Cycling the Atlantic coast of Europe from north to south during the summer of 2017. View the archive, the route so far, or donate to MSF.

No repair

By Stuart Lowe on

Today's plan was to find a bike shop. Ideally I'd take the ferry to Greencastle but, instead, I rode along Loch Foyle towards Derry in the hope of a bike shop. Along the way I passed more loyalist markings in the form of painted bridges and curbs.

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Painted bridge

I found a bike shop. They didn't keep parts. They suggested two; one a few miles back ("high end") and one a few miles along. The next turned out to just be an Internet shop so had stock but no repair facilities. They had a retail place on the other side of Derry though. On the way there I saw a Halfords. They didn't have any chainsets in stock. They could order some if I wanted to wait a week. I carried on. The man in the retail shop on the other side of Derry wasn't any more help. He suggested I probably hadn't had it serviced before I left. I explained I'd put a whole new drive system on before leaving. Plus that was 2700 miles of hills ago. Plus it'd had the gears serviced twice (Bodø and Kirkwall) along the way. He then said "ah, well it's a 20 year old bike". 20 years old! Cheeky. It might look like that now. He clearly isn't used to people actually using bikes for any great distances. He didn't seem like he wanted to even find parts so I said goodbye and rode into the city.

The tourist information office found two bike repair places in the Republic of Ireland for me to try. I rang the first. They'd closed down. The second, Cycle Inishowen, was friendly. Oggy, who was from north of Manchester, said he could get me some replacement chain rings by Friday morning (roughly how long it'd take to get to him if I had a short day tomorrow). He said my parts sounded fairly standard unlike every other bike shop today. Oggy was clearly the right person for the job. We exchanged emails with chainset specs.

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Derry footbridge

After buying and eating 4 Magnum ice-creams from Iceland (£2) I rode out of Derry and across the border. I'd only been in Northern Ireland a day and a half. Although the border wasn't explicitly marked, I felt a bit of relief. Two passing cyclists said hello as they went by. Prices were now in Euros. Distances back to kilometres. It was fairly flat along to Moville where I pitched my tent at a lovely little hostel.

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The border?

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Two Irelands