Author Archive (Garry)

Follow up to 'A pound of Perseverence is worth a Ton of Talent' – two years on

After the end of the last post, Lizzie had a mixed year in 2011. She won a lot of races in the beginning of the year, including the Ballycotton Ten, THE big road race in Munster. In the middle of the year her mileage was increased and she had a dip in form, but this […]

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The Zen of Cycletouring, or Cycling for that matter

It was September 21st last and I had breakfast in Le Croix d'Or, as I remember the name of the hotel in Chateauneuf du Faou in Brittany. This was the last day of a six-day solo tour I made, my first solo one for about 10 years. The previous night I had eaten in the […]

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A bag, my kingdom for a bag, forsooth

That omniscient non-taxpaying songwriting crow, Bono, may not have found what he's looking for, but I think that I may have. I've been flying with my bike since 1990 and in that time due to having to fly quite often, two, three, or more legs in a flight (like Cork-London-Barcelona-La Coruna) I've had oodles of […]

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Magnum Opus

Not split into pages. It's best viewed as a single page using the up and down arrows to navigate. The weather is very bad for cycling, so I've been going through old cycle-touring photos of which I've literally thousands, and have picked some to present; I'll have something to say about many of them...

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Speed Wobble from Hell

I've known about the phenomenon of speed wobble for well over 25 years and know that it's not the fault of the bicycle, that it is a natural phenomenon and that it can be corrected by shifting your weight on the bicycle. A similar phenomenon can be seen, apparently, when towing a trailer in a […]

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BandonInnishannon Reluctobike…

Tuesday. On my tod. Cloud. Bah! Strong westerly wind. Humbug! Tired..Sigh. Pfaff around until bigbad boredombites. Mrs.Lee golfing. Harrumph! Pull out the old rechained sprocketturnedThorn. Enthusiasmfreezone. Goongetgoing. NononoIwon't. Justdoit. Huh!

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Is maol gualainn gan bráthair

This is an old Irish saying and what it says literally, that a shoulder is bare without a brother. What it means is that it's lonely if you don't have someone with you, i.e., at your shoulder. But what interests me about it is that it expresses something that I think is very relevant to […]

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Brittany, Breizh, Bretagne, An Bhriotáin, whatever! Roscoff, Quimper, Brest, Roscoff

I'd been cycling in Brittany in the past, perhaps eight or nine times. My friend Mick Lehane had only been there once and twisted my arm for a late autumn tour as he hadn't been touring this year, so the Cork-Roscoff ferry was booked and off we went. The wonderful view of Cobh and its […]

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A Count Enchancer

Despite its dangers, and they are real, there are several major pleasures you can get from cycling. There is the buzz you get from a good but not excessive workout, there is the sensual pleasure of a warming sun on your bones and the wind in your face, there is the thrill of going around […]

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A word from the old dog!

Today it was a beautiful day and I went on a long complicated hilly cycle on a new complicated hilly route, most of which I'd cycled before, but some of the roads not for years, and most of them as parts of other rides. It consisted of 60 miles, 3100ft of climbing and was cycled […]

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A short story of a bicycle chain…

I got my Ridley carbon fibre bike when I retired and have not used it a lot. I told, I think, in an earlier posting about how it had a 10speed chain with a 9-speed link, fitted by the factory which caused a lot of trouble until I diagnosed it and got a new chain […]

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Westport to Achill – an appraisal of the Great Western Greenway

This is, as we say in Cork (and I believe in Liverpool also) a span new cycleway. It's 44 km long or 26 miles in a Christian measure. It is off-road but on surfaced tracks apart from a 1 mile section near Achill Sound and a perhaps 2 mile section on the Westport side of […]

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Coast to Coast to Coast – Snorkel cycling

IN 2010 I repeated the CTC Lejog with a very nice crowd of people and stayed in touch with some of them via Facebook and email. One of them, the character of the group, one Roger Davies proposed a reunion short tour from Whitehaven to North Shields, so eight agreed to participate, including my wife […]

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The Leather Saddle from Hell; Put through Purgatory; Now Heaven!

Mick gave me a "present" of a Brooks Professional Saddle which he had failed to break. I'd bought my racing bike, a carbon fibre Ridley Orion with a synthetic saddle on it and surprise surprise had found it not bad at all, but not as comfortable for me as leather. I've used leather saddles almost […]

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Stephen Roche knew a thing or two

Stephen Roche from Dublin was outrageously talented as a cyclist. As a young 18yr old in the Irish Milk Race, he was so much better than anyone else that they used to let him off in the morning and have their own race behind him. He won easily. When he was looking for a pro […]

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The Beara Pilgrimage

I've cycled the fabled Ring of Beara maybe ten times in all. This was described in an old CTC book about bike touring as "probably the best one day tour in the British Isles". That it surely is. The full ring varies from 90 to about 105 miles depending on how much you take in. […]

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Pumping tyres with valve extensions on the tubes

