Four day cycling trip through Northern Ireland

Cycling Trip

This entry was originally posted in our family blog on 19 March 2008. In the process of moving blogs, I lost all the photos, though I still had most of them stored elsewhere. The order may be somewhat messed up, but as far as I remember, these are the pics I posted with the commentary.

Two weeks ago, Micky bought me a decent bicycle after I’d been getting along with a very old, rusty, heavy mountain bike for some time now. As I’ve become quite an avid cyclist, it seemed worthwhile to invest in a decent machine and some of the associated paraphernalia. So here’s my new bike:


Seeing as I now had the lovely machine, I decided to do something I’ve been keen to do for a long time now: go on a multi-day trip.

On Saturday, 15 March 2008, I took a train to Belfast.


From there I set out along the A8 towards Larne.

I listened to my favourite music all day long every day, my mind otherwise occupied with deep philosophical musings on the nature of happiness and the relationship between happiness and risk.


After Larne, I cycled along the coast road, which was very beautiful.


I finally reached Glenarm, and around the corner from it was Carnlough, where I stayed the night. I took a wrong turn and paid dearly for it by adding about ten kilometres to the journey. At the end of Saturday, I had covered 81.96km at an average speed of 14.4km/h over 5h39min. My maximum speed that day had been 46.6km/h. That’s cycling time only, my very snazzy little speedometer only counts the time while the bike is moving, so my total travelling time was much longer than that.


This is the sight from the guesthouse window in Carnlough:


This photo, taken on Sunday, day two, might look insignificant, but it marks the bottom of the hill from hell. I was heading for Ballycastle from Cushendall, and it was pretty much all uphill – and I mean not interspersed with the odd downhill. Really, it was all up.


I was just seriously starting to wonder why in hell I feel it neccessary to do this to myself, when I saw this:I know you can drive there in a car to see it, but from experience I know that a view earned the hard way is just somehow more beautiful.


Just before Ballycastle I stopped for lunch:


I went inside, of course, where I had the most delicious Scampi and Chips I have ever tasted.

From there it was on to Bushmills (yes, the home of the famous whiskey). At the guesthouse where I stayed that night, there was a very sweet little cat:


At the end of Sunday, I had covered 71.64km, at an average speed of 15.5km/h, over 4h35min. My max had been 39.4km/h.


The next day, Monday, was lovely, sunny and warm. I stripped off my track suit bottoms and treated the world to this ghastly sight:

Coming into Garvagh, I managed to get a thorn in the front tyre, and had to change the tube. Thanks to the brilliant foresight of Allan at Tommy the Bike’s, it was no problem.


I managed to take another wrong turn, this time diverting my course onto a little piece of road that had been sliced from Hades and implanted onto the Northern Irish landscape. It had the most horrendous hills and dales imaginable. Having this way added twenty kilometres to my trip, I ended the day having covered 83.8km, at an average of 16.5km/h, over a time of 5ho3min. Max was 48.9km/h.

I took a photo of my dinner that night at the guesthouse near Magherafelt, to show more or less what I ate at night. I find that when I’m cycling, my appetite is often virtually non-existent.


This is the last photo I took on the trip, early morning over Lough Neagh. It was stunningly beautiful. I made my way to Portadown, covering 54.17km, at an average speed of 15.2km/h over 3h32min. My maximum speed was 47.5 km/h.


I took a train back to Dundalk from Portadown. All in all a very, very wonderful trip.

I am quite sure this was taken just before the photo of the bottom of the hill from hell, but couldn’t figure out from the commentary I’d written, where it was placed in the original post.