May & June pics

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With both the Tour de Lough Derg and the National TT Championship successfully in the bag, I’m putting up some of the Club spins again. Or at least until the Munster TT kicks in. There are separate posts of Rob’s fashion commentary and the Magical Mystery Tour to Victoria Lock, somewhere in Ireland.

Roger on the Tour de Connemara
Quite the Turnout

Tour de Lough Derg

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Well, we’re successfully back on the Tour map again. There’s a lot of thanks to go around on a great Tour effort.

Just within the Club, we would like to thank our own members who rode on the day, those who volunteered for marshalling and stewarding, driving the lead cars and broom-wagon, catering, photography, and organizing a lot of moving pieces. Not forgetting those who supplied Jan with food, and those members who gave of their time, experience and expertise in enabling us to pick up the pieces again after a 2 year absence.

Externally, we would like to thank other Cycling Clubs whom supported us, the Gardai, the Motorbike Marshals, the Red Cross, Larkins of Garrykennedy, Whitegate GAA club, staff in Cycling Ireland, and also the ‘Nenagh Guardian’, who have always been good to the Club.

And last but not least, thank God for the perfect weather.

We did say there were a lot of moving pieces.

You’ll find Mike Molamphy’s pics via the link below.



A windy and drizzled Sunday

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Cloughjordan Coffeestop

A mixed group of NTW cyclists took to the road on Sunday morning. The calendar said it was the start of Summer, but the weather on the morning said otherwise. It was a bit of a yo-yo spin, with a return to base necessitated after 5kms, due to Roger having battery problems. Peter supplied a spare bike from his shop, allowing the spin to re-start. It’s great having someone like Peter on the spin, a professional bike mechanic and bike-shop owner, and very obliging to boot. Roger is dead sound as well, especially when he’s fully charged (like the Duracell bunny), which is most of the time.

Route was Nenagh>Roscrea>Cloughjordan>Borrisokane>Nenagh, c.90kms.


April Spins

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Sunday, 10 April. The group did Nenagh, Dolla, up Bolliningbrook, to the Thurles Newport Road, Reiska, Borrisleigh, Templemore Road turn off and up to Gortagarry, Moneygall, Tomevara, Tea stop in Caseys.

Ballinamona, back in the Thurles road home. Very windy hard going not very warm. 

Liam had a puncture on the back tyre. Distance was 80km.

Sunday, 24th April. Group of 11 (Liam’s taking the photo) on the Thurles-Templemore Road. 88Kms @ 30kph.


Craic and Cracks

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Saturday saw Roger, Mike and Gerry head to Ennistymon for the Cliffs of Moher Challenge, with Gerry giving the lads a (free) lift. Things didn’t exactly go to plan. While parked in a B&B, the back windshield of Gerry’s car had a teeny weeny bit of pressure applied to it (we’ll ignore how). That resulted in a tiny little crack at the base of the windshield. Really tiny. “Nothing to see here, folks. Move on, move on”.

Then the real cracks started. Open the car door – Crack. Close the car door – another Crack. Breath – Crack. Mike, ever the practical farmer, saw what was happening from the off, was knowledgeable and sympathetic, but was of no practical help whatsoever. As there wasn’t a rule to cover this situation, Gerry was helpless. Roger was Roger. The lads looked round to watch a couple of passing birds – more Cracking. Gerry started to sing the ‘Roll Over’ song, and the lads joined in on the chorus, “Roll, Roll, Roll Over, Roll Over, Roll On, Roll On”. Then the windscreen totally caved in.

Roger went to get some plastic bin bags from the B&B. Fortunately the bin bags were black, not white. We were able to cover the rear window with flapping bin bags. That way, Gerry’s BMW 520D, preserved its good looks and colour coordination (Rob will appreciate that). The lads were insistent that Gerry join them on the Ride, but Gerry was adamant that he was staying with the car. The lads went off.

Gerry went back to the B&B, and got the loan of a brush and pan, and a large bucket. Notwithstanding the bin bags, there were glass shards all over the back of the car. An hour and a bit later, Gerry returned the bucket to the owner, heavy with bits of sharp glass and blood.

The lads returned from their 80km Ride, with their own tales. We drove back with no rear windshield or bin bags, pretending to be posh, and driving a BMW Convertible. Mike sat in the back and got a pain in his neck. Roger was a pain in the neck. And Gerry had a pain in his head from the both of them.

BMW Convertible

There a saying “Don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story”. So, in that vein, I’m going to let Mike Gleeson’s very funny version supersede the truth. Here goes, and this is all Mike’s.

