Monday, 28 October 2013

Boards cycle for Padraig (LPB)

If you're a cyclist in Ireland, especially in Dublin, I think it's fair to say you've at some point clicked your way into the internet black hole that is the Cycling forum on

Some would say that internet forums are full of weirdos posting shite on everything they know nothing about - true, but in between online arguments about
  • wearing helmets
  • hi viz clothing
  • correct sock height/length,
  • whether it should be called sock height or sock length
  • putting butter in your coffee 
  • they aren't mavic ksyrium elite wheels 2013, yes they are, no they're not
  • lots, lots more - you've no idea - really.
I've found out loads about cycling and bikes from the forum, absolutely loads. The information offered by some of the posters has been invaluable and this shared knowledge makes the Cycling forum one of the busiest and most popular places on Boards.

A few weeks ago, the good people on the cycling forum raised the bar even higher and started to arrange a charity cycle, details here:

This in turn helped raise lots of money for Padraig's charity page for the Irish Cancer Society and Irish Hospice Foundation

and resulted in the cycle for Padraig and his charities happening today.

The Boards Cycle against Cancer - Sunday 28th October 2013, leave Phoenix park, Dublin 9.15am
Going up towards Kilmainham to meet the others in Dundrum
At Dundrum there were at least another 60 or so cyclists
We went over and said Hi to Padraig (LPB) and thanked him for bringing us all together, he said he was delighted to see so many turn out and that his charity page had raised over €5,000 which was way more than he ever expected.
An apocalypse of bikes as we had our photo taken with Padraig
Emma in new Orwell gear, that rain cloud didn't catch us til later.
Emma and Caroline doing Rapha poses.
Dropped. 'There'll be No climbs on the route folks', 'it's a fairly flat route people' - I'd hate to see their hills! Kept the pace with a fastish group as far as Powerscourt, dropped to the smaller ring, lost memento and lost the group. Saw this rainbow and view which fully deserved a photo.
Cycling on I thought I was left on my own til I heard Emma call me from behind. Saw her and CAroline just making their way up the hill. I thought they'd bailed at Enniskerry, but they were just being lazy holes taking it easy and enjoying the spin. So we did more Rapha photo shoot stuff, like the mature adults we are.
Looking wistfully away from camera.
Why mimic Rapha? This is the business.
This is cycling in Ireland. I love this photo.
 I am taking these pics whilst cycling = blurry pic of Boards jerseys cycling up one of the hilly flat routes.
I pulled into the layby to get some cyclists with the Sugar Loaf behind them.
The Coffee shop at Glencree, triple the number of people her and you've some idea of how many people turned up for the cycle.

Above was the last photo of the Boards spin for Padraig.
It's easy enough to take photos whilst cycling at a slow pace in the sunshine, but I wasn't about to try taking photos in the hailstones and rain that followed our coffee stop.
We were PELTED out of it by hail stones over the Featherbeds.
Right in my face, in my eyes, down my neck, they really seriously hurt.
It was a humdinger of an onslaught, I wanted to put my hand up to shield my face, but I had to hold on for dear life because the crosswinds were determined on taking my wheels out from under me - I've never had to concentrate so much.

It felt pretty dangerous and I was glad I wasn't cycling next to anyone - you couldn't, you'd be blown into them.
The descent down Stocking lane also proved great fun.
I 'feathered' my brakes lightly (burnt the rubber til only the metal was left) as we hurtled down. It was a relief to reach the level roads at the bottom.
Caroline and Tom split off for Blanch and me and Emma split off in Terenure.

I had a great day cycling again, the cycle and weather was a challenge, but a pathetic and temporary blip in comparison to what Padraig and people with Cancer go through on a daily basis.

As I was leaving the coffee shop, Padraig commented on the Yorkshire rose on my neck warmer. I was impressed he recognised it and asked how he knew it was the Yorkshire rose.
'I'm a Leeds Utd fan' he said with a smile in his eye.
Oh Padraig - are you not suffering enough?

Cycling - it's amazing where it can take you.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Strawberry Beds forever.

Wherever you live, as a cyclist you'll have your own default routes, easy routes you can do straight from your front door without too much thinking.
Heading down Strawberry Beds is mine.

I've had the snotz all week, eyes dead in head, coughing, sneezing, no energy for anything except watching 72 episodes of Breaking Bad and hiding my eyes from Walt Whitman's y-fronts.

Today I was able to levitate from the couch, get on my bike and attempt a route with no hills.

I set off slowly from Drimnagh, felt ok, ploughed on towards Island Bridge, through Chapelizod where ye olde worldy feeling begins to creep in on you.
Up Knockmaroon hill, past the magnificent buildings either side, then left down the hill, to the sanctity of Lower Road - aka Strawberry Beds.

