Without knickers cycling Ring of Kerry. Ireland.



Cycling the Ring of Kerry took less preparation than I had imagined. 180 kilometers seemed to be an unfathomably long bike ride that made my daily trips to school or Tesco pail in comparison. I had packed all the dates, bananas, and cashews that could fit inside my backpack to safeguard against what I feared was immanent starvation and exhaustion. Next, I was lent top-notch gear, including an ultra lightweight carbon fiber Trek bike, clip-in shoes, and shirts from a friend who is a real-life iron woman. (http://www.irishtriathlon.com/index.php/2014/07/tamara-maxantovas-kona-qualification-report-from-ironman-austria/) Then I found myself trolling on YouTube and stumbled along this gem on how to wear bike shorts (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hOcNoYchlI&feature=youtu.be). And so, Iza and I followed the wise words and went without knickers across 217.11 km of stunning scenery.

                                                             Gap of Danloe. Ring of Kerry.
Traveling is easy. And that’s something I should have reminded myself. There are always well-worn paths to follow and friendly locals to point you in the right direction. There are also always people who will stop to give you a lift. For instance, we sustained a bicycle injury (a broken chain) and despite the most heroic efforts to resuscitate it, we needed heavy-duty tools. And here entered a middle-aged English couple from the midlands who provided a lift to the nearest bike shop.
The challenging physical test I had hoped to meet ended up being pleasantly manageable. Perhaps the daily cycling and regular swimming, sport activities, and gym attendance helped? We easily covered around 70 kilometers each day, burning in total 5,641 calories each.
One of the most pleasant experiences of the trip was feeling that we were temporarily lifted out from Ireland. The weather was warm. The sun bronzed our skin (after burning mine first). We came across soft sand and beaches with turquoise water. Palm trees dotted the landscape along with colorful wildflowers that broke through the lush green. Magenta dangling bells, crimson and pink pendants, white fluffy saucers and yellow star-like petals that formed a wand. And of course, countryside hydrangeas of the most cheerful varieties.
Cycling from Killarney to Kenmare our first evening, we passed Ladies View and the National Forest as the summer sun was beginning to fall and a mist hovered among the rhododendrons that had just past their bloom. The goodnight song of the birds and fresh dewy forest air was revitalizing.


Day 1. Killerney-Kenmare.
Day 2. Kenmare – Ballinskellings.



Day 3. Ballinskellings-Glenbeigh.



Day 4. Glenbeigh-Killarney.


What would make cycling though the Ring of Kerry a 10 out of 10? Experiencing a well developed culinary tradition, bigger than a just your meal in a glass. We did have a pleasant dining experience at Rumours Café near Rossbeigh which served up muscles and lamb and Murphy’s salted ice cream in Killarney where we indulged in Dingle-gin and strawberry pleasures. But what about cycling though Champagne or Tuscany? This is all food for thought.
I will now travel by bike whenever possible, and hopefully, again with Iza. She makes for an incredible travel companion! Her tales of traveling across 7 continents kept me captivated and have inspired me to continue nurture my own enthusiasm for exploring. Seeing. Tasting. And challenging myself. 





Kenmare. Ring of Kerry.

 Sneem. Ring of Kerry.

Ring of Kerry.

 Derrynane/Caherdaniel. Ring of Kerry.

 Derrynane/Caherdaniel. Ring of Kerry.

                                                      Derrynane/Caherdaniel. Ring of Kerry.

 Derrynane/Caherdaniel. Ring of Kerry.

                                                Kasia Szymańska. Derrynane/Caherdaniel. Ring of Kerry.

 Derrynane/Caherdaniel. Ring of Kerry.

 Derrynane/Caherdaniel. Ring of Kerry.

Bikes at the beach. Ring of Kerry.

 Around Derrynane. Ring of Kerry.

 Around Derrynane. Ring of Kerry.

 Around Derrynane. Ring of Kerry.

 On the way to Waterville. Ring of Kerry. 

 On the way to Waterville. Ring of Kerry. 

Around Ballinskelligs. Skellig Ring.

Ballinskelligs. Skellig Ring.

Ballinskelligs. Skellig Ring.

Portmagee.
Kerry Cliffs, view from Valentia Island. 

                                                               On the way to Killarney.

 Killarney.



Written by Kasia Szymańska, veterinary student at UCD

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