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.
- Always wear rain pants if you are riding; if nothing else they will keep your pants clean from road grit and chain tattoos.
- 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…….
- 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.
- 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.
- Cycling, even in a windy Irish rain storm, is enjoyable. If nothing else there are plenty of stories to tell.
- Do those cycling booties (shoe covers) that the pros wear keep the water out?