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Redshark Water Bike - River Bann to Portstewart


The last day of August brought blue sky, minimal wind and no swell to the Causeway Coast, perfect conditions to take on our next Redshark Water Bike Challenge, a 10 mile cycle from "The Cutts" in Coleraine to Portstewart Harbour.


Our intention was to follow the River Bann to the Barmouth where it it dissects Castlerock & Portstewart beaches. Entering the North Atlantic we would hang a right and follow the coast along the golden sands finishing along the famous Portstewart Promenade to celebrate with a "wee poke" (If you know you know).


Setting off at 2pm the first couple of miles were quite pleasant with an average pace of 4mph, at this stage the tide was still going out and although there was minimal river flow it did assist.


For a River the size of the Bann it is relatively under utilised for water activity, rowers from the local Club & School being the most common participants (Bann Rowing Club & Coleraine Grammar, Formally Coleraine Inst), no surprise that this stretch has produced multiple Olympians and Medals.


On the section between the bridges we observed the contrast of the futuristic hydrofoil surfers sharing the water with the traditional oars, and of course "Dumb and Dumber" adding to the eclectic mix on the Redshark Water Bikes. (Check out https://www.foilingnorthernireland.com)


Miles 3-6 took us passed Coleraine Marina, The Cranagh complex home to The Edge Watersports ( https://thecranagh.com ) and onto the back 9 of Portstewart Golf Club. The final stretch towards the Barmouth would pass a couple of fishermen enjoying the pleasant late afternoon sun.


As we passed Portstewart Golf Course our pace started to dip to 3mph, a combination of the tide being on the turn, the wind starting to pick up and a little bit of fatigue in the legs. Although there was no sea swell we knew the river flow into the sea at the Barmouth would create its own swell. At no stage did this challenge the stability of the Redshark Water Bikes but as we turned towards Portstewart we had underestimated the distance and impact of the headwind.


The legs were pretty heavy at this stage and the pace dropped drastically to 2.5mph. The 1.5miles along the strand into the wind and chop proved too much. Not even positive visualisation of the "Poke" was enough and unfortunately with Harrys Shack in sight we decided to abandon Ship....or bike.


9 miles in under 3 hours, "Cruising the Prom" on a Redshark Water Bike would need to wait for another day.

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