Day 15: Bike trip up the Lagan River

Belfast Travel Blog

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I had the brilliant idea to hire a bike and do a tour of my own, maybe even on one of those fancy cycle network paths.  I did just that.

I went into the Castlerock mall to have some shitty Pizza Hut Express (the Indian chicken kabob last night was way better), got a semi-road bike that was dirty as hell and had an irremovable old lock stuck to it.  The owner just shrugged -- last bike left.  Two pedals into the ride and the chain falls off.  Oh boy.  This was going to be a long day.  I was even decked out in shorts, my trail running shoes, and an annoyingly orange athletic shirt.  I hoped he wasn't gonna dash my day's plans to pieces.  He fixed it all quick-like and sent me on my way, giving me a suggested map tour of the most popular cycle network rout that had little to zero automobile traffick (that's "no cars" for you in the States). 

I still got lost.  But, eventually I found the river Lagan ("hi, do you know where I can get to the river?  Yeah, any part.") and took off.  Wee!

Don't know about this seat, though.

With a gorgeous day in tow, I took off heading south along the river path towards my destination: 14 miles to the small city of Lisburn, the birthplace of the Irish linen industry (apparently).   What a wonderful countryside!  It was the quintessential romantic river path, and if anyone ever decides to make a biographical film about me, I demand that there be a scene on this path involving me and a supermodel arm in arm, passionately enveloped in love and occasionally shagging in the bushes.

I managed to film three takes for my video of the day.  Yup, I'm making videos of the day, even though I can't upload them to youtube.  My first and only video was a success with all my friends back home, so I'm going to try and start my own little 1-minute schpiels for friends and family.  Watch out, Rick Steves.  I'm coming in through YOUR back door.  (wait, that didn't sound right)

I managed to bike around the rest of the northern part of the city, such as the Titanic Quarter and the newly-redeveloped Odyssey arena.  The whole town is in a perpetual state of re/construction:  "The IRA Ceasefire in 1995 and the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 have given investors increased confidence to invest in Belfast. This has led to a period of sustained economic growth and large-scale redevelopment of the city center." (Wikipdedia)  (yes, I'm quoting wikipedia.  Eat that, Bio professors!)

There's a corner betting "store" with gambling on slots, video poker, and live horse races on big-screen TVs.  People are in there till late, including women.

The KFC smells so good every time I walk past it to the hostel.  I'm resisting with what little dignity I have left.

Half-price movie Tuesday, so I waited in the "queue" (they don't form lines here) for my ticket to see Pirates 3, but alas, sold out till late.  Instead, I mustered up some patriotism and sat down for "Lovewrecked".  Uh oh, teeny bopper movie.  Too late.  The movie started grinding on my nerves at about 12.3 seconds in.  Sigh.  Only 5207.7 seconds left.  Just so you know what you're missing out on here's the synopsis: "On a Caribbean cruise, Jenny (Bynes) is marooned on a beach with her rock'n'roll idol."  Can I get a large popcorn and a noose please?  It was a disgrace and I'm ashamed to admit to the British audience that American can mass-produce pure shit like this too.

Went to the M Club around the corner for the "hottest student-only club night in town!": £1 door tax (read: cover) and £1 drinks all night long.  I ordered Coronas like they were going out of style.  I felt like a Mexican king in an Irish castle.  Met a couple of blokes from Portsmouth (up north) named Joseph and Paul, and they convinced me that dancing with a bunch of guys is totally ok here.  I ordered two more coronas before I joined them.  Oh well.  When in Rome, right?
SweetLeilani says:
Mickey-D's but no KFC??? What gives? You have yet to explain...
I love the 'felt like a Mexican king in an Irish castle' thing... :)
And those blokes were actually taking pictures and making bets behind your back :-O
Posted on: Jul 08, 2007
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photo by: vulindlela