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Long Distance Road Cycling in Ireland a la Tour de France

Posted on Jul 02, 2017 by Darragh Devaney

Exciting news – the Tour de France kicked off in Dusseldorf, Germany this weekend! Feeling inspired to do it yourself?

Alright, so maybe you won’t be doing the Tour de France race yourself. But that isn’t to say you can’t do your own version of the Tour this year!

tour de France Ireland bike

Zipping by on a bike, Tour de France style!

Headed to Belgium and Luxembourg before traversing some of the most beautiful yet challenging terrain in France, the 21 day world-famous Tour de France race is generally considered the authority on competitive road cycling. While few people are privileged enough to participate in the Tour de France, the epic race is a huge motivator when it comes to cycling.

There’s something to be said for long distance, point-to-point cycling. While you might not be competing in the Tour de France, go ahead and let yourself be energised by the Tour de France: a the trifecta of the variety of competitors, the beautiful backdrop and the act of cycling great distances is inspirational.

It’s okay to feel jealous, motivated and even a little intimidated. Yet, even though you’re not doing the Tour de France, there’s nothing stopping you from doing a long distance cycling holiday – keep reading to see why you should do your own version of the Tour de France!

Benefits of Long Distance Road Cycling a la Tour de France

  • The sense of accomplishment you’ll get after finishing a hard day’s cycling over the course of a week is unparalleled! A week or more of cycling is a huge achievement that is great for a self esteem boost and make you feel as if you can do anything.
  • Bragging rights. Not many people can say that they cycled across entire counties, let alone entire nations!
  • Improve your physical and mental stamina. Choosing to cycle for several days in a row takes a lot of determination, and actually accomplishing it takes even more! A multi-day road cycling tour is a great way to work on strengthening that stamina – even channelling it into other parts of your life.
  • Stay in shape. This is the obvious one – but no less important or worthy! You’ll want to be in top condition for your cycling trip, so it’ll motivate you to exercise – and cycle! – often, as well as watch your diet. All of which is great for your health!
  • Explore the backcountry of Ireland at a ‘slower’ pace. Biking across Ireland means you’ll actually get to see – and interact with – the landscapes as well as the people, cultures and wildlife of Ireland. Seeing rural and coastal Ireland from the window of the car just isn’t the same!
  • Tour de France Ireland bike

    Ireland’s winding roads are a great place for cycling enthusiasts!

So, what are the best cycling trips if you’re looking for a challenge?

  • The 5 Countries Trip – This trip, in which you bike across England, Wales, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland, actually starts on the 2014 Grand Depart of the Tour de France – so you can start your 12 day challenging trek through the UK and Ireland feeling like a Tour de France competitor!
  • The Kerry Peninsulas Trip in the Southwest – Bike Ireland’s extremes, from the southernmost point – Mizen Head – to the westernmost point – Slea Head on the Dingle Peninsula – while exploring some of Ireland’s most exhilarating routes, such as the Gap of Dunloe, the Conor Pass, and Moll’s Gap across Cork and Kerry.
  • The Wild Atlantic Way Bike Trip – Bike the best of the Wild Atlantic Way on this classic and challenging route from the extreme south to the extreme north! Impossible to sum up all you’ll see, this 12 day trip won’t leave you wanting! From the sunny southwest, to the wild west coast, the laid-back northwest, and the rugged Inishowen Peninsula and Malin Head, this is truly the trip of a lifetime.
  • Donegal From Cliffs to Coast – Remote Donegal has it all – breathtaking landscapes, charming coastal communities, traditional pubs, amazing cliffs (Slieve League!) and rugged mountains. Donegal also has some great climbs like the Mamore Gap and the Bluestack Mountains for those looking for a challenge.

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For those looking for a more relaxed pace, check out our Cycling & Yoga Escape in the chill northwestern counties, where easy cycling is combined with daily yoga classes.

Or, try biking Connemara & the Aran Islands, where you’ll do a bit of island hopping while exploring vast tracts of bogland and witness some of the last Irish-speaking holdouts.

See how to do your own Tour de France here!

If none of these trips suit you, check out our Interactive Holiday Builder to get a custom-built trip just for you!

About 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!

Read more articles by Darragh | View Darragh's Profile

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