Lizzie borrowed a pair of carbon wheels for a duathlon she's doing on Saturday and asked me to pump them. They are V-sections carbon rims with long funny-looking valve extensions. I couldn't get a decent connection, or so it seemed, to inflate the tyres hard enough. Tried various pumps. I could get them hard but […]

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The Santa Ponza or Torremolinos Bag

I'm not hugely into style. I'll rephrase that. I don't care about style. I prefer function. I've owned many bicycles in my time, certainly more than 30, but I've never bought hugely expensive stylish bikes for the sake of style. On the other hand, I'm keen on function. I've bought all sorts of cycling clothes, […]

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Cycling in Corkwall

My friend Mick has gone to London for a fortnight so today I decided to do some exploration on my own, rather than going out with another friend. What I love about being on my own is that I can stop when I want, as often as I want and feel no pressure. I love […]

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Cycling Light Horse

What the hell does that title mean? All will be revealed, presently. My father was from the Glen of Aherlow in Co.Tipperary, a lovely valley at the foot of Galteemore, the highest of the Galtee Mountains, and for you lovers of mountains, a Munro. Aherlow is correctly pronounced Aherla, as the name Aherlow was coined […]

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The Right Time in the Right Place

Every place has its best season. If you cycle in Andalucia in the spring the fields will be dappled with gorgeous wild flowers, the grass will usually be green and it will look 1000 times more beautiful than it does in autumn, when everything is brown, brittle and withered. I had often imagined Extremadura to […]

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A Pound of Perseverance is worth a Ton of Talent

This is only peripherally about cycling, but what the heck? I've the flu, I'm stuck indoors and I've got to do something!

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Cycling Cork to Westport August 2010

Our son Tom and his lady wife, the lovely Tracey went to live in Westport Co.Mayo, recently, so we decided to cycle there to see them, having a short bike tour en route. We'd covered this territory some years ago and Listowel is the obvious first port of call, but on this occasion we decided […]

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A day on the Col d'Izoard, watching the Giro d'Italia, 1994

In 1994, I and 5 or 6 friends cycled from Strasbourg to Nice. This is not a long account of that tour, or even a short account of it. It's just a memory of one particular day. A couple of the lads, Paul Harte and Mick Sweeney, I think, decided that after leaving Briancon, we […]

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Cycle tour in Sardinia, 2003

An Account of a Tour of Sardinia March 4th-12th inclusive, 2003. I decided to refurbish this account as it was originally published without photos. At the time, you couldn't put photos in an article on Usenet. Introduction. I and my wife Mary are experienced cycletourists. We do little else for holidays and this tour was […]

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The Guadiana Loop

I've been in Ayamonte, on the Atlantic Coast of Andalusia, or Andalucia, for the past three weeks. We bought an apartment here 4 years ago and come out here for breaks. It's too hot in high summer, but for the rest of the year, the weather is, on average, much better than at home. It's […]

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Castlegregory Seven Frogs Triathlon

Castlegregory is a village on the Northern Side of the Dingle Peninsula in Co.Kerry. There is a small peninsula north of it usually referred to as the Magharees (from the islands off it. Magharee = Machairí (same word as Machair in Scots Gaelic) and means plain, prairie etc). At the tip there's a village called […]

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Progress is a double-edged sword

I've been cycling at a "serious" level for about 29 years and at some level, all my life. It has repeatedly struck me in the past four or five years that this country has gone downhill quite a lot for the leisure cyclist, in the last 20 years. The causes are multiple, as are the […]

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Favourite Cycletouring Photos

I'm idle this morning and am to photograph a wedding for a former work colleague after lunch, so my thoughts strayed to photographs. These are some of my favourites from cycling.

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CTC Lejog 2010

Day Minus One I repeated Lejog with the CTC this year, having done it last year, also in July. British cyclists are obsessed with this tour and indeed there are finer tours you can do in Britain, but this one has the feather-in-the-cap element and I think that that's the attraction. I decided around Christmas […]

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Video of tyre folding

Right over left, loop up, right under left, loop down. That's how to remember it. I filmed this, this morning. See here

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The sublime joy of working on a bike

I'm going touring on my Thorn Raven (A Rohoff-equipped steel framed tourer) in two weeks so I started off my preparation today by washing it, for the first time, I might add! I've had it 10 months, but it has superb mudguards and doesn't get very dirty. That's my excuse anyway. I've never been a […]

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Not so much a missing link, as a fat link

I retired from work last year and got a new touring bike, a Thorn Raven, with which I am very pleased. At the same time, I got a carbon fibre Ridley Orion racing bike. My daughter Lizzie, who's the family tyrant and a triathlete, insisted on this so she had to be obeyed. This was […]

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Bottom bracket creak hell

This is one of the great undiluted joys of being a bike mechanic, which I'm not by trade but am by about 28 years practice. My Thorn Raven developed clunkiness in Bottom Bracket so I deduced that it needed to be replaced. It is in an eccentric bottom bracket shell as it has Rohloff gears. […]

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Second 100 miler of the year. The Ring of Kerry.

