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Tips on How to Celebrate Bike Week in Ireland

8 min read

By Darragh Devaney, Operations Manager
More by Darragh

Though the dates change each year, National Bike Week is the perfect thing to inspire you to get out on a bike!

You may wonder why it’s important to celebrate National Bike Week – surely biking is a normal activity!

Yet, it’s worth celebrating bicycles, as they have revolutionised transportation since the invention of the pedal bicycle back in 1839 by Kirkpatrick Macmillian. Though today they are rarely used as a major method of transportation, bicycles are a great way to visit a region for those who want a more up-close-and-personal travel experience of the local landscapes and culture – and Bike Week helps us remember that.

What is National Bike Week?

Cycling in Ireland - Wilderness Ireland - Bike Week

 

National Bike Week UK and National Bike Week Ireland are annual events across the UK and Ireland to promote cycling, as well as show just how easy you can integrate cycling into your daily life as well as for recreational purposes. The goal of Bike Week is to get everyone outdoors and on two wheels, as well as show that cycling isn’t just for the pros, but for everyone!

Why Bike in Ireland?

Connemara Biking - Wilderness Ireland - Bike week

Cycling along the lakes of Connemara

 

Enjoy the journey – and the accomplishment of getting there by bike. The sense of accomplishment of travelling around a whole region using just your own two feet is intense! With cycling, it’s all about the journey. That medieval castle or Megalithic tomb or clifftop panorama will be that much more spectacular because of your journey than if you simply drove there.

Biking is a great form of exercise. Let’s face it – most of us don’t always take enough time to do sports. From domestic duties to work tasks to long communities to poor weather, there are plenty of reasons that keep us from exercise. Cycling is a great way to see a little bit more of the world – you’d be amazed at how much more you see from a bike saddle rather than while driving a car! – as well as working those quads. And once you’ve finished cycling, you can have a guilt-free gourmet meal!

Biking is a green way to travel. In a world where pollution is a regular concept, biking has great environmental benefits. Not only is it good for our health, but it’s also great for our planet as well! Whether you take the family for a weekend bike ride, commute to work by bike from time to time, or spend your holidays cycling around for a week, biking is both a green way to travel and a great way to explore the landscape!

Biking together creates social bonds. Those who do choose to do an active adventure together – especially cycling – tend to bond over the experience. Cycling in a group has great social benefits, whether you choose to cycle with your, kids, friends or even other people part of your cycling group who you’ve only just met.

Tips for Cycling or Biking in Ireland

Be prepared for both rain & sun. Many visitors seem to people expect only one or the other, but Ireland’s weather is quite variable, and it helps to be prepared for all. Layers are your best friend! Sun screen and rain coats will both come in handy, as will waterproof gear.

Choose your routes carefully. Pay attention to elevation gain – Ireland looks flat when you’re driving, but less so when you’re on a bike! Take hills into consideration when deciding where you want to cycle and for how long. Keep to the coast for the best views and the most interesting places to visit! Also, be sure to chose little-travelled routes to benefit from the peaceful backcountry of Ireland – stay away from the national roads whenever possible.

Bike a Greenway. For those nervous about a long bike trip, or don’t want to share a road with cars, consider biking one of Ireland’s greenways, like the Great Western Greenway (42km long), which follows an old railway path from the town of Westport out to the beautiful (though haunting!) Achill Island. Other greenways are located along the Royal Canal, the Newry Canal, Deise Greenway in Waterford and the Great Southern Railway in Limerick, with several others in the works.

Bike two by two. Don’t be afraid to own the road! In Ireland, legally speaking you can cycle two by two – and in some ways, it’s often safer for a car to overtake a small group of cyclists rather than a long line of single cyclists.

Stay on the left. It may sound silly, but don’t forget that we drive on the opposite side of the road than most of the world. Do be sure that you are staying on the left when biking in Ireland too – and make sure to switch your hand signals to suit the left hand side of the road as well!

Take the wind factor into account. Ireland is most spectacular on the coast, but there is a serious wind factor that should be taken into account. Most people – especially those who do not live on the sea – often overlook this aspect! Strong winds – even on a normal day – can make you bike ride much harder.

