Ireland day 0274. Wednesday 29 June 2022- Brompton

Ireland day 0274. Wednesday 29 June 2022- Brompton
Today’s summary Serviced the “Brompton” folding bike that we brought with us from the UK but which I haven’t ridden since last year.   Then took it on a test ride to Newbridge followed by quick train ride back
Today’s weather Bright and breezy with plenty of sun in the morning.  Rain showers later in the afternoon.   Moderate south easterly wind.   About 17C
Today’s overview location
(The blue mark shows the location of my ride)
Close-up location
(The green line shows where I rode)
(Click button below to download GPX of today’s ride as recorded, or see interactive map at bottom with elevations corrected):
Brompton to Newbridge

The bike we brought with us from the UK has been standing – untouched – in our hallway since last year.   In fact it has been so static that I had practically stopped even noticing that it was there.   It had become part of the furniture and its main function lately had been as a convenient drying rack for wet shoes.   It’s a good bike – a Brompton – which has the advantage of folding up so you can take it on public transport easily.   But for the last six months it has been more ornamental than practical.

I woke up this morning realising that this really wouldn’t do.   The bike was in need of a bit of TLC – the tyres were going flat and it was accumulating dust.   Also, the last time I’d ridden it, I had problems with the gears.   I decided that I would spend the morning tidying it up and fixing as much of it as I could, then take it for a test ride later in the afternoon.

But first, there was some washing to sort out (as ever) and also some cooking to do.   I’d bought some half-price mince a few weeks ago and put it in the freezer.   As is the way with food consigned to the freezer, I had forgotten about it until yesterday when I had been rummaging about in there for some frozen peas.   So I defrosted the mince overnight, and spent the first part of the morning trying to turn the carne into the meat part of a chilli.

Once the cookery was safely completed, I rigged up a work area in the sitting room (basically an old dust-sheet on the floor and stuck to the wall – just don’t tell the landlord) and set to with an oily rag and a pair of pliers to see if I could get the bike into shape again.  I soon had it cleaned up and looking respectable, but ran into problems when I tried to reinflate the tyres.   The pump simply wouldn’t work so before I could make any further progress, I had to take it to bits and repair it.   Eventually I got it sort-of working.   It wasn’t able to pump up the tyres super-hard, but they were good enough.   And anyway I have heard that nowadays the fashion is to run on relatively soft tyres, so I can always tell myself that I was just following the trend.

I fiddled around with the gears a bit – but they are the Sturmey-Archer hub type so it’s a bit difficult to see what’s going on.   I took them to bits as best I could, cleaned and lubricated them, then did the same to the gear cable and lever.   Once everything was back together again, I decided that the whole bike looked pretty smart – and in pretty good nick too, considering that it’s over 20 years old.   I actually couldn’t wait to set off and give it a test ride.

However, eager as I was to hit the open road, I was also hungry as it was well past lunchtime and by that stage I hadn’t actually even had breakfast.   So I put my Eddy Merckx ambitions temporarily on hold, and made up a ham salad for lunch.   Eventually, after lunch and a couple of coffees, I was finally ready to go.

I immediately noticed two things as soon as I set off.   The first was that the gears still weren’t working properly.   By fiddling around I could get the set-up to work in either first and second, or second and third, but not all three.   I really don’t know why this is happening so anyway given that my ride today was pretty flat, I adjusted it so that second and third worked properly.   I will leave dealing with first – which I think may require a more radical intervention – until a later date.

The second thing I noticed was that although the sun was shining at that moment, some huge big black clouds were piling up, which appeared ominously to be heading swiftly in my direction.   So once I had the gears sort-of working, I sped off as fast as I could (which isn’t very) along the coast road, round the Broadmeadow lagoon, and over to the Newbridge demesne.

I should note by the way that I have worked out roughly when the best time to try and get round the Broadmeadow lagoon and keep dry feet is.   It’s when the tide level in the outer estuary (i.e. downstream of the railway embankment) reaches about 2.8m on a rising tide. That is about normally about 1½ – 2 hours before high tide.  There’s probably only a window of about 30 minutes when the whole way round is dry-ish.   When the tide level in the outer estuary rises above 2.8m it floods back over the embankment and the water level in the lagoon rises again.   Today I was probably a good seven or eight hours before high tide so I had no chance of getting the whole way round with dry feet.   But it was dry as far as the Ballymadruff road, which was good enough for me as I could break away from the coast at that point and head up to the Hearse Road and then into Newbridge.

The weather was just about holding off by the time I got round as far as Newbridge, so pedalled as fast as I could up to the visitor centre.   I didn’t even stop to admire all the work going on to prepare for what appears to be a huge farmers’ market coming up at the weekend.   My luck held and just as I arrived at the café, the heavens opened.   I tucked the trusty Brompton under the eaves and headed inside for a bit of sustenance, hoping that the shower would be short lived.

Luckily it was, and by the time I had finished my croissant and coffee, the sun was beginning to come out again – which was fortunate timing as the café closed just as it did.  So I left the café, hopped back onto the saddle, and made my way in the general direction of Donabate station.   I did decide to investigate Donabate Dexter farm on the way, though.  It’s a slightly enigmatic place, specialising in home-reared free-range beef from a pasture-fed herd of rare-breed cattle (or so the blurb on the website goes).   Anyway when I visited, it was all closed up but the grounds looked quite nice.

Once back at Donabate station, I only had a ten minute wait for the train so I checked that the folding technology was still working ok.   Happily, it was, and the Brompton did its contortionist act and folded away neatly for its short journey back to Malahide on the train luggage rack.

Well now it’s time to sample the chilli and see if it tastes as good as it smells.   Outside it’s absolutely bucketing down, which just adds to the general sense of satisfaction at making some significant progress with the bike – notwithstanding the annoying gears – and also cooking up something that actually promises to be edible too.   Quite a decent day all round, really.


Today’s photos (click to enlarge)

Setting off along the Coast Road.   Felt quite good, actually, to be using riding-muscles in my legs rather than walking-muscles, for a change Avoiding the “Tidal Road” – which was of course under water – along the north side of the Broadmeadow estuary.   Given the five meter drop into the sea to the side of the path, I didn’t quite have the confidence to stay on the bike and ride it.   So I got off and pushed
Newbridge demesne looking industrious and summery this afternoon.   I really like the way that in this part of ireland the large open spaces are put to good use for hosting cricket, music concerts and more.   Apparently there is a food fair and show-jumping competition on here in Newbridge next Saturday and Sunday Got to Newbridge just as it started to rain.   Sadly, there was no alternative.
After I’d had my break and the rain had stopped, I went out the back of the Newbridge demesne and across the road into the Donabate Dexter farm.   It’s an attractive looking farm and they sell organic rare breed beef raised on the premises – both commercially and to passers-by.    The advantage of a folding bike like this is that you can take them on trains with minimal fuss.   The disadvantage is that they aren’t really designed for riding long distances as they only have a limited range of gears and aren’t very comfortable
Here’s the Brompton mid-service.   I had problems with the tyre pump not working properly, and the gears not behaving themselves.   I managed to fix the pump and improve the gears a bit, but I think they still need more work and might need a new shift lever
Interactive map

(Elevations corrected at  GPS Visualizer: Assign DEM elevation data to coordinates )

Total distance: 11395 m
Max elevation: 16 m
Min elevation: -3 m
Total climbing: 153 m
Total descent: -153 m
Total time: 00:54:13
Download file: Test Ride To Newbridge compressed corrected.gpx

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