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.
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.