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, so he, Donie and I headed west at 10.30 in drizzle. I decided to introduce them to some of my special routes which I do myself, but which my friends haven't been that keen on because they're hilly. I love them because they're scenic and ultra-quiet.
We headed west on Curraheen Rd. in Bishoptown until we had to turn sharp left or right. We turned left and headed up the worst hill of the day. About 400yds, maxing at maybe 15%. At the top I got a puncture with a small slit in the tyre. Had to use a tyre boot, a piece of canvas which I glued inside the slit. I always carry some.
On we went then, west to Begley's forge. This is at 550 ft, Bishopstown being at about 60ft. This is a crossroads on a ridge which affords fine views of the Boggeragh mountains and so on. The rain eased and we were in sunshine in beautiful scenery. We headed west and along a complex of roads to Templemartin through wooded countryside, and then south, where I opted for a right rather than a left fork. This road I hadn't travelled for years and had forgotten how beautiful the scenery to the west is from this high road. It was most impressive. See photos.
We then came to a bigger road and followed this south and downhill through wooded country and then onto the the Crossbarry to Bandon Road and then to the Kilbrogan Inn in Bandon, a pub which does fantastic sandwiches. There I had a toasted chicken and cheese sandwich which scored 11 out of 10. Back on the bikes and retraced our route as far as Templemartin, and then west through really quiet country boreens* and down the long winding streamside road to Crookstown. This is a smashing descent. In Crookstown we had Magnums or Magna if you're a pedant, 2 white and a brown. I like them all myself. My daughter Lizzie, the family tyrant eats only the almond ones. From there we went onto the N22 and across the road and then onto the really bockety** minor road heading uphill to Canovee. This was a lovely climb around potholes and so on until we reached the crossroads at the top and then downhill through idyllic countryside with large fields of sheep.
At the bottom we met the road from Lissardagh to Rooves bridge and enjoyed this flat straight scenic road to Rooves bridge and onwards past the Innisleena reservoir, Farran Woods and the Lee Valley golf club and back to the N22 and home from there.
58 miles, 12 mph average, roughly, hilly, hard enough and just total pleasure. I loved today. I thought it would be torture and it was total fun.
*Boreen is the standard word in Ireland for country lane. We only use "lane" in cities, and in the phrase "down the lane". Pronounced Bore een. From Bóithrín, Irish meaning little road.
**Bockety is Cork slang, also used in Liverpool, apparently. Never heard it in Ireland outside Cork. Means rickety, etc.etc. A rickety chair is a bockety chair. A potholed road is bockety. It's a mighty word!