Whats Happening on Saturday?

First Leg

If you haven’t guessed yet, we want you to join us this Saturday for a cycle and a party. Its going to be a big day, and we’d like you to be there.

We reckon that cycling is the most fun you can have with your clothes on, and by cycling a long way we’re doing our bit to help Aware raise awareness of mental health issues. Regular exercise is good for the mind as well as the body and cycling is a great way to take regular exercise. The Home Coming Cyle is in Aid of Aware. We raised €15,000 with our Send Off Cycle 18months ago, and we’re hoping to exceed that this time around.

So, what’s going to be happening?

3.00pm 200+ cyclists will leave Blackrock College in a Massive Charity Cycle to Greystones.

5.00pm We all arrive at Greystones, finishing the first Irish circumnavigation of the globe by bike.

5.01pm We open a massive bottle of Champagne from Bubble Brothers, and the party starts.

For the rest of the evening there’s all sorts entertainment. Tarja(Olympic MTBer) from AllMoutainExperience will be giving a skills seminar on a skills course set up in the Rugby Club Grounds. The guys from Great Outdoors will be showcasing some of their gear and giving away a four person tent!   There’ll be live music by Blind Yacketty, and Louis will be spinning an eccletic mix till the wee hours. There’ll also be a big barbecue and a full bar.

So grab a bike and join the party.

Get the details here

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Swimming in England

Feckin Union Jack Swimming Hat
Fearghal

Haddon-England

Ok lads, swim up river to that tree, and then maybe to that boat. The tree’s about 20m away and the boat maybe 50m. Jaysus, I’m not sure if I can we we chimmed. Once we’d recovered from the chill we managed swimming to the tree (though the current almost stole my boxers), then drifted back down stream to the jetty hopped out and dried our lobster coloured skin.

With us safely on dry land, Dan our host headed off for a mile-long crawl. He was back in twenty minutes. His normal training sessions are two to three hours.

While we were enjoying the bird song on a river bank in rural England we ruminated on long distance swimming. After 29,000km in the saddle, its become difficult to understand the stock incredulous reaction to our trip. Cycling long distances seems normal now. Yet, the thought of swimming a mile seems undo-able to to me. When I think about it rationally I know that its just a case of putting one arm in front of the other for long enough, much like cycling. But when I try to imagine myself swimming out to dalkey island or something similar I get butterflies.

The Support Crew

http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=71649

Simon

Cambridge – England

Over the last 18 months, we’ve passed through many countries and landscapes, slogged up mountain passes and rolled effortlessly along flat open plains. We’ve been frozen to the core, soaked in rain, and soaked in sweat. We’ve had aches and strains, been hungry, thirsty, sick and tired. We’ve and had many trials and many tribulations. But without the support of the people on our route, we would not be where we are now, sitting in Cambridge, with only a short stint left to do until we finish in Greystones.

These people have housed us, fed us, shared their stories and shared their culture. They’ve welcomed us into their homes at a moments notice and shared with us whatever they could, from giving us clean water from their well to cooking up gigantic feasts. They’ve given us a dusty floor of their shed, an entire floor of their home, and their own beds in which to sleep. They’ve made us laugh, made us think, told us tales of joy and tales of sadness. They’ve raised our spirits when we were down, buoying us up with their acts of kindness, and humbling us with their overwhelming generosity. These people, these friends, our wonderful worldwide support crew.

That was Eurasia

 Fruit Leather Vendor

The Channel

Fearghal

11am and already our clothes were sticking to us, drenched as they were with sweat. It was July in Shanghai. We found a park with a good view of the craned pocked skyline and set up the shiny new video camera, the old one somehow got contaminated by melted chocolate in Peru, for a brief video diary and stated our destination Greystones 20,000km and one continent west. Then we were on our way.

Three hours ago, we pulled out the same camera, its not new anymore, and told it that we’ve just crossed a continent. Shanghai to Hoek Van Holland(just west of Rotterdam) 19,000km and 9months cycling west. I’m writing this on a ferry en-route to the Islands where they speak English, and Irish and Welsh, and drive on the left of all things. 

A lot has happened in those 9 months, we met some amazing people, saw some impressive places, almost went nuts in deserts and were challenged by mountains, we had to bribe corrupt big hatted border guards, were almost shot at on the Kazakh/China frontier, we both could have been killed in central Asia, were treated to inside glimpses of unusual cultures, drank tea with nomads and shepherds, ambassadors and business men, slept rough(usually) and on Egyptian cotton sheets(once), drank home brewed schnapps from chipped cups and fine Cognac from crystal.

There were times I cried; alone and grieving my grandad in the desert, times I laughed hard; sharing jokes over Vodka and russian “tapas” with sharp jawed Russians and gold toothed Kazakhs who five minutes previous had been dodgy strangers. At times the world seemed so simple and sometimes it seemed like a indeciferable riddle written with a word from each of its languages. Some days I loved the people I encountered; felt kin ship with humanity,  some days I couldn’t bring my self to once again tell my five lined story… “yes all on a bicycle… yawn…” and yearned for home; to be in my little part of the world with my tribe.  

Eurasia was exactly what I signed up for, adventure and personal exploration and the bicycle did its job,  facilitating hardship encounters and adventure in appropriate measures.       

Kit Review – iPod

iPod Clasic

Simon

When cycling in remote desert areas, ascending up some never ending climb, or on those inexplicable mornings when you just don’t feel like cycling, I find music to be a brilliant motivator that gets me into the groove. Music can also heighten many experiences to spine tingling levels, if the right song comes on at the right time. I remember one such instance, climbing into an isolated part of the Kyrgyz mountains at sunset, surrounded by the colossal rugged mountains that were cast in a lovely orange glow. I was feeling great and enjoying the moment, when my iPod switched to a beautiful melodic track by the Icelandic band Sigur Ros which was like putting the icing on an already incredibly tasty cake.

Being on the road for 18 months requires a lot of music so you don’t end up listening to the same stuff over and over, so after lots of deliberaton and research, we plumped for the iPod classic 120Gb. This has a brushed metal body with chrome back, small screen and can take weeks worth of continuous music along with lots of videos and photos. It’s brilliant being able to store an entire music collection on one device so there’s always music to fit your mood. On days off or in the tent at night, the video is really appreciated for a little escapism. I love being tucked into my cosy sleeping bag with a load of sweets or cakes, and relaxing into a good film or one of the many Fawlty Towers or Blue Planet episodes I have on my iPod.

The main drawback with the iPod over other mp3 players is that you can’t transfer music from it to someone else’s mp3 which is quite limiting. But for the sheer quantity of stuff you can get on there, ease of use, and lets face it, cool styling, the iPod can’t be beaten.