Thursday, 24 December 2015

Christmas Eve cycle with Otley CC

What a ride this morning! 
High fives all round to the 10 souls who turned up in Otley for the Christmas Eve ride out to Bolton Abbey.
My mum and sister watched from the kitchen window in sheer puzzlement as I disappeared into the sleet and gale force winds for the 10km cycle over to Otley to meet the others.
Mum thought I'd turn back, but not a chance.
I'm so aware I couldn't even walk this time last year. 
Rain? Sleet? Gale force winds?
I'm celebrating I'm able to cycle again!

Despite the mental celebrations, it was a relief when the high winds eased after 5 mins. 
The sleet also thankfully stopped, but the cloud above continued its downpour of tonnes and tonnes of water.
I was cycling along, drenched to the bone and starting to get cold.

By 7km the rain had stopped and cycling into Otley was calm enough.

People in Otley were out shopping already and queuing up for their Christmas lunches outside the butchers.

Approaching Buttercross I was jealous of anyone living in Otley who would arrive dry and warm.

But no one was at Buttercoss. 

Just a guy sitting on a bench, smoking a pipe.
Had they all turned over in their beds when they saw the storm?

Nope, one by one people turned up.
Nicole, Ken, Christine, Aeesha, Wayne, Stephen, Sandra, Andy and Matt.

Brian made a brief appearance but his brake cable snapped and that was it for him. Luckily for him we were only 5 mins outside of Otley, though I'm sure Ken has a spare cable somewhere in his saddle bag if we'd left the town.

The cycle over to Bolton Abbey was taken easy enough, there was a battle against the wind but everyone ploughed on, chatting and cycling.
Sandra was doing some faux complaining about being out cycling rather than being at home in bed with a handsome fella, but as every cyclist knows, the glow of happiness you get after a good cycle is just as good.

The scenery on the cycle, as with all Otley rides, was stunning.
Christine was explaining how she fell in love with the hills just as we reached a most spectacular scenic point.

It blows me away everytime.
I simply love it.
There's something in the Yorkshire landscape that's like nowhere else, and possibly because I live in Dublin it kind of overwhelms me every time.

'Just look at those walls' I said as we were cycling back.
'Do you not have walls like that in Dublin?' they laughed
'No, not like that'
And it's true, there isn't.
There's not the same buildings, landscapes, or walls.

Lots of other cyclists were out at Bolton Abbey - great to see.
I recognised one of the lads in Alba Rose from Drakes bike shop in Harehills, where I bought my bike.
I went over and thanked him for swapping out the wheel last time I was home.

After coffee, we cycled back via Sandbags? Passed some more beautiful old walls (I have a thing for walls) and an old velvet making factory which Ken said used to make Spitfire engines in the war.

60km round trip, home by 2pm.
Seriously good day out, thanks to all for turning up and making it so enjoyable, thanks Nicole for organising and big thanks to Wayne for your dry, warm gloves.
We'll let you out of the stocks soon.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Storm Teresa Mannion

Easy 40km today.
Usual route: Home-Kilmainham-Phoenix Park-Strawberry Beds-Confey-Leixlip-flooded farm roads-Sandpits-Phoenix Park-home.
Was refreshing to be out after the relentless rain and wheelie bins blowing across streets kind of weather we've been having lately.
Lots of midges along Strawberry Beds which was surreal for December.
Shouldn't they be dead?
They were very much alive and partying en masse in swarms every 10m or so.
The rise of the River Liffey after Storm Desmond obviously disturbed the midges immensely.
Was glad I was wearing shades and a Buff to cover my mouth.
Temp dropped to 4.6c, it was cold but manageable, not bitter to the bones cold.
Was good to be out.
Discs / muscles tensed up little when I got home. 
But compared to last year when I couldn't walk, any cycle now is fully appreciated- so it really was good to be out cycling.
Took few shots to make sure I took the ride relatively easy by stopping a few times.
Pics look a lot bleaker than it was.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Back in Otley CC Jersey