We hadn't cycled this for years, so the weather being stunning, we headed in the car for Killarney and parked near the Gleneagle Hotel on the West side of town. This is a famous drive in a car, of about 108 miles. It's also a famous cycle and we did it in a day, BUT […]

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We need a puncture Whisperer!!

Yesterday 5 of us did a 65mile spin in gorgeous weather. Cork Midleton Rathcormac Ballyhooley Cork. Mick got 3 punctures. None of us had had one for weeks. We could only explain one of them and then it was just a theory. He was back from touring in France but not on this bike. He […]

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No-Stress Cycling

The finest cycling is the No-Stress variety. You can do this by yourself, or if you are lucky enough to be married to someone who likes it (I am), or if you're lucky enough to have a friend who likes it (I'm not!), you can do it with them. There is a maxim in training, […]

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The Vee: first hundred-miler of the year

The Vee is a mountain pass on the Waterford Tipperary border, at 1100 ft., and a favourite route for the Cork City cyclist who wants to train for a hundred miles. I've done it maybe 20 times in the last 25 years, maybe less. Today we headed east and stayed on minor roads from the […]

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Skibbereen Duathlon

My daughters are very good runners, the younger, Lizzie, 29, being number 3 triathlete in Ireland and the best middle distance runner in Co.Cork. Rosaleen took up running this year and at 35 is one of the best around as well. I was persuaded to ride the cycle leg of this Duathlon yesterday with Rosaleen […]

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The Best Bike Ride in Ireland

This is an account of a bike ride I made 10.04.10. Unfortunately I'd knocked my camera into White Balance for Bulb mode by accident so I couldn't quite correct the colour, but you'll get the idea anyway. The Beara Peninsula is the middle one of 5 on the Southwest Coast of Ireland. Three quarters of […]

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You never know what the day'll bring

This morning, April 6th 2010, the weather forecast was for a wet day, especially wet up to lunchtime, with westerly winds. I wasn't that keen on cycling, and I've had a nagging shoulder injury caused by trying to lift something which was much heavier than I thought it would be. Mick was up for it, […]

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March a puncture-free month!

I reported that I had 12 punctures in February. Aaargh!. I've had none in March, even though I've cycled more miles AND I'm riding the same tyres! As far as I know, none of my cycling companions has had one either, and they had at least 8 between them in February. This proves so-called chaos […]

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Ayamonte/Vila Real de Santo Antonio to Tavira by Back Roads

We bought a holiday apartment in Ayamonte about 3 years ago. Ayamonte is a lovely town on the Atlantic on the Spanish side of the River Guadiana, the Portuguese town on the other side being Vila Real de Santo Antonio. The cycling on the Portuguese side is much better but Portugal has a major problem […]

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Cycling Bliss

The great weather continues and this is to be my last post for a couple of weeks as I'm going to Andalusia where we have an apartment. The weather there is unusually wet. The usual suspects cycled up the hill to Waterfall and Goggin's Hill, west from Bishopstown and then dropped down the steep hill […]

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Puncturesville, Arizona

You shouldn't wish your life away, but Feb. was not the month of my cycling life. I had EIGHT punctures in February, Mick had about 4 and Donie had 4. All of the punctures were tiny things apart from one of Donie's which was caused by Alzheimer's Disease of a Tyre Casing (ADTC) which ruptured. […]

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A New Route, not easy

In Ireland we are blessed with a huge road network, but this is a mixed blessing, because many of the roads are not that well-surfaced, and in a hilly county like Cork, most of the minor roads involve hills, and in many cases serious hills. I'd often cycled from Innishannon to Ballinspittle and Garrettstown, along […]

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Cycling above Ballinamorrive

We'd intended to head for Beara in the cars today, but it was a bit too cold. Instead did a 40 miler, starting at 11 at Zero C. The start was not a great start, Donie getting two puncture in 100 yards. We'd been unable to detect the cause of the first one, but the […]

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Rathcormac, Ballyhooley, Glenville, Cork

It was a little bit colder than of late this morning (4C) as I cycled east into an east wind to the Silversprings Hotel, known in Cork as "the Sillysprings" to meet the redoubtable Mick and Donie. Off we head towards Glanmire and then north on the old Dublin Road (most of it has been […]

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It's an ill wind…

My lady wife Mary, and I came out to our Spanish apartment in Ayamonte, Andalucia, on the Atlantic just next to Portugal two weeks ago. Initially the weather was cold and on the second day we had a day of Monsoon-like rain. This area which gets little rain by and large had been deluged for […]

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Day tour of Muntervary (Sheep's Head) peninsula, in better times

The lingering vile weather prompts me to describe a trip we did in August last. Mick Lehane (a sunny and very witty optimist) and Donie O'Keeffe (our group pessimist, who has elevated pessimism to the level of an Olympic Sport) drov

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