Although my blog is about my life with my yellow bike, I feel I had better explain that I have a long history with bikes of various colours before the appearance of the yellow one.
Here’s a peep at those bikes.
Bear with me as I waffle my way through.
I’ll try and add some photo’s to lighten the monotony, but I am very new to this form of Diary writing…
So it will be touch and go.
(no photo’s of this time remain in existence but what I do have is a very old diary and sketch book that I kept on this journey. This is one of my drawings from that time)
I have just finished my nursing and midwifery training, and whilst the majority of my friends have already met their soul mates and are continuing to work hard and save for house, car, family, I am saving for a new tent and a sleeping bag.
It’s early May and I have given myself five months to cycle from the most northerly tip of Donegal to cape clear island (co Cork)in the south.
My Bicycle is a single speed traditional black Raleigh.
I start the easy way and put myself and my bike on the Dublin to Letterkenny bus, feeling that because I was starting at the most northerly point, I would be cycling down hill most of the way.
Ahh! The optimism of youth.
I spent those five months pedalling the smallest roads on my map, camping , fishing, swimming, loving, and attending every folk festival on my route.
Sometimes I got diverted and stopped for a while if I liked an area, helping out on a small farm (hay to be saved, turf brought in from the bog). sometimes their were mountains to be climbed, Islands to visit.
I dawdled for two weeks on Inisbofin, after falling in love with a local lad. Then back to the mainland again.
A few days could pass before I would meet up with another cyclist and then someone would catch up with me (I was a slow cyclist with no hang-ups about getting off and walking if the road was too steep)
Once I met an American in the black valley and we cycled together up over Molls gap. When it got too steep for me I got off and pushed my bike, but he kept cycling , his speed the same as my walking. we chatted, his legs a blur in first gear.
Rumour had it that at the lisdoonvarna folk festival, someone had met a cyclist with a wooden bike trailer.
My ears pricked up.
This was the time before Google, when you would have to use your detective skills.
‘He mentioned he was camping in lahinch’ The rumourist informed me.
The bicycle shop in lahinch had the answer.
‘He was foreign, from Holland, a grand tall lad, came in to buy a bike tube, great piece of work that trailer, hinged at four corners. You could lift the base and fold the trailer flat’.
‘Which way did he head’ I asked desperately
‘He mentioned Galway’ was the reply.
The opposite direction to me.( he obviously didn’t know of my clever north to south downhill thinking)
But I had enough information.
Holland would be my next years destination.
I was determined to buy a bicycle trailer.
I worked hard all winter and by april had saved enough money to last me another five months
I caught the boat, train and boat again to hook van Holland.
I bought my bike trailer, transferred my gear into it and decided I might as well take a scoot around Holland while I was there, though the wild mists of the west of Ireland were tugging at my heart strings.
It was on this scoot that I met my (now ex) husband.
With promises to him that I would return at the end of my cycle, I spent another wonderful happy time repeating my journey from Donegal to cork.
He wouldn’t wait.
He followed me to Ireland and brought me back to Holland..
Enter ‘The White Bike’ A beautiful Dutch Gazelle.
A sort of engagement ring from my Dutch man.
It sparkled in the sun and was a delight to ride,
With a beautiful wicker child basket it was the business and Look! a beautiful baby to go with it (my eldest daughter Hanna. born the following year in Holland),
Recently the white gazelle turned up at a family wedding.
Fast forward life.
A move back to Ireland
A pale cream ‘giant’ was next but even though I painted flowers on it, in my heart of hearts I knew it wasn’t quite right!
Swiftly followed by a pink and purple gazelle (which I still have and love)
The best was yet come! My wonderful solid loyal Yellow bike……..