As I left work this evening I thought it wasn’t raining, but when I got outside I realised that the warm, calm evening I thought I had seen from my window was far from reality.. “away with the fairies” is how we describe fools like me here in Ireland. It was blowing a storm out!
Rather than badge myself back into the building, I took 5 minutes in the non-shelter of the bike shelter to put on my over-trousers, over-shoes, over-jacket, and felt quite over-done at the end of it – I’m only going 2 miles for Christ’s sake! It’s just long enough distance to get completely soaked if not prepared, but short enough that it takes as much time to put on and take off all the gear as it does travelling. Solution? Lets take the long cut home, again.
This time after 5 minutes on the bike and realising that there wasn’t a single other person insane enough to be out cycling for pleasure within a hundred miles of Dublin, I decided that Howth Summit was a bit optimistic. Ok, so how about the Bull Island monument? Crazy, possibly stupid – sounds great!
Struggling along the coast at 12km/h practically in granny gears was a good workout, and when I got to the slipway at Clontarf Yacht Club I saw a cool sight. There was an angle made by the sea-wall and the slipway that when hit by a decent wave, forced water 25 or 30 feet up into the air. Wow – this was really cool! Even better was my discovery that I could stand on the slipway, a little way out and not get drenched, because when the water went way up in the air like that and started to drop towards me the wind was so strong that it pushed all the water away.
I’m so childish sometimes, I spent 15 minutes standing there with my bike watching the water get thrown above me and then forced away. I finally decided I’d push on for Bull Island. Water was being thrown over the sea-wall all the way along the coast line, and I saw a couple of insane joggers out, poor fools!
On the dodgy old wooden bridge out to the Island I realised that wet, shiny old wood is a very, very slippery surface. It was like cycling on an ice-rink. Thankfully the 4×4 behind me kept well back, probably on the phone to the police reporting me as someone going out to commit suicide. I managed a whopping 10 km/h average along the Bull Road with the wind coming onto my right shoulder at around 40 km/h. The most frightening section was when the wind was momentarily blocked by a bathing shelter on the right, when I passed that the gusts were vicious.
And finally to the monument! I stopped there for 10 minutes and took some really terrible pictures with my phone, as you do. Hey, I had to prove I made it, right?
The trip back was fun – sitting upright and making sure the bike stayed on the path – I didn’t actually have to pedal until I was back on the bridge, and only then because I wanted control.
On the way home I called by the rugby club to show the lads I’m still alive. The mad eejits were out training in that wind and rain, felt sorry for them. I need to head to the doctor to confirm that my back is fully healed up from the pinched disk I had, and then I’ll be back at training shortly – thankfully!
Back to the point, storm cycling is fun, when you’re geared for it. I had wind and rainproof s on, and vitally my new L&M Arc HID light – I’d have been lost without all that gear, couldn’t even consider going out in that weather!
- Distance: 11.5524 km – route map
- Time: 1 hour 30-ish
- Average speed: 12km/h
- Wind speed: 40km/h
- Gusts: 70km/h
- Temp: 13C/~54F