Freedom…of a sort…
After 11 days the ice came to an end, to be replaced by industrial strength rain, a 30 mile-an-hour northeasterly gale and a snug 4 degrees centigrade. Now am I going to stick my face out in that or not? I have more rain-gear than sense so I put BMX pedals on my trusty steed and put on serious clothes. These consist of shorts and tights, 2 base layer vests, Lowepro Hill-walking coat and trousers and hill-walking socks and Dubarry sailing boots. On my hands I put a pair of fleece gloves with waterproof breathable mittens, velcro the cuffs around these and off I go. After 4 hundred yards my head is freezing so I put up the hood and put the helmet over this and proceed once more. Through town and along the river to Blackrock, around the Mahon walk and down along the river to Passage West, as I described before on my trip around Cobh. This section of the journey was, let's say, challenging. I managed 6-7 mph into the gale with lashing rain and there were no hills till close to home.
After I reached Passage West I began to get some of the wind at my back and from Monkstown I got the full force of it propelling me along. On to Carrigaline (Carraig Uí Laighin = Lyon's or Lehane's Rock) and Ballea (Baile Aodha = Hugh's Town). I was now cycling by the side of the Ownabwee River (Abha na Baoi = the River of the Buoy). The river was bursting its banks and further on, it was in full flood.
I proceeded with the wind as far as Ballinhassig and from here I had a hard climb, again into the wind to the area known as the Liberties, beyond which lay the drop to Bishopstown and home.
Just starting to get damp due to condensation from climbing the hill, but my hands and feet were warm and Garry was a lot happier than he was for the last 11 days, at least from the exercise point of view. A hard spin, at 11 mph.
I will tackle any weather except weather with icy roads. They are a no-no.
I find that sailing wellies (I don't sail) are good for winter cycling as they're a lot lighter than muck wellies and have a stiffer sole which combines well with BMX pedals. Mine are a size too big so I can wear 2 pairs of thick socks if I want. My first pair died last year after about 10 years of winter service!!