Cycling in Ireland along the Wild Atlantic Way is ultimately very safe, but there are still some things you need to be aware of on route. Looking after your bike is one thing, and you can learn more about that by downloading our free ebook here. But you also need to be mindful of your surroundings. Here’s 6 essential tips for your cycling holiday in Ireland.
Know where You’re going
As part of your cycling package with IrelandWays.com you will receive detailed maps and cycling notes. The maps will display your route of travel and points of interest along the route, while the cycling notes will offer more details about what can be found along the route. We can also add GPS files to your holiday pack if requested which can be used with GPS devices or on a smartphone through a variety of apps. Some apps also allow you to access maps when you are offline which is useful if you have no internet access while on the route. The routes themselves are very well signposted so finding your way will be generally very easy. If for any reason, you are unsure of your location or direction of travel, you will never be too far from somebody who will be willing to help.
Prepare for varied Weather Conditions
Ireland is well known for having unpredictable weather. When the weather is good here, it’s spectacular, however you should always be prepared for some rain. Never leave your accommodation without a rain jacket and a spare change of clothes in a waterproof bag, regardless of how sunny a morning it is! Having a peak on your helmet or wearing a peaked cap can help to keep the rain out of your eyes when it is heavy.
Road surfaces along the west coast of Ireland have improved greatly over the last number of years, particularly with the development of the Wild Atlantic Way. Having said that, the roads in the west of Ireland are sometimes known to be quite ‘heavy’. This basically means that some of them are made with a chip and seal surface which can have a higher rolling resistance and a higher tendency to drain energy than a smooth asphalt surface. These types of roads tend to be in the more rural, mountainous areas. It is likely that you will encounter some rough patches of surface and potholes on your journey so you should always ‘have one eye’ on the road.
In mountainous and remote areas, the roads are mostly unfenced. This means that you will encounter loose wildlife (generally sheep and cows). Sheep love nothing more than to sit in the middle of the road on a warm summer day! It is important to remember this when you are descending from climbs. You should be respectful of all Wildlife that you meet on the trail, and always exercise a little extra caution as a result.
Traffic in Ireland moves on the left-hand side of the road. Try to keep as far to left as possible, especially on narrow roads. At roundabouts, traffic coming from the right has right of way. Always use hand-signals when turning and make sure it is safe to do so before you proceed. Pay attention to road signs identifying hazards and adjust your speed accordingly.
In Case of Emergency
It is a good idea to carry a mobile phone with you. In some of the more remote areas you will not have reception, however coverage has improved significantly in the last few years. Even if you find yourself without coverage, you will usually never be too far from a spot where you can get some reception.
Remember that in case of emergency in Ireland you should dial 999 or 112 for ambulance, fire service or police.
If you find yourself or if you see anybody in trouble in water, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard. In mountainous areas which may be difficult to reach ask for Mountain Rescue
For more information about cycling in Ireland or to book your cycling trip, contact the IrelandWays.com travel specialists