When you are out on the bike you always get plenty of time to think . That is , when you’re not hurtling down a steep descent at almost 100 kph when you enter what Eckhart Tolle might call ‘ The now ‘ . Yesterday as I rode up over the climb of ‘ The Pike ‘ behind Vinny and Sean Kelly I began to think about the number of siblings or father and son pairings that cycle together .
Out of a group of perhaps fifty cyclists locally you have the Kelly’s , the O’Gorman’s , the Maher’s , the O’Donnell’s , the O’Donoghue’s , the Power’s , and the Ormonde’s and that’s just the brothers . As for father and sons who ride the bike together you have the McNamara’s , the Hahaessy’s , the Kelly’s , the Maher’s , the Alton’s , the Byrne’s , the O’Donnell’s and the Power’s .
So what is it that makes cycling such a popular way for family members to spend time together . Perhaps it is a number of things like the following :
Most cyclists are very passionate about their sport or hobby . This passion can be infectious thus when one begins to cycle there is a draw towards the bike for the other .
Age makes very little difference on the bike . I’ve occasionally seen a grandfather and grandson in the same group cycling together . The same could not be said for sports like hurling or football .
The bike can be a great way to clear the air . After a hard 3 hour training spin very little energy remains to argue about any petty infringements .
It’s good to talk . On the bike you are looking straight ahead whilst you chat to the person beside you . Very often son’s may talk about happenings in their lives to their fathers whilst on the bike that they would never dream of talking about when sitting in an armchair at home .
It’s an excuse to meet up . We are all so busy nowadays that very little time can be left for family if we don’t make a conscious effort to schedule it . A regular Sunday morning training spin can be a guaranteed way to ensure that people do meet each other at least once a week .
It’s healthy . Of course there are Fathers , sons and brothers who meet up every Saturday afternoon in the pub to watch a soccer match and also meet at half time outside the door whilst smoking a fag . But given the choice between spending time with your son whilst exercising and keeping both of you fit and healthy or doing what basically is the complete opposite , any right minded person would choose the bike.
It seems as though I had a lot of time to think on yesterdays spin , but that all went through my head in the final 500 metres of ‘The Pike’ .
As regards the rest of the spin . Yesterday saw the continuation of a practice which began last winter . The splitting of the group . The normal group left Carrick at 9 am as usual whilst ‘ the racers ‘ left at 9.15 . There a number of benefits to doing this . Smaller groups mean more time at the front setting the pace and getting a proper workout .
There is also the safety benefit which really is number one . A smaller group is less dangerous on the road as impatient Sunday morning motorists can get past easier .
In our group ( the normal one ) we had fourteen leaving Clonmel and that was down to just eight as we passed through Dungarvan , where Kelly was doing a live radio interview as we rode along on the bike .
The spin was what could be described as steady-hard as we all kept the pace up to stay warm in the freezing temperatures .
Details of the spin , map , heart rate , average speed etc. courtesy of my Garmin edge 705 may be seen below :
Here too is a video clip of Vinny and Sean as they rode towards the top of ‘the haysheds ‘
and another clip as we caught and passed the ‘Jim O’Keefe ‘ group