difficult to make small talk for three hours in a group. Fortunately, the answer is simple: cycle with cyclists who enjoy the craic*. As adults, there’s a strong tendency to take ourselves too seriously. The old Irish saying “Giorraíonn beirt bóthar” (The journey is shorter with two together) is even more apt when two or twenty-two can laugh at themselves.
Space For Reflection
When I am on my bike I am close to God. Nowhere do I feel the connection to be as meaningful. I am alive. When I cycle alone I can reflect with gratitude for everything in my life. When with others, I can connect with those who share my passion. At times we can talk a lot of horse manure, but there’s a deep level where we are united in friendship. In fact, we are community in minding one another.
It’s time to have a few days off the bike: time for family and loved ones, time to gaze into an open fire, time to be thankful. I recently saw a cute fridge magnet and written on it was:
We haven’t got it all together, but together we have it all.
I wish you a Happy Christmas. Don’t forget to tidy your room. The great biker in the sky is circling!
Those are my thoughts this Christmas week, yet there are wiser heads than mine. Here are the words of three others:
Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain. (Vivian Greene)
Bicycling isn’t just a matter of balance… It’s a matter of faith. You can keep upright only by moving forward. You have to have your eyes on the goal, not the ground. I’m going to call that the Bicyclist’s Philosophy of Life. (Susan Vreelan)
My theory on housework is, if the item doesn’t multiply, smell, catch fire, or block the refrigerator door, let it be. No one else cares. Why should you? (Erma Bombeck)
We’re almost there, fellow bikers. Just two more snippets:
Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, doesn’t come from a store. (Dr. Seuss)
Traditionally, Dungarvan Cycling Club has supported the Lion’s Club at Christmas, and so it came to pass that Ray McAndrew and his club members arrived to bid us safe journey this morning. We had emptied our pockets in order to be as light as possible for our spins, knowing that our donations to this very worthy cause would be put with so many other donations from the people of Dungarvan and West Waterford for disbursement over Christmas. As arranged, some arrived at the Civic Offices bedecked for the Santa Ride. Noticeable it was too, that the lower the group number, the greater the effort! I suppose it’s understandable really because faster-flying cyclists cannot be hindered by unnecessary attachments, whereas the slower-paced among us actually benefit from baggage because it helps to keep the pace slow.
Here, I quote the acccount of the club PRO, Pat.
A great turnout of over 70 cyclists turned up across all the groups with many cyclists and bikes decked out in festive attire. Special mention must be given to our secretary Rose on her effort complete with working fairy lights, to Padraig who put great effort into his Santa outfit and Gearoid for his tie!
I took some time (2.4 seconds approx.) to get a suitable link outlining the effect of loose clothing, and include a short video. This is the bike tip for the week:
Then, for the sake of balance, and understanding that some cyclists have other priorities, I was impressed by a feedback comment to the above:
I’d rather be comfortable and look less ridiculous and get to the cake shop a minute later. If such tiny issues bother a rider then they have no business eating cake anyway. (Joeinpoole)
Group 4 Trip to Tallow
The Group 4 spin was a long one this week. Following the master’s plan (see below), a fine group of 11 pushed gently on the N72 to Lismore and Tallow via the very picturesque Dromana Drive, weighed down by tinsel, tossels and ties. Several items of interest along the way were noted:
as agreed, the spin proceed very slowly from the departure point as far as Powersfield House (2k) in order to assist with gentle warming of cold hamstrings
as agreed also, the group regrouped at Kereen Bar to admire the gorgeous greenery and at Dromana Bridge to make a wish at the Finnisk
the pace downhill to Tallow was at a controlled pace, but two cyclists (no names please!) were reindeered in for being unaware of our downhill policy (see below)
Santa met with a surprised child in Tallow, while others spent time petting four dogs on their pre-Christmas morning dog-trot
Following the mandatory coffee (at the coffee-stop), and photograph this week at the tree, on they sped rapidly towards Camphire Bridge. A teacher of mine once insisted that this phrase should be included in every essay. In fact the full version was: “On they sped rapidly, up hill and down dale”. We did indeed have some hills and dales, yet they were not as much of a hindrance as the mucky road surface back to the banks of the Blackwater.
