Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Lance Armstrong rides in Phoenix Park today

Forget the pubs, the place to be seen in Dublin this summer is on a bike in Phoenix Park. Earlier this summer, singer Beyonce rented a bike to see the sights in the park, and today Lance Armstrong invited the public to join him for a ride there. He even recommended Phoenix Park Bike Hire, the very same one chosen by Beyonce and my husband and me. Read all about it in The Herald. Please give us a report if you were lucky enough to join the ride today, or if you've spotted any other celebrities riding in Phoenix Park!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Let the good times roll

While most of our time in Ireland last month was spent with my husband's family, we did manage to reserve a few hours of one day to rent bikes in Dublin's enormous patch of open space, Phoenix Park. Our daughter chose to join her cousins on an open-top bus tour of Dublin instead, as she didn't feel her left foot was ready for cycling just yet.

Phoenix Park Bike Hire had a steady stream of customers that Monday afternoon, with a group ahead of us leaving on bikes and two more groups waiting behind us. I was happy to be handed a ladylike step-through framed Giant Expression (possibly the one ridden by Beyonce - see the photo on their website) with a bag on the rack to hold our belongings.
My husband was given an "ugly mountain bike" with a laugh from the friendly bike man.
Eager to be on our way and away from the crowd, we rode up the street into the park and hoped the darkening clouds would hold their rain for just a little while longer. They obliged, and I was grateful for their presence by the end, as it was warm enough without the sun beating down on us. The constant presence of the dramatic clouds above the smooth green fields made for a beautiful landscape throughout our ride.

As my husband is accustomed to riding alone at a moderately high speed for exercise purposes, our ride together didn't turn out to be the relaxed, romantic pedal through the park that I had envisioned. Instead, I struggled to stay close behind him and gave up on the idea of conversation until we stopped for a brief rest. Perhaps the presence of my camera on video mode kept him on the run. I recorded about 35 minutes of our 90 minute ride and chopped it up into this 3 minute video.

The Green Fields of Dublin from BIKE Lite on Vimeo.

I have no idea how much of the park we actually covered, but it seemed like we saw most of it. The majority of the park has a separated bike path, and the on-street bike lanes we encountered were comfortably wide with light traffic, although we did see three cars parked in the bike lane (try to spot them in the video).

Our bike ride through Phoenix Park was one of the highlights for me, and I'm sure we will make it a regular feature of our future visits. Hopefully next time our daughter will accompany us and keep the pace at a more comfortable level for conversation. She might even smile for the camera.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Bikes are back in Dublin

There has certainly been a bike boom in Dublin since my last visit in July 2006. Bikes are piled into racks and locked to street signs and railings everywhere. Brave cyclists claim their space among taxis and double-decker buses on the busiest streets in the downtown tourist areas. Bike lanes have been signposted throughout the city, usually within the bus lanes. Many of the bike lanes are reserved only during the morning and evening rush hours, and some bike lanes appear to be no more than 2 feet wide, but they are being used despite their shortcomings. Whether it's the higher cost of gas, the drop in the economy, or a growing environmental awareness, Dublin residents of all ages seem to be bringing out their bikes, and the city seems to be scrambling to meet their needs.

Catching a photo of any of these cyclists from the crowded sidewalks or our moving rental car sure kept me scrambling, but I eventually caught a few live ones. Click here or on the photo below to see my small set of photos from Dublin.

(For an insider's view of cycling in and around Dublin, check out Jack's blog, Le Vie en Velo.)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Bike photos from County Kerry, Ireland

I seem to have taken more bike-related photos in Ireland than I realized, so I will be posting them in small batches. This is the first set from our week in County Kerry in the southwest of Ireland. Click here or on the image below to see all 15 photos in a slideshow on Flickr.

More photos from Ireland coming soon!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Many Happy Returns

All good things must come to an end sometime, and so we have returned home from our visit with my husband's family in Ireland. I have quite a few bike-related photos to share from the trip, but first I want to report the news from today: My bike buddy is back! Daughter rode her bike today for the first time since her foot injury on May 1! After two and a half months of Sever's disease, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, bruised toes, crutches, a walking boot and physical therapy, she finally felt confident enough to ride her bike to the library this morning. We discovered her bike needed a little physical therapy, too:
Flabby tires need to get pumped!

As we pulled up to the bike rack outside the library, another mother and her two young sons arrived on bikes. I was happy to see that someone else had discovered the bicycle solution to our library's notorious parking space shortage (about 10).

Later in the day, Daughter requested another bike ride to the farmer's market to buy her favorite cinnamon scones from the bread stand. How could I say no? After dinner, she suggested riding our bikes to the convenience store for milk. No problem! Looks like someone has rediscovered her bike love.

It's good to be back.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Bicycle parking at the mall

Modern bike racks at The Pavillions in Swords, County Dublin