‘…but the vague reports I’m getting back from Clare are that Gerry drove all 3 down. When they arrived in Ennistymon Gerry demanded diesel money, a row broke out and the two boys broke all the windows in Gerry’s car -Gerry sulked and went straight home; the two boys were arrested. When they eventually got bail all the stewards were gone home, the two boys got lost in the Burren; Paul Madden, doing a tour with a bus load of American tourists came to the rescue, getting the boys home in the early hours of Sunday morning. Might just be fake news..’.

And those are the alternative facts (brilliant).


Another Sunday

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Sunday, the 2nd April, saw us out on a cold but bright day, doing 87kms at an average of 30kph. The route was Nenagh>Roscrea>Birr>Borrisokane>Nenagh, with a wind seemingly forever against us after we turned in Roscrea for Birr.

We had a demonstration of some superb balancing skills at a stop in Roscrea, as Andy seemed to balance on a sixpence for a full minute. Very impressive. Now if Andy could just simultaneously juggle half a dozen dinner plates as well, he’d be a definite shoo in for a job in the Circus! (Just joking! No, it was very skillful).

Liam had one of those rifle-shot punctures mid-way to Birr. Always a bloody nuisance, but if they occur at the right time they can have their upsides. A chance for a breather, a visit behind the hedge, and to strip off some layers. The latter chance was particularly useful, as it was one of those morning that started off very cold and then warmed up. Layers are essential, but you don’t always get the chance to peel them off.

We had coffee about 6kms outside Birr (Carrig, I think – good seating, pleasant stop, low-key), and pushed on home. Travelling through Nenagh, Rob (the ‘man in black’) had two near ones in near succession, thanks to some appalling driving. No damage done, but it was a reminder of the danger of travelling through built-up areas, and the fact that there are always idiot drivers out there.


We’ll always have Starbucks

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Gorgeous day on Sunday, as 11 of us took to the road. We cycled to the University of Limerick the back-way (Garrykennedy>Ballina>Cloonlara>UL, before stopping at the Castletroy Shopping Centre for the customary coffee. Then we set out for Murroe and Newport, before going on to Ballinahinch and the N7, and hence back to Nenagh. 102km in total, at a slow enough 27.5kph. You can put that down to the dog-rough road between Newport and Ballinahinch, and the easterly headwind we came up against on the N7 back into Nenagh.

Leading out was well spread throughout the group, but with Liam and Andy doing a lot of the heavy lifting in the latter half. A new feature of the customary Nenagh – Portroe route was the turn-off to Garrykennedy, and then the detour via the Slate Quarries back to the Ballina Road, bypassing Portroe Hill. This was a try-out of the planned Tour de Lough Derg route, and it proved successful.

And then these was the coffee-stop in Castletroy Shopping Centre, chiefly Starbucks. How did we ever manage in the old days before we had the trendy, multinational, ethical coffee-chains? Tea and black coffee I seem to remember. It seems the world is full of coffee-drinkers now, and they’re all ahead of me in the queue. I’m a tea or milk man myself, but I’ve nothing against the coffee-drinking tribe per se. It’s just the endless delays and queuing. This is what the old Soviet Union must have seemed like.

Here’s how it worked on Sunday. Queue going out the door. Stutter forward and halt again. Americano here, Latte there, Mucho on the right of you, Mucho on the left of you. Five minute delay. Then the line stutters to live again. “Would you like some chocolate shavings?”. Bloody hell, what’s this – an ice-cream cone? Long delay, move forward 3 steps and – stop. “Would you like that foamed, Madam?”. For f***’s sake, can’t she blow her own bubbles? MOVE can’t you? Finally I get to the top of the queue. Not that the Barrista (or ‘Partner’ as they refer to their staff) takes the slightest notice of me. No, he decides that now is a good time to start sticking price labels all over the place. And sod you too, Sir, says I to myself), quitting the queue and the Store.

I fall back on my bike bottle of diluted Mi-Wadi Orange, and the lads give me a couple of current buns. Just like the good old days.

And then there was the fall, as young Mike pulled the old ‘I’m stuck in my cleats’ trick for his very first time. Mike went down pretty sharpish at a crossroads in Newport. Now, in my painful experience, there are two types of ‘stuck in the cleats’ fall. There’s the sudden quick (“Oh Shit”, Bang) one, and the longer, more protracted (“Oooooooh Shiiiiiit”, Bang) one. The long one is the one to avoid. Although, if you’ve your wits about you, you can collapse on to another rider, and that helps break your fall.

Such falls rarely cause more than a skinned knee and hurt pride. But try to avoid a newly tarred road, or a situation where girls witness you falling like a moron. That hurts! But in the overall scheme of things, it’s a sissy injury. It’s when other cyclists come over to you with a worried face, and ask you with compassion in their voices “How’s your bike?” that you need to worry.

