Wednesday morning started unseasonably cold and frosty with a fog hanging over the valley. However, the forecast predicted the sunshine to quickly burn off the frost and fog for a beautifully sunny and warm day.
On Monday our travel restrictions were eased allowing us to travel outside our 5km limit for the first time since early January. We can now travel as far as we like as long as we stay within our county boundary. If we live on the county border we can travel up to 20km from home into another county.
During this third, and hopefully last, lockdown I’ve been very lucky to live so close to the border with Northern Ireland. My 5km takes me over the border and there were no cycling restrictions there. This allowed me the opportunity to build a number of routes so long as I stayed within my RoI 5km limit. Most if not all of the local cyclists I know have paid scant attention to what was an arbitrary and nonsensical limit and I really don’t know how others managed to obey it completely. From my own point of view I was getting really sick of the same roads and I was using a much bigger area than my 5km radius.
With my new found freedom I decided to pay a visit to Raphoe and cycle familiar roads that I haven’t been on since the beginning of November, almost 5 months to the day. I waited until after lunch to maximise the benefit of the sunny day and left the house with temperatures around 11°C – it was glorious.
My halfway point was Raphoe and I decided to stop for a cup of tea and a cereal bar. I bought from a girl staffing a horse box coffee shop, one of the many roadside coffee vans that have sprung up in the last year or so. She was in or around 20 and, although very friendly, I think I was a lot more enthusiastic about the lovely sunny day than she was. I’d like to think she thought I was a happy man but she probably though I was a middle aged weirdo!
I parked my bike and grabbed a bench in the very pretty Diamond with a great view of the “Earth Mother” statue from the HEART Project. I sat here for about 10 minutes, basking in the warm sunshine but could have sat for an hour easily.
I’d once again dropped layers with the promise of warmer temperatures but couldn’t quite give in totally. I was still in my Perfetto and leg warmers but definitely should have gone for arm warmers instead of the full Perfetto sleeves and by the time I sweated my way to the top of the hill to home I was regretting not taking the risk of the first bare legged spin of the year.
I’m really hoping that we’re now through this very weird and mixed up start to Spring and that the warmer weather is here to stay. I’d love some more days like this sometime soon.