14 August 2012

2nd UK trip, day one

With this dawn comes responsibility. Pre-booked tickets and interconnected plans, a fabric of preconceived direction unlike anything my past self has ever really given me before. The morning air is already bright with warmth. I cycle alongside vans and articulated trucks to the Dublin port, entering the industry-heavy realm of twisted coloured metal, stacks of aging shipping crates, petrol fumes. I am boarded onto the lower deck of the ferry with all the HGVs. There is a three-bicycle rack there by the gangway, where BK will wait patiently for me to return to her, bracing herself by one wheel against the rolling of the sea. I say goodbye and make my way upstairs.

The sea is smooth and clean as silver. I stare out over it, this ethereal reflection of the air. Three hours of sleep is hardly enough to keep me going past this point. Food first, then rest, curled up in a booth with my bag between my legs like some kind of canvas egg. I awaken when we approach the other shore. The water glitters violently as we forge ahead to dock, and I disembark after the biggest truck, a guppy swept up in the slipstream of a shark.

Two trains follow close after one another and I hardly register either one. Marshmallows and peanut butter and a ribbon of land unspooling rapidly behind. Ill-behaved children and ill-tempered parents. Fits of sleep stolen before muscles relax into the rattling panes.


Every city has its own unique character. It is etched into the street signs, spattered in graffiti, lurking in each grubby corner. To be understood it must be seen, smelled--felt, boiling off the concrete in the sweltering heat of a midsummer's day. Manchester is its own self. A wizened old man, hunching over his meagre river with a shifty smile.

09 August 2012

reflections off the road: back into bad habits

Well, here I am back in Dublin, and slipping immediately back into all the bad habits I thought I put behind me when I set off on my grand cycle. Watching youtube videos all day, after being youtube-free for almost 30 days. Sitting around refreshing pages over and over waiting for updates. Getting hardly anything done. I'll run an errand or two, then sit down at the computer for hours. Wash a few dishes, put a few things away, then sit down again.

I really need to start having dedicated Internet-Free Days. I think I will start with one day a week: Friday. Every Friday I will do no internet except email on my phone, and research if necessary. I will try to do more creative things. I will restart my non-cycling workout routine. I will start a new comics project. I will sketch or write in my journals more often. I will make a blog entry twice a week and a youtube video once every other week.

I'm putting these goals in public now so you guys can get on my case if I don't follow thru. If you see me on the internet on Friday, say, GET OFF THE 'NET, WOMAN. If I don't post a blog entry once every three or four days you can email me, WHAT ARE YOU DOING. WRITE STUFF.


Tomorrow morning I'm getting up at the crack of dawn to take a ferry, with my bicycle, to the UK. I'll disembark in Wales at Holyhead and then take a series of trains to Manchester. I will kill zombies again at an abandoned manor house out there, go visit Holmfirth and take pictures/video for my grandmamma (it seems to be the #1 place she would visit were she to come to the UK), then take a train to York and cycle up to see an abbey that my mother absolutely adored when she was here. Then I'm going to Cardiff to do the Doctor Who Experience that just opened down there, and will probably return home after that, altho' I haven't bought my return ticket yet just in case I would like to stay a bit longer. The trip will only be 7 or 8 days total, and I'll come back just in time to prepare for my sister to come visit me on the 21st - 29th!!

I will write blog posts from the road possibly, but may not post them until a few days later. I have some "reflections off the road" blog posts that are only half finished right now that I've been procrastinating on... haha, good going, me. I had a wonderful 27-day streak of being more creative and I went and blew it on the internet once I got back to my flat. I was gone so long I forgot that my carpet was red and was literally surprised by it when I returned home. Now it's been days since I've properly left this tiny little room.

My time abroad is rapidly coming to a close. It's up to me to make the most of it from now on.


02 August 2012

Reflections of the road: bike kisses

Here's a problem all cyclists face that might not be well known. Oil stains on the calves, caused when your bicycle shifts forward when you're straddling it and the front chain rings rest against the leg. (Pictured above.) My right leg--the chain is on the right side of the bike--was usually covered in marks like this by the end of each day on the road, and sometimes my left leg was graced with one as well, if I was leaning against the bike or picking her up or something.

I saw a lot of Ring of Kerry cyclists sporting their own marks like this as well.

They need a lot of soap and vigourous scrubbing to remove, haha. But I see them as a badge of honour. Something unique that brands a cyclist a cyclist...

Random thought for yous to enjoy.