Anyway, back to young Mike, who’d had a quick one. It didn’t knock anything out of him. Straight back on the bike again, smile on his face. I think we’ve a good ‘un in young Mike. He raises the average speed a bit when he rides with us, and lowers the average age a LOT. I reckon he’s got a great future ahead of him.


St. Patrick’s Day

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Roger had the good idea to pull together a spin on St. Patrick’s Day morning, so we met up in Moynan’s carpark at 9.30. We were a small group but well matched. Our route was c.54kms, Newtown>Portroe>Ballina>O’Brien’s Bridge, Daly’s Cross>Birdhill>Nenagh.

We passed a large group of Lower Ormond cyclists on our way, very friendly as always. The fun started at the bridge in Ballina, when we noticed Paul was no longer with us. Being good chaps, we rode (or climbed all the way back) through Ballina to find Paul at the top of the climb giving on to the Portroe Road. Paul had punctured.

Like a well-drilled team of mechanics at Formula 1, we immediately set to work. Gerry knew all the rules, so he supervised the operation. Roger guffed, Mike used his strong thumbs and hands on the tyre, while Paul dealt with the inner tube and pumped.

I really don’t know what went wrong. We were very careful in checking both the tyre and the fitting of the inner tube, avoiding pinches and kinks. Paul diligently used the hand-pump. Pump, pump, pump – nothing. More pump, pump and pump – more nothing. Damn it!

It was at this point that a fair Damsel came to the aid of 4 men in distress. Ann (who owned the house back of us) came over to check out our progress, and we got talking. It turned out Ann was a leisure cyclist, and, blessed luck, had a Floor Pump. We were in business. Mike was pumping away when there was a sharp, loud report. Yikes! Sniper! Mike jumped back suddenly as if he’d been hit. Then cautiously approached the wheel again. A few more little pumps and then another shot. That was the replacement tube done for.

We carefully checked the inner tube on removing it, found a tear, and put is aside. We carefully put in another tube, and pumped again. More gunfire. This was getting like JFK and the Grassy Knoll. Found another tear, but further along the tube this time. Now, it’s just vaguely possible that we were surrounded by so much torn rubber that we might have replaced one inner tube with one we previously tore, but it’s highly unlikely. I mean, how stupid could we be?

And finally, on the third (and last spare tube) attempt, we successfully completed the wheel repair. But we’d lost a LOT of time. I think Roger was on the point of inviting us back to Ann’s house for tea and scones, but we were pressed for time. And I think Ann was very impressed by our puncture skills as we bid adieu.

We stopped in O’Brien’s Bridge for coffee, and the first try out of our new (and hilariously received) Coffee-Stop Rule. Pay for yourself? Went by the wayside. I didn’t object too much as I wasn’t paying – I think that was Mike and Paul. And the 20 minute rule? A qualified success. 20 minutes for the first round of coffee, and then another 20 minutes for the second round of coffee. That was either a double success or a total failure, depending how you look at it. Suffice to say, I think we’ll have difficulty making that rule stick.

So, having left Nenagh at 9.30am, and cycled 65kms, we got back to Nenagh about 2.00pm. Go figure!


Some Sunday Spins

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Our latest Sunday spin on 6th March saw us do a 98km spin at an average of 28kph. Route was Limerick Road>Ballina>Tuamgraney>Bodyke>Broadford>O’Briensbridge>Daly’s Cross>Nenagh. We’d a welcome coffee-stop at Broadford, with Gerry stumping up (for 10 years’ credit). Hats off to the Country Store in Broadford, and their very friendly staff. Scones and coffees were of the usual high standard, and they’ve significantly improved the outdoor dining area. Some good came of the pandemic.

The morning was cold, but dry and bright. Unfortunately, we ran into an easterly breeze on our run-in from Daly’s Cross to Nenagh, rather than the usual westerly. The length of the spin (98kms), together with that breeze and the rolling nature of the whole route, ensured that some tired bodies were glad to see the end line.


Hilly Sunday

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A very cold, wet, windy, and generally crappy day, and still our Members turn out (10 and 3 from the Leisure Touring Group in photo). We were delighted to welcome Stephen, a new Club Member, who had a ride to remember (or maybe forget!)

The spin was c.76km, and was geared deliberately towards climbing. It took in Moneygall, Army Hill, Gortgarry, Borrisoleigh, Upperchurch, Bolingbroke, Dolla and back to Nenagh. Coffee stop was in Dolla, where a shivering and wet group were relieved to get down some hot beverages, paid for by Peter Moynan. That’s one very popular man.

Needless to say, there had to be a puncture. This time it was Sean, who was directly assisted by Peter in sorting the problem, with Peter and Liam giving instructions. Other members were sitting on the ditch, enjoying seeing frozen hands hard at work.

“What Pump? I thought you had it.”