Monday, 14 March 2011

Counting The Days: Summer Plans, Air Hawks and Highland Rides

The Rock of Cashel in Ireland pictured in the ...Image via Wikipedia
While spring is planning on being fashionably late I am already focusing on the summer riding season and have got the foundations of some trips in the works. Currently there are two definites and one 'probably'.

The first definite is an overnight to the Cliffs of Moher, County Clare. I have not been to these cliffs before and the other sights in the area, so I am looking forward to finally getting a chance to take it all in. I plan on making it an overnight getaway to give me time to visit as much as I can before riding home, and while the route there is relatively direct I often take a less obvious route back, usually decided by locals suggesting 'must see' locations. These excursions can turn out to be worth the extra time to visit.


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The next definite is a run down to Cork city in June, with a second day spent getting lost along the Cork coastline and countryside before the ride back up on the third day. Really looking forward to this, Cork being one of my favourite cities having lived there for a few years and it has been too long since my last visit. Always a great atmosphere down there and lots to enjoy be it the city, countryside or coastline. Also planning on visiting the Rock of Cashel on the way back, you no longer get to drive past it if you take the motorway so might take parts of the old Dublin to Cork road home. Just for old times sake.


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The 'probably' trip will be a little longer then the other two 'staycations'. I have yet to visit Scotland and I have always wanted to travel up to John O' Groats, mainly since I have read so many travel books and articles about the place. I am really looking forward to taking in the Scottish scenery, it is about time I visit the place and get lost in the picturesque landscapes that Scotland is famous for. I do not know if I will be able to make time to visit any of the main cities, other then skirting them on my way to/from John O' Groats, but will see closer to the time.


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The Buell Ulysses XB12XT is perfect for this kind of riding and I am very excited about riding some of those roads. However I did have trouble on the ride to/from the Irish Bikefest last year, nothing wrong with the bike, just my behind! So to help take the edge off I decided to invest in some 'padding', and the winner of that search was the Air Hawk. I did debate the idea of getting a gel seat or some other modification to the existing seat, but it would have been a lot of money for something you can not take with you. Also the Air Hawk seems to get very high praise from all that use it, as long as you spend the time to get the inflation level right. I will start using it now to get a 'feel' for it and hopefully have it perfect for the planned trips.

Air Hawk

Going by the sizing guides online I eventually settled on the 'medium cruiser' for the rider's seat and the 'cruiser pillion' for the rear, and they look like a perfect fit. I have only tried the Air Hawk out in the drive, but will be testing on my daily commute over the next couple of weeks before really racking up the miles with them. Already I am impressed, the quality looks very high and the product even comes with puncture repair kits for minor repairs. Straps are included to hold the cushion in place, but they are not required. The bottom of the cover is very grippy and seems very effective. So far, so good but any final appraisals will not come until the end of the summer after they have both been given a thorough testing.

Air Hawk

Air Hawk

Looking forward I have to keep an eye on the budget and keep refining the plans, but things are looking positive and the advice keeps coming in. The bit of effort before these kind of trips usually makes them much more enjoyable, even if things do not go as planned, but sometimes those unplanned parts end up being the best.

Peace and keep the rubber side down.
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