Thursday, February 15, 2007

Dogging — and chugging — it

While visiting 30 pubs in 6 days across Ireland, Hans Rey and Steve Peat managed to do some biking — including riding on the very edge of the Mines of Moria Cliffs of Moher.

'Glad it didn't result in this :-P

Hans' take:
In the late afternoon we arrived at the Cliffs of Moher, which were for me the main reason why I wanted to come to Ireland. The 600 feet tall cliffs are entirely vertical and the edge is very abrupt. My dream was to ride along the small narrow ledge that was between 6 feet to 6 inches wide and looked like a long curvy balcony without a handrail.

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       Locals warned us of the upward drafts, that blow people off the cliffs - and sure enough the wind was picking up over night. We got an early start, and even the extra strong italian coffee I brewed couldn't clear our heads. Even though the conditions and weather were less than good, this was our one and only chance to ride the cliffs, so we did. It was a rad feeling to ride along the exposed edges and jump over some of the gaps. As time went on we started to feel more and more comfortable and daring. Shortly after we got done it started pouring rain, nonetheless we continued the trail on top of the cliffs, which was one of the more spectacular trails I have ridden. We followed it all the way to Hag's Head.

Steve's take:
The trail eventually brought us to the cliffs of Mohar, I know Hans was excited about these as he has been looking at a picture from them for years now. We did a quick reccy of the cliffs that evening but couldn't ride them as the security guy and all the tourists in the way put a stop on us. We decided an early morning poach was best so we slid off and stumbled upon the most fun night of the trip.

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       Well our poach of the cliffs started with a hangover and an early rise to beat the mad rushes, the wind was definitely blowing the rain sideways at us so we just had to knuckle down and ride the 6-inch wide edge of the cliff, I don't know about Hans but I was pretty nervous at the start but soon found my wheels and got a little more confident, maybe it was the 200meter drop to the ocean below that was unnerving me a little. We found a little sheltered spot from the wind and got some amazing riding shots. After the cliff edge we moved onto a fun single track trail that followed the cliffs around to Hags head.

The next 2 pictures really remind me of my rides in the Marin Headlands, North California:

Replying to those who judged Hans and Steve suicidal, lelebebbel wrote:

Ever ridden on a bike path next to trucks going 50 mph (80 km/h)? If you fell into traffic you'd be just as dead as these guys if they had fallen off that cliff. It just wouldn't be as spectacular.

As these gory pictures — Warning: graphic images. NOT child-safe. NOT work-safe. (1), (2), (3), (4), (5) — clearly attest, being run over by a truck is just as fatal — and messy — as falling off a 702-feet cliff.

It's the up-drafts that get you: wind hitting the cliffs from the seaside and then being forced up the face, when they pass as they go up they create a suction of sorts and actually "suck" you off the cliff.

That sounds similar to the effect when a big truck or bus at high speed goes past a cyclist, if the cyclist is unstable or doesn't brace, he or she may topple towards the large vehicle, and risk being run over by other traffic.

The Cliffs of Moher at sunset.

Trail to Hag's Head at twilight.

I don't own a GT or a Santa Cruz bike, but hey, Hans Rey and Steve Peat rock!

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