From Cappoquin to Dungarvan the pace was kept very steady because we knew our cyclists would have a really busy week ahead. There was a brief agreed skirmish from Richmond House to Affane, with no prizes on offer. Had there been even a small prize, it might have been contested more vigorously.
Quote of the day:
Would ya look at then two Yorkshire terriers half-wheeling!
Wise advice from the Mucky Road:
A bad attitude is like a flat tyre. You can’t get anywhere unless you change it.
Distance: 82k. Pace: 24.4kph. Enjoyment by common consensus: top class. Entertainment & costumes: A+
Room for improvement: The group might consider attending an online foundation writing course, as our reliably talented group reporter was unavailable on the day, and the short straw finally fell to Burkie, aka Burkes Biking.
Group 4 Constitution
Group 4 downhill policy: riding ahead of the group by breaking ranks in order to race downhill is not advised, simply because it may tempt less capable bike-handlers. We do advise cycling at a faster pace (obviously on downhill) while widening the gap between bikes.
Group 4 monthly plan:
week 1 is hilly
week 3 is long
everything in-between is normal easier. (There is no normal within Group 4)
Mince Pies For Group 3
G3’s pre Christmas spin had a festive flavour on Sunday with some strands of tinsel and Santa hats in evidence. After the annual Lions club collection it was back to the job in hand and 16 jolly elves and Mrs Claus set off up Colligan and across the Mill st stretch. Before Cappoquin a left turn towards Villierstown. A quick word from the oncoming G5 warned the group about a gathering of the local coursing club further along the road and the necessary speed reduction was enforced. Safely bypassed it was onwards towards Aglish and a detour at Geosh across the mountain to Kiely’s cross. The party season took its toll on some here but the group soldiered on across Old Parish and homewards. Brilliant to have Patrick who crossed oceans to join us on Sunday and Walter along for the spin. Thanks to Captain Claus who further enhanced the festive feeling by arranging a rare coffee stop for the group. Huge appreciation to G3 member Kevin Forde for looking after us so well with complimentary coffee and pies! G3 would like to wish all our riders a very happy Christmas and we look forward to seeing you all further up the road in the New Year! (Carol B.)
G23 : 2 cyclists flew the flag for group 23 on their Sunday spin. The group followed G4 until Master McGrath where the group turned right and headed on the Clonmel road towards Colligan and past Beary’s cross and towards the turn for Millstreet. After turning left the group headed through millstreet and onto the Welcome inn were the group turned right and headed through Cappoquin and onto Lismore were a coffee stop was needed. The group met with G5 and joined them for coffee and a chat. After refuelling we prepared to head home. The group joined G5 for a short distance and then picked up pace and headed for home Distance 65.8km an avg 22.4km (Anthony M)
The last Group 5 spin before Christmas saw 8 seasonally decorated riders out on a lovely calm December Sunday. An uneventful start brought them to the Welcome Inn and then onto Villierstown. Care was needed coming down onto Dromana Bridge as a large number of cars, people and dogs were gathering for coursing. The timing was good as it meant Group 5 were able to warn speedy Group 3 of the gathering as they were flying down the hill. A brief stop before Cappoquin for an emergency banana led the group to decide to head straight for Lismore. A promise of rhubarb and strawberry pie led them up the hill, but no Farmer’s Market was to be seen. The group headed back to Houlihan’s where happily hot drinks and fine food were consumed with the welcome company of G23k. Back to Cappoquin the group encountered another big group of pedestrians and parked cars, a salutary reminder that care must always be taken as people are leaving Mass. Tight rollups brought the group home to Dungarvan with a chorus of Jingle Bells astonishing passers by! A lovely 58km at 19.3kph, Merry Christmas to all from Group 5. (Rachel N.)
A JUNIOR CYCLIST’S PERSPECTIVE FROM GOING ON THE TRACK
It was an early start on Friday the 18th of November, for me excited was an understatement that day. If you didn’t know, Aoibhe Power and I both from Dungarvan Cycling Club (DCC) went to Alkmaar, Holland for a training camp with Women’s Commission of Cycling Ireland in a velodrome. The days leading up to the trip were the most exciting yet nervous ones for me. I would be meeting girls from all over Ireland, the organisers of the trip and travelling with them to Holland by myself and let me tell you, what an amazing adventure it was!
