Garry McGivern’s May-2023 Update

Beach sea boats

May-2023 update Garry McGivern’s regular monthly update. I was hoping to spare you all May’s monthly update by being away on my bike, but I’m staying at home in light of what’s happened over the past couple of weeks. But at least with me staying home, you don’t have to put up with me drivelling on every day and boring you with daily updates!

The month started well with my ride around Brittany, and it was good to put my new Irish passport to good use. It had taken a long time to get and wasn’t cheap if you add up all the costs. But it was well worth it, and I look forward to getting plenty more use out of it. If you remember, I only had a week to spare cycling around France and had to return home because of some hospital appointments, which, if you don’t know, didn’t go too well. And I’ve been diagnosed with Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy (DCM). I explain more about that in a YouTube video. And there’s a link to on the front page of the website.

The Future

I’m still not totally sure what DCM means for me and how it will impact my lifestyle in the long and short term. But I’ve been given a list of things to watch out for. I hope to learn more next week when I return to the hospital. But from what I’ve read, DCM is like a spinal injury in slow motion. Let’s hope it’s very slow, and I can continue on as usual for many years.

Man and skeleton
At least I found a new friend

While I was having all these tests and scans, I was also diagnosed with carpal tunnel in both wrists. I was told I could have them operated on or have some injections, which I presume were steroid injections. But as they don’t worry me, I decided to leave them as they are for now. Especially as every time I have an operation, it doesn’t seem to work out too well. When I had a slipped disc in 2013, I had two operations and an injection, and none of them worked. And, of course, we all know about the ongoing saga of my hip! And besides, I think I’d rather save the steroid injections for my hip, as I think you can only have so many.

Not a very cheerful update, and I apologise for that. But I’m optimistic for the future and hope to have many more miles in the saddle. You don’t get rid of me that easily!

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On This Day 26th-May-2012

Man bicycle long road

This week’s on this day post comes from the 26th-May-2012, and I’m in America on a strange weather day. I also met another cyclist, Jan from Belgium, who I still keep in contact with from time to time to this day.

Saturday, 26th May 2012, Ely to the Nevada-Utah border. 63 miles.

As I looked out my motel window this morning, it was blowing a gale, and there were some ominous black clouds to the East. My direction of travel! So I debated whether to stay another night in Ely or not. But after a cup of coffee and my regulation noodles, I looked out the window again. The clouds had gone, and there was a clear blue sky! It was still very windy, but I decided to go for it, knowing I only had sixty miles to cycle today.

After leaving my motel room, I saw the black clouds. They were hiding around the other side of the building! If I hadn’t left the motel key in my room, I would have returned to my room! But there wasn’t any choice with the door slamming shut behind me. I had to leave!

I’ve Found A Friend

As I headed out of town, it started to get really dark and cold! In the distance, I could see another cyclist standing by the side of the road. As I pulled up, we introduced ourselves. His name was Jan, and he was from Belgium. He was also debating whether to continue, as it looked very bleak up ahead! After talking, we both decided to go for it.

As we rode along, the temperature dropped, and it got really cold. Unfortunately, I was only wearing shorts and sandals, and I soon had to stop to put another layer on! Then after another mile or two, it started to snow with a bitterly cold wind! And after going down a rather long hill, I had to stop again, and put trainers, socks and trousers on! The snow was only brief, but the cold wind remained with us all day.

Men bicycles street sign
With Jan in the snow

It was nice to ride along with somebody else, especially on such an awful day. It helped both of us to keep going. We parted company with only 6 miles to go for both of us, as Jan was heading in a different direction to me.

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YouTube Video 21st-May-2023

Tall building by water

Episode 2 of Garry McGivern’s Brittany Cycle Touring Video was posted on his YouTube channel on the 21st-May-2023. The video was recorded on the 30th of April. Garry arrives in Saint-Malo and sails through passport control with his new EU passport, and is soon on the road heading south.

A lot of the route is familiar to Garry as he cycled this way in 2019 on his way to the Loire Valley. But with Garry’s memory the way it is, much of the route seems new! Disappointingly a couple of hours into the ride, it starts to rain. But the rain doesn’t last long, although it threatens to rain for the remainder of the day.

You can watch the video below or on Garry’s YouTube channel, where you can also subscribe to his channel. And be the first to know when Garry releases a new video. But honestly, it won’t be any more enjoyable wherever you watch the video! You can also read what Garry posted at the end of this day and every day that Garry’s touring in the “Garry’s blog” section of the website, where you can also subscribe and follow Garry on his travels.

YouTube Video 21st-May-2023 (Cycle Touring Brittany; May 2023, Episode 2)

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On This Day 19th-May-2012

Bridge in front of mountains

This week’s on this day post comes from the 19th-May-2012, and I’m in America starting out on my ride across the USA.

Saturday, May-19th-2012. San Francisco to Stockton. 78 miles.

I had a bit of a nightmare getting out of San Francisco at the start of the day. I started off by going over the Golden Gate Bridge, as it was the only cyclable route I could find out of the city. But then realised that it would have meant a forty-mile detour to get on the route I’d worked out.

After realising the detour, I would have ended up on. I stopped to look at my map. While looking at my map, a man walking across the bridge stopped to talk. After telling him about my plight, he suggested I use the Bart, San Francisco’s underground. They allow bikes on it. After asking the man to take my photo, I headed back into the city to find the underground. Although I didn’t think he was lying, I was a little sceptical. But it had to be worth a try if it saved me a forty-mile detour.

Man on bike
On the Golden Gates Bridge

I found the Bart station I needed, and sure enough, I was allowed to take my bike on it. It did feel strange, though, riding the underground with my bike. But who cares as long as it got me out of San Francisco. I still had a nightmare once I was back on the bike in Oakland. And I’m not on the road I wanted to be, but where I am is good enough.

I Hope Things Improve

Going on today’s effort and looking at the map, it’s not going to be that straightforward getting to New York! But it felt great to be cycling again today. And even better to be cycling without that stupid helmet. I left that in Australia. I had a great choice of places to eat tonight, McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell or Jack in The Box. All fine gourmet restaurants!

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