A Rifftides reader chided me for not writing more often about cycling. My thought is that anyone’s cycling experiences are intensely interesting to himself and that everyone he tells about them will be bored.
However, since I have a new road bike, I don’t mind telling you that I took it out for a ride before supper. It made little sense to ride in a high wind, but sense and road cycling frequently part company. The manufacturer’s sales blurb for the bike claims:
This great roadster boasts Mavic’s Ksyrium Equipe wheels, too, which cheat the wind for free speed and are built to last.
I could have used a little more of Mavic’s wind cheating. I was cranking uphill against a 25-mile-an-hour west wind that became a north wind and stayed in my face when I turned at the intersection of two orchard country roads at the top of a steep hill. The hill sweeps down for half a mile to the valley floor. Fighting the gale, but with gravity on my side, I pedaled furiously down and gave a banshee whoop when, in spite of Aeolus’s interference, the speedometer registered 36 miles an hour. As I coasted to a hesitation for the four-way stop at the next intersection, a man pulled up beside me in a pickup truck and yelled with some heat, “What are you, nuts?”
I grinned. Then he shrugged and grinned, too, and we went on our ways.
If I ever replace my Terry I want a Bianchi; but it has to be celeste green. Sunday’s ride to Whistling Jack’s took place in howling winds, but the ride back was fast!
From some notes about a trip to Ireland in summer 2004:
Much experience was gained with the wind for which Western Ireland is famous. Perhaps the quintessential bike touring day was the ride from Cong, County Mayo to Rossaveal, County Galway, where we were to catch the ferry to Inishmaan Island. After riding 40 miles through the bleakest, loneliest bog country of the tour against very fierce gusts, Carla and Denise were near tears. They realized they had missed the turn-off for the ferry. They had to backtrack 7 kilometers. The last ferry of the day would be taking off in half an hour! We made the ferry, which left the dock in a heavy swell. Our bikes had been lashed to a rail outside, and quickly got drenched by the Atlantic. Pretty soon the waves were crashing over the boat as we rolled through crests and troughs, the kind that bring your stomach to your throat. Indeed, stomach contents were flowing into barf bags all around us. When we reached the island and disembarked in the rain, our B&B host met us at the dock in his jeep and asked to take our ‘heavy baggage.’ We followed him on our bikes to our lodgings. Later, from the comfort of our cozy house, Carla wrote in her journal, “This was the worst ride of my life.”