Cycle of Life


I was pretty much car-less during the blogging break and returned to cycling after years and years of being away from it.

It has been stunning to find that while distance may be far more restricted on a bike, one’s senses are much more active.

Tramore Bay from The Cliff Road.
Tramore Bay from The Cliff Road.

It’s hard to beat the sensation of freewheeling out along the Cliff Road here in Tramore with the sea breeze kissing one’s face; the warm embrace of the scent of the dazzling gorse; snippets of conversations of couples walking; the singing of the birds as they watch from their chosen perches …..

Special Branch!
Special Branch!

Every journey on the bike brings back memories of other times: Mother waiting at the school gate when I was in Junior Infants and wheeling me home on her big black bicycle that she’d had since she was a teenager; Dad regaling us all with his party trick of cycling backwards; the journey to and from school in Drogheda on my natty blue bike with the little wheels and big basket; hot Summer cycles with my big brother when we’d invariably find a forbidden river, lake or beach in which to take a cooling dip; pedalling home at all hours during College days nights in Dublin …..

More than anything, the bicycle has re-alerted me to the ups and downs of life; and the importance of forward momentum!

Flow of Life
Flow of Life

Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and sense of place.

19 thoughts on “Cycle of Life”

      1. So many Jean- like flipping through the pages of the picture book of life The pedal – I spent all my waking hours on my bike when I was under 16. Travelling downtown, out in the countryside, to school, to my Grandma’s, to the store (when I was between 5 and 12 we lived in downtown Dartmouth on Pleasant St. At the corner there was a store = McElmon’s and I used to bike there. i can still remember the dusty smell and the comic book rack and buying bubble gum. there were penny candies in those days and some were even 2 for a penny or 3 for a penny. Now Canada does not even have a penny – we phased them out a few years ago). I remember cycling out to friend’s cottage when i was about 14 – it was a 3 hour cycle with a bunch of friends. We packed lunches and drinks. We found some bottles of whiskey and rum at the cottage and we drank it all and got drunk – for the first time. We sat on the lakeshore at the cottage and laughed.

        Then the picture of the ocean – i grew up in Halifax and the ocean was a part of my life for most of my early years.Lots and lots of stories there – storms and waves pounding and boats and ships – the there was the idiot who was going to row from Halifax to Ireland. We who lived there who had seen the violence and monstrousness of the ocean laughed at him. he was from central Canada and said he had practiced rowing in his living room – we laughed even harder. he came to Halifax and put his row boat in the water. the police and harbor patrol met him and told him not to go. he reassured them that he had it all under control. They told him that he was not prepared and that when they had to come and rescue him that they would send him a bill as he was going into harms way. he pooh-poohed their concerns, got in his rowboat and started on his journey. About an hour later, when he cleared the harbour, a large wave swamped his boat and he called by radio with a Mayday that he was sinking. We laughed even harder. the Coast Guard went to rescue him and sent him a bill. Ahh, the ocean- looks so pretty in your picture Jean and it is a dangerous and unpredictable mistress.

        The bird looks like a dove, We have what we call “love birds” around here that are doves that mate for life. there was a pair where i lived for 8 years that were always cooing around. One summer morning , on my way to work at 5 am I saw a spot moving in the road ahead. one of the pair had been hit by a car overnight and was lying dead in the road. It’s mate was hopping around the dead bird stopping to push at it or coo every few seconds. I blew the horn to try to get by but the bird payed no attention and kept trying to revive it’s mate I had to move to the opposite side of the road to get around. I cried for the bird that had lost it’s life mate.

        The little stream and waterfall reminded me of playing in the forest where we lived when I was young. Also in Dartmouth there was a little stream not far from the corner store. It was hidden behind a copse of trees and most of it was in a culvert as it went through town. This section was a hang out for older teens – central but out of sight – but they were only there at night. We liked to hang there too but were not allowed as our parents knew the older teens me there. There was a gas station nearby called “Esso” – a large oil company in Canada owned by Exxon.They had a great paved parking lot and we used to bicycle there as they were closed on weekends. So we called the stream Esso 2 – that way we could talk about it without our parents knowing we were going to the stream. We spent a lot of time at Esso 2 – ha! – chasing frogs and building dams and playing hide and seek.

        These are a few of the memories that your pics brought to mind Jean. Thank you very much.

  1. I can almost feel the ocean breeze kissing my face and the lovely scents that fill the air. The sound of the birds chirping..the rythmn of the tires on the pavement or the dirt road. Being able to stop and enjoy it is the best part..

  2. Hi,

    I enjoyed this post. It made me think of my cranberry red Raleigh 10 speed bike that I got for my 16th birthday. I still have the bike, but I haven’t used it for years. Even though I love riding my bike, other activities have seemed to take it’s place.

    Every spring, I say to myself that I will get the bike tuned up and take it out for a ride. One of these days . . .


  3. For sure Jean, you’re more attuned to the world on a bike, but even more so when jogging and finding any excuse for a breather. The advantage of a bike of course is distance covered.

    I got the hang of my first two-wheel bike quicker than Dad anticipated and pedalled off in great excitement, Dad roaring in hot pursuit. Coming to a road I didn’t have a clue how to stop but somehow decided that the hedge would do less damage than a car. I haven’t ridden one for many years now.

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