We are still waiting for our stuff to arrive… actually we are waiting for our stuff to be shipped but that is as expected. However, this means that our bicycles are not here, and living on Dun Na Carraige and working in the IDA Business Park means that it is a 4.9K walk by the shortest route. Now that is a wee bit too far to be walkin’ in the mornin’ (did you hear the leprechaun sayin’ that? The voice in my head speaks with a leprechaun accent though I have not met any Irish persons that sound that way). So I asked around about renting a bicycle until our stuff arrives. Turns out that DERI has a set of loaner bicycles for interns and that there was one available. Now I’m not an intern but they let me borrow one anyway and I didn’t have to pay the 25€ maintenance fee, I just have to pay for all the maintenance myself. Ahhh, things are lookin’ up.
So I take the bicycle (no lights, no helmet, no reflective garb) and ride over to the closest bicycle shop. They have the lights, helmet and reflective garb, but don’t take credit cards, and since our $ are not yet € in the local bank I have no way to pay. So off to the next closest shop. He has the lights, helmets and reflective garb and he takes credit cards. Half an hour later I am heading home.
Now, for those of you in the US who have not visited Ireland let me explain what the roads look like here. First, drive on the other side – that’s the easy part in a car, just keep the driver side toward the middle of the road and you’ll be fine. On a bicycle, you have to think about it. Many of you have an alley behind your house that is just wide enough for the garbage truck and perhaps a small SUV to pass each other – provided they are at a wide spot. A road that wide would be a major road in Ireland. Not a thoroughfare, those are “dual carriageways” here and are fairly high speed. So back to the major road. In the US Western states we tend to have straight roads. In the US Eastern states we seem to have roads that were created by paving cow trails. Irish roads are like the latter but have stone walls right up against the edges, or where they don’t the sidewalk has a stone wall right up against the edge. So blinking lights and reflective gear are required to keep from being hit, the helmet is in case the first two don’t do their job. As an aside: minor roads are one car width wide and generally have two way traffic.
A quick ride home and I discover how out of shape I really am.
The following day I set off to work, I decide to ride around the coast and up the canal because it will be flat – not that there are big hills but that I am an old fat guy. So I just get onto upper Canal Street when I hear the “ffffit ffffit ffffit” of a puncture rolling around and around as the rear tyre goes flat. (I love that “tyre” spelling.) So I hop off and walk the bike to the bike shop that does not take credit cards, but they are closed – after all it is only 8:30 and no sensible business that does not sell coffee/tea is open until 9:30. So I lock the bike up and walk the rest of the way to the office.
Lunch time, I head off to the bike shop to find out how much it will cost to fix the tyre. On the way I count my change: €10.12. Upon arriving at the shop I ask about repairs – fix the flat €8, change the tube €10 – I am in luck. I go around to the side where I locked the bike and there it is – without the rear wheel. PANIC!!!
Turns out the guy from the shop had it and had already replaced the tube, as the old one had 6 patches on it. €10 poorer and I am on my way again.
It rains in Ireland, and the wind blows off the ocean. I decided that I would try the direct 4.9K route from the house to the office even though it starts out going up hill as the wind is blowing down the coast and riding into the wind is like riding up hill. Fat old guy and long hill … not a good combination. (I sure can’t wait to drop some of these pounds so I can just be an old guy). So fat old guy (FOG) starts up the hill in the rain. Yes, it is raining. Not the light drizzle of rain in the Northwest of the US and not the open the sky and pour buckets downpour of the desert southwest, something in the middle. FOG gets to the top of the hill and starts down the other side only to discover that the wind is whipping up the hill and so he must pedal down the hill too — ARGH.
What is this? A traffic diversion. Up another hill, around another roundabout, more riding into the wind. Finally back on the route, wind at my back, rain in my face, cars at my side, puddles everywhere. I get to the office, grab a shower (See Cindy’s description of an electric shower https://galwayrambling.wordpress.com/2011/11/07/ch-ch-changes/) and head to my desk.
Only to discover that it is not raining, it is showering. It will be raining (a harder form of shower) later today when I try to wend my way home.
Ahh, the adventure. I love it.