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!!

7 comments on “Freedom…of a sort…”

  1. Mary wrote:

    Oh, to be out and about again Garry!

    Fab post – love the pics. Its like getting your freedom back I expect, now that icy weather is at least behind us. You'll be wanting hot tea on a trip in those conditions – I got a nice bicycle thermos flask from Santa this year. I have to REALLY talk hard to myself before setting out in gales. I will tackle anything cept ice and strong winds. (unless, like yourself its been a while that is...)

  2. Patrick wrote:

    Great Post. Really well done! 🙂 I was wondering how long it would be before you made for the roads again after your layoff. Love those pics, especially the helmet perched on the hood. And those boots – amazing. Nice bike too. I agree with Mary about hot tea. I want a bicycle thermos flask!

    I haven't cycled for the past three days or so. Today was 2.5 degrees with a horrible North East wind and patches of ice on the roads. I went for a walk. My cousin told me yesterday that cyclists need to walk occasionally, to maintain the bone mass in their legs (or something like that).

  3. Garry Lee wrote:

    I actually often bring a small flask of tea with me, but not today. You can get small metal flasks for next to nothing in Tesco etc. I intend to get out tomorrow too. Cork may be okay, but there's ice on the roads inland already. Cork is usually very mild in winter, but easterly or northerly winds change that.

  4. Patrick wrote:

    Those Camelbak drink bottles are good. I sometimes leave the same drink in for several days and it still tastes fine. I like Vimto but don't drink much. I wonder how many cyclists still use those cheap things that taste of plastic.

    One of my sons gave me a Tog 24 Windstopper headband for Christmas. That's good too, for stopping a cold head, and my helmet fits over it nicely. Mind you, with the headband on, I don't look like me any more.

  5. Garry Lee wrote:

    I use the Camelbak bottles as well. They certainly fix the plastic-taste problem.

  6. Nick T wrote:

    I too can vouch for the Camelbak bottles! The difference between those and my previous SIS bottle is amazing, and I was surprised how reasonably priced they are....I would happily pay a tenner for one (although I wouldn't want Camelbak to know that!

    Great photos Gary, can I ask what pedals you usually use on the bike as opposed to the BMX pedals shown in the picture. I use SPDs pedals (the ones with the surrounding metal support which allows use without the SPD shoes) and find these superb for uphills, (although I do prefer to be out of the sadle when on a tough uphill).

  7. Garry Lee wrote:

    Ordinary SPDs! I've used them since they came on the market. I used Look before that but for touring I used to use plain pedals as you can't walk around properly with Look Pedals.

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