Tag Archives: commute

A Classy Commute – the Recently Retired Trinity College Biochemist

15 Nov

Mike McKillen’s love for cycling did not start with bicycles; it started with a motorbike.

In his younger years, before he became lecturer in Biochemistry at Trinity, Mike participated in motorbike trial riding. Trials is a sport where riders steer motorbikes through bogs, across streams, over boulders and up rocky hills. It’s not a race, but a game of skill – the goal is to stay on your motorbike and not put your feet down once. It was the thrill of riding his Bultaco 250cc through Wicklow’s countryside, which eventually got Mike cycling.

Mike discovered cycling shows him the world around him. And Mike, who is also a mountaineer and ocean sailor, likes to feel the elements. As a mountaineer, he heads to the Alps every summer, for a 12-day camping trip. Last summer, he camped near Grenoble, at the base of Mont Pelvoux. Each morning, he would get out of his tent to be greeted by a different setting – be it butterflies hovering over rusty-leaved Alpenroses or snow blowing in from the glacier. Mike feels at home in changing weather conditions. And the best place to appreciate the changing Irish weather, he feels, is on his bike. Also, it awakes him almost enough to confront the day ahead.

And so it is with anticipation Mike sets out to Trinity each morning – no matter if his breath clouds accompany him in the crispy cold, or if he can take off his jacket to let his arms be warmed by the sun. Mike starts his journey on Seaview Terrace and then shoots onto Angelsea Road, heading towards the traffic lights at Donnybrook Bridge. If the light is red, Mike watches the river Dodder from that bridge. It’s a spate river; he can tell by the height of the water level whether the Dublin Mountains to the south have been getting rain. Mostly, the grey heron is there as well; standing like a statue, looking for fish, oblivious to traffic above him.

Continuing his journey, Mike passes the American Embassy on Elgin Road. Its modern architecture commands his respect, but also instils a sense of loss for the Georgian house the building replaced. Further on, near the D4 Hotel, Mike waits for another traffic light. On the adjacent triangular traffic island – more a stopover for crossing two streets, really – sits an O’ Brien’s coffee kiosk. The smell of coffee makes Mike eager to press on to his first coffee of the day, awaiting him in Trinity’s canteen.

After crossing the Grand Canal and cycling through Lower Mount Street – a uniform modern streetscape similar to those seen in old socialist cities – Mike arrives at Trinity College. His office is his city centre oasis; where intellectual renewal and challenging students confront him every day.

But first, it’s time for coffee.

<!–[if !mso]> <! st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } –> And so it is with anticipation Mike sets out to Trinity each morning – no matter if his breath clouds accompany him in the crispy cold, or if he can take off his jacket to let his arms be warmed by the sun. Mike starts his journey on Seaview Terrace and then onto Angelsea Road, heading towards the traffic lights at Donnybrook Bridge. If the light is red, Mike watches the river Dodder from that bridge. It’s a spate river; he can tell by the height of the water level whether the Dublin Mountains to the south have been getting rain. Mostly, the grey heron is there as well; standing like a statue while looking for fish, oblivious to the traffic above him.

A Classy Commute — the Actress

4 Oct

Kerrie ‘O Sullivan – perhaps more known as Dearbhla Dillon in Fair City – can recite every detail of her daily commute. Little wonder. Reciting is what actresses are good at. That it takes only 5 minutes to get from her Clonskeagh home to the RTE studios might be of help too.

Kerrie’s short commute, she says, starts at UCD’s Clonskeagh entrance. Even though she´s a Trinity graduate, she knows this campus as if it were home. Passing through the gate, she cycles straight with the sports fields flying by on the right and then turns left before the sports hall, onto the narrow road behind the Health and Science Building, leaving the campus at the Greenfield gate.

By now, the actress is rehearsing the day’s lines out loud. This is one of the reasons she prefers cycling over walking. By the time people start giving you funny looks, you’ve already cycled past. The other reason she prefers cycling, is that it wakes her up. You might be able to walk in a daze, but the wind on a bike quickly blows you awake. Helpful; when you’re due for hair and make-up at 7.20 in the morning.

The downhill ride on Greenfield Park is lined with trees, its scenery set with residents walking dogs, people bringing out bins, young father’s waving to children from behind their car window. At the bottom of the hill, Kerrie meets the only traffic light on her trip. Her day is made if she catches it green, because it means she has won the game of getting-to-work-without-stopping-once.

Catching the green light, allows her to shoot over the dual carriageway, onto Nutley Lane. There she swings left into RTE’s studios, simultaneously flashing a smile to the security guard and ducking right to avoid the red and white car barrier blocking the entrance. Finally, she parks her bike in the bike rack – often next to Geoff’s, her Fair City Father, who’s due in make up just before her.