Donnacha writes.....So First off - apologies for my late post and secondly– I must hold my hand up and say I didn’t get out every day. I can honestly say none of that was due to lack of interest or motivation. A combination of childminding duties and busy workload were the main barriers but I do feel that the journey’s I did I gave it gusto and so I feel proud of that. Making the commitment though did give me an insight into a few things and for me I think planning is still a key factor for this to become habitual again.. For example, since we have moved to the countryside from the suburbs I definitely have noticed that your opportunities to take in a different route are reduced considerably unless you physically transport your bike somewhere else first. I did manage to do this on the Saturday with my daughter and brought her out to the old railway line between Timoleague & Courtmacsherry for a leisurely 6/7 mile out and back. Nice and flat so perfect for transporting a wiggly 2 year old. This route is lovely but priority is for walkers so those more interested in speed than taking in the scenery may prefer to just use the road beside it instead. There are lovely views over to Timoleague Abbey and down to Courtmacsherry Harbour itself but they didn’t get a look in compared to the awesome draw of the ducks!!! I had a job negotiating getting back on the bike ( we had only cycled ~ 500m when we first encountered them!!) and of course like most dads I didn’t have a random few heels of a loaf of bread to feed them. As willing as Ellie was to share her raisins and rice cakes with them- they weren’t really connoisseurs.
|Timoleague village including the Abbey ruins|
After making lots of promises that we will come back I eventually got her on the bike and we took off for Courtmacsherry. The route is absolutely perfect no worries re: potholes. You are however right on the edge of the water so it might make people nervous. The tide wasn’t completely in at the time of cycling but it’s still a 7/8 ft drop to the ‘slob’. There is one stretch which is grass only- approximately 200 meters so that’s no hindrance for walkers but not too easy on bike. There is one point where you turn a bend and you leave the shelter of nearby woods on the Timoleague side and the sea breeze ( or in this case wind!) hits you so I’d imagine in colder months wrapping us is essential. We managed through it though and turned back just before coming into the village of Courtmacsherry itself as it seemed quite busy. For those of you unfamiliar with the village, it transforms from a quiet rural winter village to a haven of bustling activity over the Summer months. This sticker should give you an idea!
|That's West Cork Humour for You!|
Back to Timoleague (and the ducks).. and fortunately a stop off at Nana & Grandads which allowed me to rejuvenate!!
|Tide fully in as we make it back into Timoleague- the little ducks only 150 yards away at the start of the line|
Oh if you are interested in Ellie’s bike seat. (We picked up ours last August and it was reduced but it’s pretty much this model. She should get another year out of it- well she should probably get out & pedal herself by then- that’s the goal!
On the last day of Operation Transportation the plan was to go to one of the Bike Week events in Passage West. Unfortunately sickness meant my wife couldn’t come and to be honest I was glad to be off the hook when I saw the forecast!! And it was Fathers Day so I was entitled to a day’s rest!! About 12 o clock though, whether it was ‘guilt’ or just a genuine feeling that I needed to get out on the bike for my own good, in spite of the rain, I said no I had to do it. Because I knew the hill would be lethal with the rain that had fallen overnight & that morning I adapted the route to avoid it and managed to clock what I thought was an impressive 10 miles ( the watch battery died a bit from home). I stayed pretty moderate in terms of pace, the wind was tricky in places and on coming cars definitely weren’t expecting ‘some eejit’ to be out cycling these roads in this weather. It definitely is something you would need to feel confident about. The one plus of knowing the road so well is that I could predict the potential black spots that would be worsened by the weather.
|Soaked to the skin but worth it!|
As I was out on the back road between Ballinadee and Bandon I spotted some ‘other madmen’ out on bikes- I thought ah this is great. They were stopped up near a junction so I stopped and had a few words and as it turns out they were actually doing a quick safety check of a 5km route for a local fundraiser fun run/walk happening later that afternoon. I said jeez are ye still going ahead with that & the men said oh absolutely – whats the worst that could happen- people will get wet. We’ll have plenty tea in the hall to warm them up afterwards! And so I sign off from my Operation Transportation journey on that note.. we often perceive there are so many barriers- the rain, the dark, the traffic, the time etc etc.. we all have that long list and some days that’s ok but in the main with a bit of planning, some common sense & knowing how to cycle safely be it in or out of traffic THE THOUGHT of getting out on 2 wheels need not be daunting at all!!
Thanks for reading,