Bicycle Adventure #3 – or – Weather Comment #10K

Ok, so we know the ride to work is 5K by the shortest, hilliest, congestedest, constructioniest route there is.  So obviously I don’t travel that route often.  I usually ride down the Prom, up the Salthill roads, up the canal roads and cut across the paths on campus.  Probably 7K or so.  Nice ride on a clear day — if there were such a thing.

I have managed to get far enough into shape — and away from that round shape — that I can make the ride at a good clip and, except for traffic, without stopping.  Now comes the weather.

Last night as I left work I put on my rain pants.  These are plastic-like pants that cover your normal pants so that you don’t become soaked under most conditions — or unless it is Irish raining.  It was US raining (Irish soft evening) and dark when I left the office.  The wind was blowing furiously but the trees and buildings blocked most of it.  When I got down to the Prom the wind was coming off the bay and blowing strongly, whipping the bay into a foamy churning mass of grey and causing the breakers to spray up across the sidewalk on the Prom, drenching the area in salt water and seaweed.  I could tell that the water blown into my face was from the sea, not the sky, by the stinging salt.

This morning I look out and the sky is clear as the sun is just rising.   But when I start out the door I realize that it seems to be a soft morning.  So on go the rain pants and off I head for work; this time with the wind at my back.

I don’t know if squall is a sea term only but I am hereby adapting it to cycling in Galway.  I hit a squall.  It Irish rained.  Wind whipped around the buildings and blew the rain sideways.  In the matter of a few short blocks I was drenched to the skin.  As quickly as it started, it stopped.

When I got to campus the wind picked up again, this time blowing down the canal – so directly in my face.  It was about 9C (48F) — a cold morning in Ireland — and the wind was blowing hard enough that my hands froze.  I had to stop in the shelter of a building and rub them to get the feeling back before continuing on my way.

Lessons learned:

  1. Always wear rain pants if you are riding; if nothing else they will keep your pants clean from road grit and chain tattoos.
  2. The wind is always against you.  Actually this is just something I dredged up from earlier lessons.  I remember singing Bob Seeger’s “Against the Wind” for miles while riding down…….
  3. Riding next to the sea in a wind storm can be a pain in the eyes.  I suppose that makes windy sea side riding a site for sore eyes.
  4. Ireland has water.  A lot of water.  It falls from the sky.  They have so much they don’t charge you for taking it out of the tap.
  5. Cycling, even in a windy Irish rain storm, is enjoyable.  If nothing else there are plenty of stories to tell.

Questions discovered:

  1. Do those cycling booties (shoe covers) that the pros wear keep the water out?

— Claude

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