There is one companion you will always have on a cycle in Ireland.
I am not talking about yourself, the cyclist. This isn’t an existentialist blog as such. More à la carte than Descartes.
Nor are we talking about the bike. If you go out for a cycle and discover that you have left your bike at home, then you are not actually going out for a ride, but instead have subconsciously decided to go for a walk. You may in fact fit into the first category of not being alone with yourself. This is a psychological condition, and therefore whilst out for a walk (without your bike), pop into your GP.
We are also not talking about appalling roads, but these too are your trusty companion whenever you put feet to pedals in this glorious Emerald Isle. On the plus side, where else can you combine cycling with potholing? This new adventure sport is ripe to be exploited by Discover Ireland. Watch this space. Well, a space somewhere. Actually, maybe just concentrate on the road in front of you for man-eating cavernous crevices.
Speaking of watching the road, also keep an eye out for crazy drivers. We don’t have a monopoly on these in Ireland, though I suspect we have more than our fair share. I admit as an occasional driver, that I am not a fan of the lycra-clad groups who insist on cycling three abreast. Safety yes, but one shouldn’t deliberately irritate the already over-stressed, over-taxed Irish motorist who generally is not aware that the sticky out bit under the steering wheel is called an indicator. But no, even traffic is not always your companion on the road.
Rubbish can be found in many places (rarely where it’s supposed to be) but no, it’s not rubbish.
Some days, it’s just you, your bike and the open road. No cars, no potholes, and no rubbish.
And the f**king wind.
Yes, there is almost never an instance when you can escape the wind when you live on a little rock on the edge of the Atlantic. (That’s Ireland, for anyone living in Denver, Colorado or Chernyshevsky in the Sakha Republic). Regardless of what the weather looks like when you set out, that gentle breeze seems to sense you as you sit into the saddle. It even manages to stay in your face sometimes, regardless of which direction you are going. It takes cyclonic weather patterns to the extreme.
I do appreciate the real cyclists don’t have this issue. Not for them the rage of cycling into the rotten teeth of a strong wind that just laughs and laughs until you want to jump off your bike and throw it in a ditch. But as I mentioned before, I am not really a cyclist. I just own a bike. And some cycling gear.
For the record, I had a good spin today, as per pic. Nothing too exciting by way of average speed but I did get over 60km/h (without falling off), coming down the back end of Lyons Hill, so that’s good. And yes, the bloody wind was my faithful companion wherever I went.
Apologies to Liam Neeson for such flagrant abuse of his image. Mind you, I watched Taken 2, and I won’t get those hours back, ever, so I feel I have some cause. Also, had Liam actually been the wind guy in Aesop’s fable, then he would have blown that traveller off the road, coat and all. The sun wouldn’t have got a look in. No doubt about it. Tough blokes in Ballymena, so they are!