A journey is of no merit unless it has tested you. (Tahir Shah, In Search of King Solomon’s Mines)
Saturday, 11th February, 2017.
Weather: severe cold with strong north-east wind.
Our February long spin headed towards Kilkenny on a cold windy morning. Tom, Declan and I were accompanied by Tony on his maiden Audax 180k. Fortunately we also had the company of Ray, Johnny and Benny for the initial 40k to Waterford. This turned into a 50k spin because Declan broke a pedal (right pedal to be precise) and after a few kilometres of pedal-in pedal-out, he decided to divert home for a replacement. The rest of the group cycled on to Griffin’s Garage and turned right to meet with him again just at Five Cross Roads. The three lads doing the shorter spin were very good to us, staying on the front for the entire journey to Waterford while we sat protected from the wind, avoiding exposure as much as possible
As they turned for home, we realised how much work they had done and how much work lay ahead of us. In fact, having negotiated our way through the city, we faced an even stronger headwind for a full 50k to Ballyhale, Stoneyford and Kilkenny. For this section we decided to ride single-file so that three would be able to shelter behind the leader, and we rotated every few minutes. Anyone who has cycled this road will know that it is very slightly uphill for the first 20k, but there is a lovely slight descent most of the way to Kilkenny after that.
Tired and cold, we sat in for a beautiful lunch at an Italian restaurant just beside the Nore bridge in the city centre. How lovely to be served good fresh food rather than pre-cooked fare. Each of us had soup followed by lasagna, and departed for the return journey in good spirits. The fantastic tailwind blew us on towards Callan and Carrick, and as soon as we reached the top of the climb at Crehana we knew it was plain sailing from there. On the final leg we ramped up the pace a bit to Durrow and once we viewed the sea at Ballyvoile we pushed on harder still to the finish.
About: – Páraig is the author of BurkesBiking. He has completed many 200k events, and is hoping to try Audax Ireland long-distance cycling up to 600k. If there’s any time to spare, Paraig also has a gardening blog at Petals by Paraig.
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.