The clove hitch and the bowline are two of the most important and useful knots for any sailor. Anyone can use these very handy and easy knots. They are excellent for tying down loads on a bicycle rack, securing a washing line between two trees, creating loops for tent pegs…the list goes on.
A few years ago I bought a bicycle to get around town, go shopping, go to the beach, etc…basically save money on car rentals. The side effects have been a general improvement of my physical fitness, a sense of community with the other bikey folks and an overall emotional well-being. I started with one bike, a used mountain bike. Then I bought a road bike. Then I bought a better mountain bike because I had outgrown the first bike. I still have all three–my donkey, my mountain bike and my road bike.
I really love bicycling. I have ridden some races, both road and mountain, preferring mountain but enjoying the speed and adrenaline of the road race. What I really love is a long mountain bike ride, mostly uphill, and not so fast. No race, just me and the elements.
A couple of years ago I watched a documentary called ‘Janapar’, by a bikey named Tom Allen. So I guess that’s when I caught the bug and I guess that’s where this is all leading: bicycle touring. This summer it will happen. I will ride the Wild Atlantic Way, south to north, i.e. Cork to Derry. +/- 2700km. July 24 to September 12.
There are a few ways to do this. I could spend huge amounts of money and stay in hotels, B&Bs, etc…this is called ‘credit card touring’. Or I could pack up all my gear (plus some new stuff) in four panniers, camp as often as possible and really have an adventure. I have been in contact with a bike shop in Cork and was going to rent a bike from them. The cost, like the hotels and B&B, would be high, even with any kind of generous discount they may grant me. So I’ll buy a new bike. I’ll buy it from them. And I’ll ship it back to Greece when I return mid-September. So that’s it.
There are some nice bikes for someone like me. I’ll expand on all of this in upcoming blogs. For now I am practicing my knots, getting my gear together and getting fit. Four months from now I’ll be riding through West Cork. Crossed fingers.