Brother's 40th has me back in Yorkshire.
Celebrations Friday and Saturday left me free for Sunday morning cycle.
Emailed Ken to let him know I was around but going to head out again with Otley's Social series instead of out with the B's.
My back has been feeling a little dodge this week. Sharp pains across the back and trapped nerve feeling back in butt and down to foot. Busy week, lots of commuting by bike, in addition to the 70k last Sunday with no rest day was a bit dumb. If I'm honest, if I was really sensible, I would have stayed home today. But up I got at 7.30am and went through the motions of getting ready, thinking if my back really seizes in pain I'll stop getting ready and call it quits.
Next I know I'm cycling towards Otley and at Buttercross getting in line with Gill's group who are heading out towards Roundhay Park in Leeds.
Saw Ken, said hello and noticed there were only 5 people heading out with the B's.
There were 50 odd gathered for the Social series.
Probably only a matter of time before there's more of a merge into the B's and Inters, but for now if there's a Social cycle on, it seems to swallow up all the cyclists at Buttercross.
For me, there's so many more women, the routes are shorter and I'm pretty much guaranteed to be back home by 1.30pm having done a full cycle with the Social group, where with the B's I'd have to leave midway through their cycle to cycle home alone to be home for the same time.
I loved today's cycle. There were no massive hills, going up West Chevin then up by the back of the airport wasn't too bad.
Got to see Eccup reservoir which I've wanted to see for ages. The scenery round Eccup was amazing, same going up Chevin.
Coffee at The Mansion house in Roundhay park was nice. When we arrived, the faster (fitter) Social group were already had their feet under the table sipping their coffee.
Apparently they had cycled up Black Hill just out of Arthington (used in the Tour de France route), I was happy to hear we'd only be cycling down it. 
It will be a long, long time til I'm able to join the Faster Social group, if ever.
I struggle with hills, despite the fact again I got a PR today on Castley hill?
PR on two tough hills in one week and yet not feeling it's happening at the time of struggling up is puzzling me. I haven't lost that much weight!
Anyhow, PRs, times and avg kmph is not what today's cycle was about, it was about getting out, the Yorkshire scenery, the other cyclists, fresh air and love of cycling adventures.
Thanks to Gill for leading, it was great, it really gave me a lift. Yeah my back is still dodge, but painkillers and Epsom salt bath might help.

1st spin back out with Orwell

Was a little apprehensive cycling over to Joe Daly's today for my first proper Orwell spin in a while.
Feels like I've been sporting my Otley CC jersey constantly whilst my Orwell stays at the bottom of my jerseys pile, unused, unloved and overlooked.
The published route was flat and down Strawberry Beds, which being one of my favourite Dublin roads made the route seem more do-able.
Turned up and hugs from Sandra and Jackie nearly had me following them in the Yellow group, but senses kicked in and I held back for Whites.
Glad I did, by the return leg of Strawberry Beds I was struggling a little, the pace was an avg 23.5 kmph by time we got home, Yellows were 25kmph so I really would have held the Yellows back and felt down doing so.
Weirdly Strava told me I got my fastest time up Lower Rd which is an absolute mystery, but maybe the fact Tommy was neck and neck with me going up the hill gave me an edge I wouldn't usually have going up solo like I usually do.
Great cycle out to Celbridge, 70km all in, very good.
Orwell jersey loved the outing.

8.45am Sunday morning, Drimnagh

Conway's pub, Thomas St, Dublin

Thomas St, Dublin 2

Gadding around Dublin

I'm back cycling to work everyday again and I love it. 
No money on petrol, no stress in parking spaces at work, fresh air in the lungs, the thrill of the cycle, the community at the lights, the characters at the lights, the speed queens, the slow coaches, the dopes cycling hands free, the clipping in types with the plastic bags over shoes types.
In addition to the daily commute, the wknd trips into town take 15 mins and save 2 x €2.85.
I'm no tight wad but the savings from cycling along with all the flexibility cycling offers make it the go to option nearly everytime.
I just love cycling.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

From not being able to walk in Feb to cycling 200km this week

My Physio would probably hit me over the head with the notebook I used to keep to make sure I progressed back to activity slowly and gradually.
But if I died tomorrow I'd die happy.
I've had such a good week, the weather, the Yorkshire scenery and cycling has been a tremendous lift for me.
I've loved it.
Thanks to Ella in Chevin cycles Otley for fixing my bike, thanks to Ken and everyone I cycled with over the week.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Cycling like Bats outta hell

You know when you're cycling along a long straight road and sometimes a bird will fly a metre in front of you for a few minutes?
Last night coming home along the River Wharfe in darkness I had a bat fly along with me for a while.
It really made coming off the main road worthwhile.
Mind you, so did the sound of the river, the movement of the cows in the fields and the reflection of the moon on the water.
The cycle home was a good chance to slow down the old heartrate too, after a gear clattering and too fast for me cycle from Otley to Bolton bridge back thru Ilkley with the faster Wednesday evening cycle group. 
Cycling like bats outta hell they were.
53km by the time I got home, and I felt every kilometre.
Not a hugely enjoyable cycle, but a good workout towards my rehab.

Gives you some idea of how dark the country road back along the river was.

Otley CC offer door to door service

'Hi Ken, hope you're keeping well. I see you're going to Wetherby Sunday, you don't happen to be passing my house en route?'
'Hi Siobhan, long time no hear. Yes we will be, meet you at the corner?'
'Great, yes, save me cycling to Otley and back, see you 9.30am'
'Jolly good'

Good job there was a lay-by just here.
Ken would have been squished Ken.
The route was a meandering 70km round trip. Weeton, Sicklinghall, Wetherby, toasted tea cakes, onto Green Hammerton where we stopped at a farm shop with goats who were partial to saddle leather.
Great to be back cycling, even better to be back surrounded by Yorkshire accents.
Is that.
We cycled back through Weeton and the lads dropped me off at my house before heading off on their way home to Otley.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Well hello

Oh hello.
It's been a while.
2 months unable to walk, 7 months off the bike.
But one Nerve Root block injection into my sciatic nerve later and I'm back pedalling short distances around town.
I'll never take you for granted again.
Where my bike took me today