Lower Road is one of the most beautiful, mystical roads in Dublin - hands down.
At this time if year it will fill you with an awe, an autumnal joi de vivre - but make sure you're layered up, even in a heatwave, Lower Road will be cold and damp.
There's a lot of history along this road, you can feel it and see it.
There are ancient pubs, old factory mills, remains of old iron bridges, overgrown estate entrances and the sights and sounds of the river as it winds along the road next to you.

Lower Road has an ethereal atmosphere I haven't found anywhere else.
Want some misty, ghostly shots for anything? This is the road for you, especially first thing in the morning, the heavy mists hover over the river and envelope you as you cycle silently by.
If the sun is shining, the light is dream like.

It's a good road for a peaceful, slow trundle, if you're feeling that way. Though if it's a rare day it's not windy, it can be a good road for speed too. See how the mood takes you.
In Ye Olden Days, they did actually grow and sell strawberries along here, there's still a strawberry fair every year.

The 3 pubs along Lower Rd, the Angler's Rest, Strawberry Hall and the Wren's Nest are all old, like 18th Century old. The last two both quietly claim to be the second oldest pub in Dublin and I'd believe either. I've looked online, but can't find any concrete establishment dates - neither of these pubs seem to shout their age or make a play for the tourists, neither are particularly popular, except with locals, which all ties into how untouched this area remains.

The only scourge modern Ireland has made on the Strawberry Beds is a small one, but an unforgivable one - several thousand speed ramps that seem to go on forever. If you over hear a cyclist swearing going over these ramps, it will be me.

I stopped a few times today along Strawberry Beds, to loudly blow my nose, look up at Shackletons mill and take some photos.
It was nice to stop and look.
Once I reached Lucan, I cycled through and on for Leixlip, somewhere I didn't think I'd been before, until I realised I'd been out for dinner there and been to a wedding..

Kildare is very old isn't it.
Lots of old estate walls and old estate entrances.
Arthur Guinness leased his first brewery in Leixlip too, before he signed the 10,000 year lease for St Jame's Gate in Dublin.

Leaving Leixlip, I took a little detour along a path for walkers along the River Rye, if I'd had more energy I would have kept exploring, but thought it better to stick to my planned 45k route.
Back along Confey, over the Grand Canal and back home along Strawberry Beds, then past loads of people in Phoenix Park throwing sticks up at trees for conkers.
A great trundle without hills, I felt much better for it.

Lower Road aka Strawberry Beds, there's no footpath along most of this road, so if you don't have a bike/ car/ penchant for being knocked over - you're stuffed.

I can't find anything out about this old bridge. It goes over the road and over the river, be great to know why.
Ha - I've been told the answer (Thanks Brian Mc) this is called Farmleigh or Guinness Bridge, it used to carry electrical cables up to Farmleigh and sometimes staff who worked in Farmleigh used the tunnels as a short cut up to the house, here's the wiki link.

Autumnal joi de vivre coming soon to Strawberry Beds, October 2013.
Strawberry Hall dating from the 18th Century, but don't tell anyone.

I pulled in to take a photo of the old wall when this mob (possibly Blanch Wheelers) sailed by. NB guy at the back huffing about something - or cold nips.

And then they were gone, like ghosts, they disappeared. I told you, this road is other worldly.

Shackletons Mill/ Anna Liffey Mills built in 1820 to mill flour, which it continued to do until 1998.

The old Mill is now owned by Fingal Co. council who hope to open it to the public as a museum. They bought it in 2002.... it's 2013 now.

There are some great photos from the inside of Shackletons Mill taken by Tim Durham

Just before you arrive into Lucan there's a chimney which used to belong to the old 'Hills of Lucan' Woollen Mill (formerly an Iron Mill). There's an amazing photo taken outside this mill in the 1960's which I just found on a great website called Lucan Newsletter.

Someone has tried to scratch out 'The Original Home of Guinness' - why, I don't know.

The Salmon signs and a pub at the end of the bridge called 'The Salmoner' would lead me to believe this section of the river is full of Salmon.

River Liffey, Leixlip.

There was actually nothing here except this plaque, the original brewery assumed dead.

See what I've done here, digital Leixlip left, Olde Leixlip right.

I think this is the section where the Liffey is joined by the River Rye from the right.

Did you know Arthur Guinness was born in Celbridge? Me neither.

That Tinker Hill road sign has lasted 23 years without being knocked over - despite several apparent attempts.

Kids throwing sticks up at the tree to get conkers. Shame it was an Oak tree = long wait.

Lots of deer around the park today - they should really have been provided with helmets given the amount of stick throwing going on.

Just saw that QOM  ^^^ there and thought wtf? How? Looked at it, and I'm the 1st of 1 female riders (on Strava) to go along Kelly's Lane - go me. It was a nice area round there too, for future route planning.