Day 1: Friday, 18th November
It began in Dublin airport where all I could see were people rushing and racing frantically to catch their flights. We met up with the organisers and all of the girls and within 5 minutes of being with them in the queue to check-in, I knew this would be a great weekend! I would get to experience track cycling and a new country – Holland!
My first view of The Netherlands was from the air, where I spotted a massive wind-farm in the sea. I had learned in geography that the Dutch use their waterways for everything and they sure do!
My second impression was in Schipol airport, where I managed to buy a refreshing smoothie and a brown roll for €1.80!! While I thought this was great, it still didn’t stop the group from trying to find the nearest ‘Burger King’ of which there are many, just like at home! The bus drive from the airport to the hotel was a pretty weird sensation. Firstly, I couldn’t get over how flat the land was, and secondly how many wind-farms we passed, I lost count there were so many! Once we had arrived in the local town Alkmaar, I began to notice all the bicycles, literally, bikes, bikes and more bikes! It’s incredible how it’s the ‘norm’ over there.
After checking in to our hotel we hopped on the local bus to the velodrome for a training session with the great Herman. I was about to experience my first ever time on this sort of (what I thought) Death Wall! I looked up at the curved walls that were towering over me and thought to myself how will I ever get up on that? I was so nervous on the track bike too, (no gears, no brakes!) I’ll never forget it! Lots of the girls on the trip had been on a track before, so some even considered themselves track cyclists. For some others and I, Herman warned us of the basic rules us ‘roadies’ would have to follow whilst cycling on the track. At this point I still couldn’t get the thought of falling off the bike out of my head! I soon learned from the others that had been on previous trips, that Herman never took ‘no’ as an answer. Even when I told him I was nervous, especially going up on the high wall he never took ‘no’ for an answer. I soon got over my fear. Before I knew it I was flying around the track! I was comfortable on the bike now; I just had to keep peddling!
Day 2: Saturday, 18th November
The 7am breakfast in our hotel was very healthy, not quite your average Irish fry-up! We got the bus straight to the velodrome, for another incredible training session.
That afternoon we were all lucky enough to go back to the velodrome to see the Holland Nationals. I thought all the racers were semi-professionals until I realised that these were the juniors (U18’s) and I thought to myself how fast they were! It was unbelievable. Having been at the velodrome twice that day, by the evening, all of us were absolutely wrecked!
Day 3: Sunday, 19th November
Before we knew it, it was our last day. It was sad having to leave Alkmaar, but on the other hand, I couldn’t wait to see and tell my family about the amazing experience I had. We left the hotel and headed for another very early track session. This day was my favourite as we did lots of different races including team pursuits and individual ‘flying 200’s. At this stage of the weekend, I was really comfortable on the bike and wasn’t a bit nervous!
I found Sunday great for learning more about racing on the track because as you can imagine, it’s extremely technical! Once the training and racing came to an end it was time for the presentation and prizes on the podium. Aoibhe was delighted when she got a prize for winning the Omnium which was a fantastic achievement for her.
As a relative newbie, I was super excited to receive a jersey for the most improved rider of the weekend camp, who would have thought? All in all not a bad outing for the juvenile DCC girls! As well as having a great time cycling I made lifelong friends who share the same interest as myself and I hope to meet up with them soon for the 2017 race season.
I would especially like to thank the Women’s Commission of Cycling Ireland, and especially Orla Hendron and her team who organised the weekend for us and of course Herman our coach.
I really hope that the Government will build a velodrome in Ireland in the near future so that all riders can experience what I experienced! I couldn’t believe how fast the weekend had gone! It was definitely one of the best weekends EVER! It has been almost three weeks now though and I am still craving track!
Elia Tutty (right) is a junior cyclist with Dungarvan Cycling Club, Barracuda’s Swim Club in Dungarvan and West Waterford Athletics Club. Elia participates in a wide range of events locally and nationally.
Aoibhe Power (left) is a junior cyclist with Dungarvan Cycling Club and similarly, participates in local and national events.
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.
And so to the bread-and-butter of some of the spins last weekend:
Group 4 On Tour
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!”
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.)
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.