Thursday, 23 June 2016

Donnacha reflects on his Operation Transportation Experience ( Better Late than Never!)

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,


Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Donnacha- Lessons In and Out of Lycra!!

So Tuesday I had a few jobs to do so I thought why not do them via 2 wheels instead of 4!! So off I struck bringing a back pack thinking this would suffice to cart my wares around! I was only going a couple of miles down the road – not very taxing! How wrong was I. It’s been a few years since I have used cycling as a mode of getting from A to B to carry out habitual tasks and in recent times it has been more about leisure and exercise! Yes – a lot of the time there is lycra involved too!

A vision to behold... 

 So I had forgotten about the weight distribution ( in particular up that hill) of carrying something on my back!  It wasn’t my usual route- it was probably half in fact however, owing to not having the right ‘gear’ I felt it as much as the longer routes! Yes I could have borrowed my wife’s basket but ..I'm afraid I am just not your basket kind of guy! What  I need I discovered are panniers!- Yes she has those too- she just failed to inform me!!
Image result for panniers

 Moral of the story! The ‘ gear’ requirements vary vastly between what you use or need your bicycle for! I am a fitness gadget kind of guy and that’s all well and good if I want to keep track of my fitness goals but not much use if I need to pick up some groceries!!
Donnacha's 'Naked' Bike

If you are thinking of using cycling for commuting to work or popping to the shops- check out this common sense guide on what to wear and what you need!  

Monday, 20 June 2016

19th June - John Paul favours less traffic on his cycles

John Paul writes..
Image illustrating an evening sky at the Marina in Cork
Yesterday I decided to go for a leisurely Sunday cycle down around the Marina/Atlantic Pond area. I wanted to do something similar to Tuesday’s cycle by Blackrock Castle, which is very close to the Marina.
To mix it up a bit, I decided to leave from Rochestown heading towards the Douglas and up the Well Road. There was little traffic but the weather was dry (when leaving) and warm. Most of my cycling lacked any real hills throughout the week so I had two hills to go up on my cycle to the Marina, up the Well Road and the road next to Cork Constitution Rugby Club. After a tiring cycle up the two hills, there were two hills to cycle down in close succession, Copper Hill and the other next to CAB motors approaching Pairc Uí Chaoimh, which required much less exertion as I approached the Marina.

The Atlantic Pond is
always a hive of activity in nice weather
Just as I approached the Marina, the rain arrived. Thankfully, I was prepared and took my rain jacket out of my bag and managed to avoid getting a soaking. I cycled along by the stadium redevelopment and down around the Atlantic Pond, before joining back onto the Marina towards Blackrock where the Sunday Market is.

I cycled towards Blackrock Castle and on to the walk way connecting to the Old Railway Line, where I cycled on Tuesday. I continued home on the same route as Tuesday’s cycle.

Thankfully I enjoyed this cycle more compared to my cycle around Rochestown and Blackrock on Tuesday due to less traffic and time constraints, which allowed me to cycle at a more relaxed pace and to take in experience!

Forget 'Dads Silly Triangle' to try and calculate Speed Distance and Time - Give this Calculator  a go to suss out your Average  Cycle Speed!

Atlantic Pond MAP
Marina Walk MAP

19th June - Final Blog from a Smiley Shauna

Operation Transportation Final Day and Overall Experience 
Shauna writes..
Today I didn't get to go on out the bike for as long as I had hoped because the weather was really against me. It was very wet and windy. If I had owned wet gear I wouldn't have had any problems! So I only got to go out for a short time, just a quick cycle.

If I was to commit to taking up cycling in my everyday life I would have to purchase some wet gear and other essentials to make my life much easier and I noticed the Aldi were stocking some bike accessories this week to coincide with national bike week which is ideal for people on a budget!

