Every day?

Day 1 Home to Tavistock: 110km, average speed 22.6 km/hour

We bike regularly with a group of cyclists from the town of Wingham. Last Friday, as we returned from our weekly ride, the elder statesman of the group, with alarm in his voice says “You’re going to do this every day?” He repeated it a number of times as he wandered away, down the street. We assured him that we were ready to “do it” every day, for a few days in a row anyway.

Today, we are not so sure.

At 8:00 am , rested and ready to go!

We chose the hottest, most humid day of the year, so far, to start out on this “every day” for  a while journey. Four of our friends came with us for the beginning of the trip, to send us off, two of them staying with us for the first 50 km. Company does make you (me anyway) push a little harder to stay ahead or even just keep up. We arrived in Seaforth for a lunch break at the half way mark, well before lunch. From there we went on alone (if two people can be alone together) and dropped our speed down a bit. By the time we got to Tavistock the water was all gone.

Good thing we left today, this road would be closed on Monday and the choices to the right and left were both gravel.

We kept on though, drawn by the knowledge that there was a Tim’s in Tavistock which sells brain freezing ground-up ice drinks at exorbitant prices. We felt like we were limping into town. Refreshed by ground ice we made the last kilometer to our lodging for tonight. We are in a 1911 vintage caboose, surrounded by a little train village.

Our cozy caboose, with air conditioning

We’re on a Youtube Video

Back in the spring, a friend heard about our biking adventures and suggested we should be part of a video series the local health unit was doing on active living. We agreed, and, what seemed like a very long time later were contacted to do an interview.

At the time, we just happened to be on a three day ride that covered theater in two nearby (100km away) towns. The video is taken on the afternoon of the 2nd day.

The other cyclists are our regular Friday morning cycling group. We meet with them year round for coffee and when the weather is favourable we ride together too.

So far, it doesn’t appear that our video is going viral.

Ireland: Week One

We’ve been in Ireland for a week now, biking, exploring, eating. We’ve travelled a little over 450 km, all on our trusty tandem bicycle. J has been keeping a running blog of each day’s adventures at beyonddonnybrook.wordpress.com which I won’t repeat. This morning I just want to share a few general impressions about this wonderful place.

Since we are traveling by bike, slowly, our impressions cannot be extrapolated to the entire country. Much of our time, this week, has been spent in County Clare, on the midwest side of the island.

Paul, the hardware man and historian, from Kilrush. One of our many new acquaintances along the way.

Paul, the hardware man and historian, from Kilrush. One of our many new acquaintances along the way.

The people really make this place! They are so friendly. They may be particularly friendly to us because we are odd, showing up in an area with apparently few bikes, and on a tandem yet too. But, even as we walk in the evening, in our street clothes, folks have time to stop and talk, beyond just answering our requests for directions. As we meet folks walking along the narrow roads we often greet them and receive a greeting in return. J suggested that it was our greeting causing the response, not the friendliness of the people so, we experimented and waited for their greeting, and it still came. When we are not greeted we now assume the folks we are meeting are other tourists!

The castle on Inisheer. Not even a sign board for this one. Go right inside, but watch for cow paddies.

The castle on Inisheer. Not even a sign board for this one. Go right inside, but watch for cow paddies.

I find it intriguing the way, in the area we’ve travelled anyway, the people live in their history. The countryside is littered with skeletons of churches, castles, ring forts, and innumerable stone houses. We did pay to visit an ring fort interpretive centre, but otherwise these monuments to the history of this place are just there, the grass cut by cattle and sheep, sometimes with a signboard describing the happenings in the place, sometimes not. It’s such a contrast to our “build something new, bury the old thing” mentality. I’m sure the things we are seeing are now protected, but the fact they survived till now is amazing, providing the people with a constant reminder of those who came before them.

We have three more weeks here, another nine days on the bike north of Galway, then back to Dublin to join our friends, and a bus, to explore more of this wonderful island.