Snap away! Ireland is quite picturesque, and you never know when you’ll come across a good shot! So make sure you have you camera with you, and that it’s accessible. Consider a waterproof shoulder bag or backpack designed for cameras, or, for the sunny days, you can even get a clip for your waist, so your camera is always ready. Just make sure that if your camera isn’t waterproof, you’ve got a waterproof bag.

How Can I Bike in Ireland?

Bike week - cycling in Killarney - Kerry

Exploring the lakes and mountains of Killarney by bike

Bike Week is only one week per year, but biking is something you can do all year round! Organising a bike trip yourself can be intimidating, but luckily, at Wilderness Ireland, we already have several cycling trips that explore the beautiful, varied landscapes of the southwest, northwest and northern coasts of Ireland! See below for a bit more info:

5 Countries Bike Trip

Location: England, Wales, Ireland – Dublin & Co. Donegal, Northern Ireland & Scotland

Imagine cycling through the sweeping valleys of England, the remote mountains of Wales, the windswept landscapes of Ireland, the rugged coast of Northern Ireland and the majestic woods of Scotland – by bike! Explore forlorn castles, lively towns, vast moors, panoramic views and rugged landscapes.  Challenge yourself with this  bucket list adventure through 5 countries!

Bike & Yoga Escape

Location: Irish Northwest (Counties Sligo & Donegal)

Combine cycling & yoga for an escape in Ireland’s laid-back northwest where you’ll exercise both mind and body! Cycle quiet backroads weaving through the windswept, magical scenery of Sligo, immortalised by Ireland’s most-beloved poet, W.B. Yeats. Visit 5,000 year old tombs at Carrowmore and chill with surfers at Strandhill beach. Enjoy tailor-made yoga session – whether it be in the rolling hills, along the coast, or on a quiet beach, you’ll be awed by the dramatic backdrop!

Bike the Kerry Peninsulas

Location: Irish Southwest (West Cork & Kerry)

Be it fresh seafood, traditional dishes made from local products, or creative meals that’ll amaze your stomach, eat and pedal your way through the three amazing peninsulas of Kerry, otherwise known as the foodie capital of Ireland. Finish your trip at Slea Head, Ireland’s most western tip while relaxing to traditional Irish tunes in Dingle!

Connemara & the Aran Islands Bike Trip

Location: Co. Clare (the Burren), Co. Galway & the Aran Islands

For those looking for a more traditional location, visit Ireland’s west coast – but do it by bike! The best thing about this tour is that you’ll get the best of both worlds: you’ll visit the classics – Cliffs of Moher, Connemara, the Burren, the Aran Islands – but you’ll do so in a non-traditional way. You’ll visit the Cliffs of Moher via the ‘local’ (or secret!) path, as well as do a bit of island-hopping along the way!

Bike the Wild Atlantic Way

Location: West Coast of Ireland

This epic trip takes in the very best of the Wild Atlantic Way, the world’s longest way-marked coastal path! While you won’t do all 2,500km, you’ll ride along the most exciting parts of the west coast over the course of twelve days, visiting places like the Burren, Connemara, Donegal, and more. You’ll start at Malin Head (the extreme south) and end at Mizen Head (Ireland’s extreme north) – quite an achievement to cycle!

Related Departures

Trip Date Price Availability Book
Bike Tour - Five Countries 7th Jun - 20th Jun 2020 €4,5507 place(s) leftBook Now
Deluxe Bike Tour - The Kerry Peninsulas 27th Jun - 3rd Jul 2020 €2,6008 place(s) leftBook Now
Bike Tour - Connemara & the Aran Islands 25th Jul - 31st Jul 2020 €2,2008 place(s) leftBook Now
Bike Tour - Wild Atlantic Way 8th Aug - 21st Aug 2020 €4,2008 place(s) leftBook Now
Deluxe Bike Tour - The Kerry Peninsulas 29th Aug - 4th Sep 2020 €2,6007 place(s) leftBook Now

Meet the Author: Darragh Devaney

“Joining Wilderness Ireland in 2015, Darragh is our Trip Operations Manager. He's also Wilderness Ireland's resident cycling expert! Darragh has travelled throughout the world - cycling across France, living abroad in South Korea, travelling through Canada and the US, but still prefers cycling in Ireland to anywhere else!”

View profileMore by Darragh

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