Keep an eye on specials:



Final word from Shauna: At the start of bike week I was very apprehensive about the whole idea but as the week progressed I began to really enjoy it and started taking longer cycles everyday. Looking back I'm delighted I took part in bike week as it reminded me how much fun cycling can be, also it made me appreciate how much faster cycling can be as opposed to driving especially in the City. Overall I think this week has been a success for me personally as I got to see new places and navigate my way on some busy roads without having a major panic.

A very happy Shauna having taken part in Bike Week 2016!

June 19th - Michael Braves the Elements on his Last Day of Bikeweek 2016!

Michael Writes....

Sadly the tradition of good weather came to an abrupt end this morning when I woke up to be greeted by rain at my window. 

Rain, Rain, Go Away!
Due to my lack of rain gear I was unable to get out on the bike in the morning and instead had to wait around until it cleared up. Typically (because we live in Ireland) this took a lot longer than expected and I was unable to get out until the evening time, and even at that I was unable to stay out for long due to the conditions.

The surface water and the wind resulted in not so ideal cycling conditions that I had benefitted from the rest of the week. However, it was still nice to see that I was not the only cyclist out and about, and that others were braving the unfortuante conditions too!

Check out some nifty tips for biking in bad weather - HERE

After a venture out the Carrigrohane road towards Ballincollig the conditions did not improve as much as I would have hoped and due to my lack of rain gear, I decided to cut my losses and head back home.

 Michael may have benefitted from one of these contraptions on his cycle yesterday!

Unfortunately Bike & Mike (quite the duo) will split up tomorrow as he goes back to his owners, but who knows our paths may cross again sooner rather than later as I look to continue the good progress I have made with cycling during Cork Bikeweek 2016.

Michael is feeling optomistic about his future cycling adventures thanks to Cork Bikeweek 2016!

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18th/19th June - Thomas enjoyed Sundays event, despite the rain!

Thomas writes..

Saturday 18th

I went out in mid-morning and rode from my house in Ballintemple into the City Centre. I was cycling for about an hour and really enjoyed it! The weather was ideal for cycling - not too hot and not too cold!

Weather Myths in Ireland - Myths. Turns out some of the most popular cycling cities have more rainfall than Ireland!!

Sunday 19th

The Passage West to Blackrock Castle Family Fun Cycle was on today which I took part in. I rode to Passage initially and then returned to Cork with a large group of cyclists.

It was raining but that didn't take away from the enjoyment of the event! It was great to see some of the enthusiasm of some of the younger cyclists despite the weather. A great day was had by all!

The Passage West to Blackrock Castle or Cork Bay Railway walk has proven very popular among our Operation Transportation cyclists - if you would be interested in giving it a go yourself, check it out HERE!

Sunday, 19 June 2016

June 18th - Michael Makes the Most of the Saturday Sunshine!

Michael Writes...

A dry day at the Lee Fields!

I decided to make the most of the dry weather this morning and go out for my cycle early. I felt it would put me in good stead for the rest of the day. I opted to venture down to the Lee Fields and take in everything that was going on down there.

On my cycle I met many runners & people fishing who I'm sure where also trying to make the most of the dry weather while it's around (On a side note I must say we have been very lucky with the weather during bike week). 

Did you know that good weather is a Bikeweek tradition?

One thing I noticed on my cycle was the work that went into getting the Lee Fields back in good shape following the flooding it suffered around the new year. Thanks to the hard work of people, it gave me the opportunity today to cycle around and enjoy the scenery that I would not have been able to enjoy 6 months ago.

 These photos show the difference a few months (and some hard work) can make!

Hard to believe that this photo was taken at the Lee Fields! 
The Lee Fields Restored to its best!

The more I cycle, the longer I feel I can go on my journeys. Not only am I getting the advantage of strengthening the muscles in my legs but I'm also getting to take in some beautiful scenery that I would not be able to see if I was using a cycling bike in a gym. Today was also World Juggling Day, so maybe with some practice I might be able to juggle while cycling one day :-P