Day 137, Friday 19 May
Fully restored, recharged and revitalised after a full, no-cycling rest day, today’s ride was a breeze. A barely noticeable Southerly around the broad, flat calm Belfast Lough. A gnat’s whisker below 40 miles and hardly any climbing. There were however, a few challenges. Like getting into, through and out of the City of Belfast, mid way along today’s route. As noticed and reported previously, the cycle friendly roads, with nice wide, clearly defined safe margins for us pedal-powered two wheelers have a tendency to suddenly disappear for long stretches, usually when they’re most needed. But today, they weren’t going to get me down. I was on a mission. With the huge, historic, Belfast Lough natural harbour to keep on my left, the giant, world-famous, difficult-to-miss Harland&Wolf shipbuilding gantries and the Titanic Quarter landmarks to guide us, Fondo and rider’s determination was unstoppable. Apart from the essential moments to stop and gawp. And very occasionally remember to take a photo.
Today’s credits and thanks (to those who have assisted, supported, entertained and tolerated me) go first to John & Nicky, for sharing their amazing top-floor, central Belfast holiday apartment, with such great urban views, contrasting so much with the typical Irish coastal room-with-a-view of the last five weeks. I couldn’t see the sea, but the high-rise view back across the city, with the Divis Mountain backdrop, was stunning by day, by night and in the twilight zone.
Thanks again to Derek, Station Mechanic and creative up-cycler of old RNLI yellow wellies at Larne Lifeboat Station for everything, including this morning’s travel advice and cheery send-off. At the other end of today’s ride, Bangor’s Harbour Master, Marina Manager, ex RNLI crew and now Bangor Lifeboat Station’s DLA and general Mr Very-Useful-to-Know-and-All-Round-Nice-Guy, Kevin Baird must be thanked for giving up part of his late lunch break to meet & greet, make coffee, open up the Lifeboat Station, sign The Chart, give a personal guided tour of said LBStn plus Harbour and HM’s Office and tuck Fondo away in the Harbour Master’s Office for the remains of the day and night.
Must get back into writing shorter sentences. Shorter than that. Even shorter. Now.