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Breaking bad


Diary of a home bird
Ciara Galvin

So I’m officially a record breaker. It’s not something I had worked towards all my life, and at the time of breaking the record I wasn’t exactly overjoyed about it. But forevermore, it’s probably going to be a claim to fame. I might even stick it down on the aul CV.
What record did I break, you ask? Well, according to an Argentinian bike rental owner, I’m the only person in the last 12 years to break not one, but two bike chains in one day.
We were in Bariloche, the last stop of our Patagonian adventure, and we decided to hire bikes to do a 25km cycle, hungover. Not our smartest decision ever, let me tell you.
The band of bikers? Myself, Phileas, the token German, Limerick James and a Mexican (has the makings of a good joke, doesn’t it?). The bike rental guy assured us we would have no problems, that we’d be very unlucky if we did.
Three kilometres in, heartburn, sweats and boom, the chain figuratively and literally came off. My comrades kindly cycled back to base to deliver the bad news, and the owner turned up with a new bike and a surprised look on his face.
We trekked on, getting off our bikes at the littlest of inclines and taking a well-deserved break in a local brewery (it’s all about soaking up the culture you see).
The Irish contingent were, as you’d expect, more keen on soaking up the pub atmosphere than getting back on the bikes, but alas, we had a deadline to keep.
Five kilometres from home I was wilting and changed into a nonexistent gear in an attempt to deal with an oncoming hill … and snap. I had even impressed myself, and although I was on the verge of tears, hysterical laughter took over as the group realised my predicament.
For the next five kilometres I walked the legs off myself up hills and free wheeled down, hoping to make the rental shop before it closed.
The owner, now even more surprised looking, greeted me. “There are no words,” he exclaimed. Twelve years of business, and I was the first to break two chains. I could hear the female roomie in my head from my childhood – ‘Ye’d break iron!’ she proclaimed on a day when my brothers had expertly broken not one but two windows in the house while practicing their golf skills in the garden.
I returned to our hostel with my record-breaking story for all to hear, including Kieran and Ailish from just down the road in Ballintubber and Castlebar – it’s true what they say, ‘You can’t go anywhere’. The day before we had discovered that Edwin McGreal of this publication had sent us both the same email with tips and tricks for South America.
Now, we’re in the sunnier climes of Bolivia. There’s talk of doing the infamous ‘Death Road’ (yes, apparently it does exactly what it says on the tin). With my luck on bikes I might just get the bus, for everyone’s sake.

In her fortnightly Diary of a Home Bird column, Ciara Galvin reveals the trials and tribulations of a twenty-something year old who has recently spread her wings and flown her parents’ coop.