I felt like I was trapped in a Kafka story. The crew wouldn't let my pedal bike on to the ferry.

"No motorbikes allowed." (Visitors aren't allowed to bring motorised vehicles on to Cape Clear.)

I explained calmly that it wasn't a motorbike.

"What is it then?" they asked.

"It's a fatbike," I said with authority. Maybe not the best answer in retrospect.

 

The captain was called to adjudicate.

Fatbike defence

I was all prepared to explain that the bike had a silent electric motor to assist with uphills (or when I just couldn't be bothered to pedal). The thick tyres were to help with soft, unstable terrain. The bike would help me get round the island easily during my photography visit. I argued it was the furthest thing from a Harley Davidson you could imagine. (Strictly speaking that's not true. The furthest thing from a Harley Davidson is a three-toed sloth. The farthest thing from a Harley Davidson is at the edge of the universe somewhere.)

The captain, clearly a man of reason and sense, took one look at it and told me to lash it to load it and lash it to the railing. My argument was not needed.

The bike made the entire experience of photographing the island much better. The last thing you want is to arrive on location shattered from the hike there. The bike did struggle with some of the steep uphills—Cape has some truly dramatically steep hills. So I had to walk up a few. And it was so terrifyingly fast on the steep downhills (due to the fact that it weighs as much as a small motorbike) that I walked some of those too. But in the absence of a car (or a Harley Davidson), it was a great solution.

Kudos to Norm McCloskey for putting me onto this particular bit of tech, and allowing me to test-drive his!

Fatbike on Cape Clear

Love photography? Want to learn how to produce images like this yourself? Check out my sister site, Elevation, where I list the photography tours and workshops that I organize.

I run trips within Ireland and abroad. Past destinations include Iceland, Greenland, Svalbard and the Faroe Islands.

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Peter Cox Photography Ltd