Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Castlebar Christmas Eve Ride

I had to get a few photos of this tire shop located next to a brook.
As long as I have been here in Ireland, I have wondered if our 
zoning rules back in the States would allow something like this 
to be built in such a bucolic setting 

Looking down to it from the relatively steep hill that drops down to it.

Dead tires appeared on one side of the building
The gate here leads to a graveyard (closed to the public)
 that sits on the other side

Before I made it around to the back of the business above, 
a friendly horse joined me 
As did a rainbow
From slopping around in the field,
 my shoes were a muddy mess.

Once back in town, 
the Castlebar Concert and Marching Band
was hard at work

Saturday, December 15, 2012

All in an Irish Castlebar Christmas Ride

These guys were playing on Main St.

A few blocks away I found Juliano. You can hear him at this blog.
He's pretty amazing!!

This guy was moving dead cars from one box to the other.
On the side of the road, no less!!

On the edges of town, when I see 'Castlebar Walks', I know there is good riding ahead..

If you keep looking, you might be able to see the cows....

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Pawel Bullet Proofs my Rim!!

Pawel Guba, a talent beyond compare (see why), had me come in yesterday to get my 
rim. It's done!! A 4 mil layer of stainless steel now runs around the entire inside of the rim. He
used the machine above to press the metal into an exact fit on the rim before he 
then tig welded it in place!  Once he then drilled all 72 spoke holes through 
what is now two layers of steel, I had a perfectly round rim again!! 
And strong enough now for the Irish roads!! Yahoo!!

Next step: Painting and then building it!!  

It took longer than expected because Pawel was waiting on his 
friend to build a custom cam for the machine above.

Pawel's studio is located in the industrial section of Castlebar. I rode home in
30 degree temps. On the recumbent or mountain bike, 10 -15 miles a day, 5x a week, 
I'm usually rolling in the low 30's and 40's anymore.....

Pawel Guba ROX!!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Irish Lunch Ride Summer & Fall

On this short clip (pictures taken at the end of September), I try to capture the simple beauty just a few bicycle minutes from  the center of town that few seem to take the time to experience. And yet there again with roads like this almost everywhere to be found here in the west of Ireland, this kind of stuff is easy to overlook.......


BELOW is what that same stretch looks like a month and a half later.....

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Only the Sheep Were Outside

The temps were running at 32 degrees when I was out for my ride today.

Even though all the little ponds were all starting to freeze.

The sheep, in their full woolen outfits, didn't seem to mind........

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ireland Before & After the European Union

This the kind of Ireland I thought I'd see when I got here. 
Home like these, however are now in the minority.

Thanks to the European Union, and the influx of people joining that brought during the 1990's, 
most people here now live in sprawling housing estates like the one above 
(Virginia, Cayo and I live in a small one).

Friday, November 16, 2012

Blacksmith/World Class Artist-Martial Artist Saving Eagle

At the end of August, you saw me talking about the Rocky Mountain High Wheel rim that Brian Cawley at Caslebar Cycle Store, with Jim Spillane's guidance, was helping me to modify for the Irish roads over here. Well, we tried everything with no success. In fact, we'd reached a point where Jim was even going to create a batch of slightly longer spokes for the new slightly bigger rim when we hadn't  heard back from the Polish blacksmith who you have seen help me before (March 2011 job). I had dropped my bad rim off with Pawel Guba, at his Global Metal Art factory, hoping he could buttress it with an added sleeve of metal around the full inside of the rim.

He said he could do the job but wasn't sure if he'd be able to get to it before some Brazilian Jiu Jitsu matches he had coming up. I knew he was the Irish champion in his weight class, here is some video of him winning a match in Dublin:

But I didn't know he was ramping up to fight for the European title. If that's not enough, my wife saw in the local newspaper that he had won first place in a prestigious Ireland art competition. He won it with an amazing metal jewelry box that I had seen him dabbling with.

If you want to see how blacksmiths go about making sculptures out of metal, here is Pawel making an award winning tabletop chess set:

Well, about a week ago, he called me to say he'd be back in town this week to finish my rim. When I asked him where he was, he told me he was in London. When I wanted to know what art competition he was involved in there, he said that he just took third in the European Jiu Jitsu championship! I was astounded at his modesty - especially since I had had to ask him why he was even in England to begin with. He promised to send me some professional quality video footage from one of his bouts.  

