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Esther O’Moore Donohoe: ‘I am cyclist, hear me roar!’

06th Jun 2020

Esther O’Moore Donohoe describes herself as a Podcaster, Writer and Rhythm Dancer. This week she cycles…

I met my mum for a socially distanced walk during the week. Our plan was to walk, talk and sip, two metres apart. She is the Mariah Carey to my Ariana Grande, so she stayed in her car whilst I queued for coffee.

When I handed her Americano through the driver window she slipped a package into my tote bag. I countered by volleying a tiny parcel through to the passenger side. A deal had gone down but it was more The Gilmore Girls than The Sopranos. She had given me some of her delicious homemade bread and I had given her marigold seeds. A very wholesome exchange.

The wildness didn’t stop there. As we set off on our walk, our topic of conversation wasn’t major philosophical considerations but lunch ideas. I suggested a mini-wrap might spice things up for her. Had she considered opening herself up to the world of quesadillas? What about a flatbread tuna melt? I even shared my hot tips on elevating her baked potato experience. Her mind was so blown that at one point I thought she was going to tip herself head first into the canal.

It was like a sunburnt version of Muscle Beach. Muscle Grand Canal.

As we continued on our safety loop, we saw people of all ages and levels of lycra wasting, I mean enjoying, the good weather exercising. In one house we passed, a man was sitting in his side garden alone doing arm reps with an Acme sized weight. He had eschewed stretch fabric in favour of slacks and a vest. And why not? Who says slacks are not what we all should be wearing when working up a sweat?

We then rounded onto the green and saw people had set up mini outdoor gyms. They were huffing and puffing with all their might, gymming like no one was watching. It was like a sunburnt version of Muscle Beach. Muscle Grand Canal.

Wholesome swap

After our amble, I said goodbye to my mum who was still reeling from my baked potato advice (‘Mark my words, parboiling your Roosters will change your life!’) and made my way home. As I approached my road, I noticed for the first time that there were bikes for hire directly across from my house and a thought formed. I was going to go for a very gentle cycle! Like all great adventures, this one began by downloading an app. I then had to go on the hunt for the budget helmet I bought circa 2016 in a supermarket centre aisle, my favourite place on earth. In two shakes of a parboiled potato, I was all set.

What can I say? Sometimes a gal forgets she’s living through a once in a lifetime pandemic.

I had planned to go into town anyway to collect something I’d ordered but now I was going to get there on two wheels. Being a fair weather, scaredy cat cyclist, I decided that weaving in and out of the side roads was the safest option for me. I wasn’t brave enough to be in actual traffic. I hadn’t cycled in a couple of years and had to keep reminding myself to stay focussed and not to start daydreaming like I was starring in my own video.

As I headed through town, I cruised down a cobbled lane and was soon at my destination, beyond thrilled with myself. ‘Wow. That was great! I am great! I am cyclist, hear me roar!’ I pulled up to the shop, a sweaty mess, beaming. I quickly realised however, it wasn’t open for another hour. ‘Of course it’s not open, you wally’ I said to myself. ‘Why didn’t you check before you left?’ What can I say? Sometimes a gal forgets she’s living through a once in a lifetime pandemic. I did a sad little ‘tap tap tap’ on the window and they kindly gave me my order before the official opening time.

I had achieved my second wholesome swap of the day and it wasn’t even midday. Next week, I’m going back into the office for the first time since March. Whilst I’m looking forward to talking to real life humans, I am already lamenting the hour in bed I’ll lose, amongst other things. This is where my new best friend The Bike comes in. According to Google Maps, I could get from my bed to my desk in fifteen minutes. Would that mean I’d arrive at work in my pyjamas? It would. But my colleagues are just going to have to deal with it. My plan is to distract them with my very elaborate lunches. I mean, whose head wouldn’t be turned by a stunning baked potato and tuna melt combo. I wheely can’t wait!

Esther O’Moore Donohoe is a writer and broadcaster. On her podcast The 80%, she interviews guests whose success she is 80% happy for.

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