Not About The Bike 2

Wednesday 29 June

OK. This cycling lark. We’re gonna knock a fair bit of oul craic out of it.  I decided to go out for a spin on Wednesday evening to loosen the oul legs up. There, I sound like an oul pro already. Paddy McC had set up a wee distribution list that you just let know if you’re going out and the theory is the boys join in but due to a misunderstanding it was me féin off on a solo.

The weather was shite but thankfully for the duration of my ride it stayed dry. It was a fairly unremarkable outing other than I managed nearly fourteen miles in about an hour and twenty minutes. I also scaled Ballywillan Hill at Portrush which for those who don’t know it, can only be described as a pure bastard.

The advantage of these training runs is it gets the backside acclimated (love that American bastard of a word) to the seat. Certainly it wasn’t too bad. There’s something immensely satisfying about the tiredness after physical exercise.

Saturday 2 July

Last night I went to Halfords to get myself tooled out for on road disasters. I bought a small bike tool, two spare tubes, a water bottle holder and wee container jobbie that hitches on to the underneath of the saddle to hold all this shite.  I see that in due course I may require a bigger wee container. All set for tomorrow. I resisted the temptation to take myself out for a spin and Schira’s offer to go for a short run. Aye right. I know her idea of a short run….

Sunday 3 July

What a day. I missed the group cycle at 9:00. I arrived down at 9:30 and the place was eerily quiet. Bollix I quickly realised the group had obviously met earlier. I had a choice but it wasn’t really a choice. I could go home, but wasn’t doing that, or I could set off with a 30 mile target.

I decided to go for it. I worked out a rough route in my head incorporating part of the route I traversed on Wednesday and decide to head for Bushmills and Ballycastle direction based on what John G had told me last night of the route they took.

Without boring anyone with the details and it was boring, I was out for ages, covered 36.5 miles (the group I intended to join did 28 I think).  Coming home I was totally drained, and in real pain. Never so glad to get home, I literally fell of the bike and staggered into the house. I figured out the distance by driving the course, was at least 4.5 miles longer than I thought/hoped it might be. When I drove the course, there were parts of the route that I literally had no memory of ever being on. In one place I passed perhaps the biggest Ulster flag I’ve ever seen but did I see it when I was on the bike. Not a bit of it. So much for seeing the countryside.

Another thing you notice on the bike is the smell of the countryside, decaying animals, cow dung, fragrant flowers, sewage in drains, car exhaust fumes and more. You also get a close up and personal insight into the fatal injuries inflicted on roadkill by motorists. Happily I was wearing a helmet so hopefully I’ll not end up like a dead badger, fox, rabbit, rat, bird, cat – all of which I saw today. None, I should add, were wearing helmets.

Only one passing motorist shouted abuse, some gobshite in a twincam coming out of Bushmills. No doubt one of their famous inbreds I shouted “fuck off” as he disappeared down the road. Then, with fatigue, hunger and dehydration setting in, the whole scenario of me getting a good kicking along some secluded country road began to settle in my brain.

On another occasion I encountered what I could only call a peloton of cyclists from one of the local clubs. They swept past me in a whirl of wheels and click of gears as if my trundling form didn’t exist. To them I didn’t but for me, as the trek went on I felt every bump in the road, every stone, every drain ever piece of repaired tar. Why am I doing this I asked again and again. Today I decided I was doing it for my children, if it keeps me alive a few days longer then it will have been worth it. And they’d better bloody well appreciate it!

Happy days, sore ass.

Footnote: I see the Omagh St Endas boys finished their cycle trip from Galway. Well done Mickey and the lads. Onwards.

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