We met today to discuss the project. Here he is with my rim:

As Pawel was grinding the paint off, he found even more 
cracks waiting for disaster. Hopefully you can see 
the tear above, where his thumb is. 

Pawel even has one of his buddies involved. The hard plastic disk that will shape the  three mil metal strip into a a semi circular gusset on the machine he has is being supplied by one of his friends. And Pawel tells me he should be getting that soon, If all goes according to plan, I will have a bullet proof rim soon. From there the build should be pretty straight forward this time around. Keeping m,y fingers crossed...

Talk about a real bullets powerhouse. Not only does this amazing man make magic with metal as well as mow down his Jiu Jitsu competition, but he also runs a huge workout facility that he lets his friends use so they can join him when he trains here locally..

Keep an eye on this space as Ireland offers its best talent to help me to get the Eagle back on the road.....

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Irish Road Flower Heaven Fading Away

The above is what the country side I am rolling through looks like in mid November. 

Here is what the same field looked like in June 2011

While THIS BLOG shows more photos and all the flowers I picked back then....

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Irish House with Very Bad Feng Shui

At the top of the screen is a house in the middle of the road (literally).

View from the back.

Abandoned for good reason, there is a door and a window here, but it is really hard to see......

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Back on Mountain Bike at Irish McMansion

Until I get my Eagle on the road again, I'm back on a department store mountain bike sans toe clips. "Powering" away on Virginia's heavy bike, every mile now is an earned one. Despite the fact that I am losing a lot of power by not being clipped in (I needed cleats on the recumbent, thus the crash w/o them), it is the kind of riding I have to do to regain the kind of fitness I need for my backwards facing HiWheel. 

And yet I will say that the Eagle is the most comfortable back I ride. The seat is major comfortable. And there is almost zero shock from the road. 

The house you see here was probably built in the 70's. And I would say it was the McMansion of the day back then....

Monday, November 5, 2012

Irish Cal Trans Workers

Unlike California, the Irish often have no choice but to  put down asphalt even when it rains:

However, just like CalTrans, it can take up to 10 workers to watch one guy working away:

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Gathering & Where All the Global Irish Live

Found this at the web site for The Gathering, a national event 
set to take place all over Ireland 
during all of 2013 
to call all the Global Irish 
back to their homeland.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Irish Bike Shop Subtitles Lance's Book - I Love EPO

I rolled into Castlebar Cycle Store for some air (still not on Eagle) and got a laugh at the book that now sits below mine. Brian Cawley, the store owner added, "I love EPO" and "It's not about the drugs" to the front cover of Lance Armstrong's book that now looks all so sadly fraudulent. Since Brian's shop is pretty much race central in this town of 10,000 people, if not all of County Mayo, Lance's demise comes as no surprise to a lot of his customers.

In addition, in a country that takes its bike racing very seriously, a lot of people here figured in on the Lance Armstrong drama:

Pat McQuaid is the director of the UCI who Greg Lemond has asked to step down
Emma O'Reilly was Lance's masseuse who remained steadfast in her reports of his drug use
David Walsh was the investigative reporter who did not give up  fleshing out  Lance, even after Lance almost succeeded in making the word ignore the book he wrote called, "L.A. Confidentiel -- Les Secrets de Lance Armstrong"
Paul Kimmage  is another journalist who, at the time of this writing, is being sued by the UCI for his accusing the organization of turning a blind eye to Lance. Of note, Lance very publicly accused Kimmage of not being "worth the chair you are sitting on," when the reporter pressed him on his  position on drug offenders.


New York Daily News 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Irish Back Roads (most are), Chimney Sweep, Rim Death (again)

Even as much of the foliage begins to brown, there's still lots of green.

Many old time Irish homes are built right at the edge of the road.

Don't know if you can see it, but this chimney sweep is giving me the thumbs up.

The peak you see off in the distance is Croagh Patrick at about 2,500 feet. From the Atlantic, which is on the other side, it was the first sighting of land by Charles Lindbergh in 1927.

Another casualty of Irish cycling. Peter Stull, at Bicycle Man, tells me this damage was caused by brake blocks being applied to wet, dirty rims. Ugh, I wouldn't be riding here on the Emerald Isle if I waited for good biking conditions. Hmmmmm....