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The Magic Road Blog

Where to ride in Ireland (Part 3)

Posted on June 03 2014

And what about these two inland destinations?


Portlaoise is on the Cork – Dublin rail line and is situated beside the Slieve Bloom Mountains. Three road passes cross them. There isn’t a lot of traffic on these roads and the climbs are not too difficult.

Our routes include a short loop from Portlaoise and a long loop.

It’s easy to cycle back to Dublin from Portlaoise. If you get a strong tailwind (quite likely) it will be a memorable trip.

The Slieve Blooms

The Slieve Blooms

Pro: It’s hilly, quiet and near Dublin.

Con: There are more beautiful places to go to.


Where to ride in Ireland (Part 2)

Posted on May 23 2014

Here are a couple more ideas on where to take your bike.

Inishowen Peninsula

The most northerly part of the Ireland is a small peninsula but it makes for an excellent 2-day ride out to Malin Head and back. Most of it is hilly, with fantastic views all around. Don’t miss the famous Gap of Mamore if you are in the area.

Take  look at the routes that we have here: Derry to Malin Head, Malin Head to Derry and Enniskillen to Malin Head.

Riding beside Lough Swillly

Riding beside Lough Swillly

Pro: You will start or finish here if you do the Mizen to Malin ride.

Con: The roads in the south of the peninsula can be busy at times.


Ride distances for beginners

Posted on May 16 2014

How far can you ride if you don’t know how far you can ride?

I heard a theory once that any reasonably fit adult can ride 50km on a bike. That is 2.5 to 3 hours, depending on the terrain, breaks taken etc. I think that it is a pretty fair estimate.

If you are attempting a longer distance you should train for it, build up the amount of miles you do each week and ensure that your bike is comfortable and properly set up.

There is another theory that the distance you can comfortably ride in one day is the distance that you average in a week. That seems to be quite accurate too.

Also bear in mind that if there are regular short hills on the route it will be more tiring and more disruptive to your rhythm than occasional hills with even gradients. A five kilometre uphill on an easy gradient is easier than 5 steep but short ‘walls’ that feel like taking a punch in the gut.


Cycling in the rain

Posted on May 12 2014

The visit of the Giro d’Italia has coincided with heavy rain in Ireland. It is bad luck as there was plenty of good weather in the previous couple of weeks, but the race just missed it. It remains to be seen just how much it will contribute to a negative perception of Ireland for people watching the race. In most places in Europe, if you cycle you will be cautious of rain. And if you plan a cycling holiday you will want to avoid rain as much as possible.

But the truth is that in most choices of destination in Europe you are either risking it being too wet or too hot to be comfortable. And Ireland has the advantage of long, long days in summer which gives cyclists some flexibility. Raining when you get up? Then cycle in the afternoon.

And showers are far more common in Ireland than persistent rain. If it is heavy, it is easy to stop somewhere to sit it out. In the summer it is often warm enough that you dry off quickly between showers.

If you enjoy outdoor activities you learn to live with the annoyance of bad weather. Once you are out and enjoying the day, it will take more than a rainshower to ruin things for you. Don’t be put off by people moaning about Ireland and rain.

The road to Ballinlough

It was a little wet but a fantastic day out – Westport to Ballyhaunis.


Where to ride in Ireland?

Posted on May 02 2014

There are numerous great areas to ride in Ireland, but most of us have limited time in which to do so. We have to choose one. To make that process easier, we have selected 3 areas to start with for your first cycle trip.

This list is not exhaustive, and we will add more suggestions over the next few weeks.


If you like hills and great scenery you will love Wicklow. It doen’t have the wildness of the west coast but it is only a few minutes ride from the million or so people in the Greater Dublin area and is an outstanding amenity.

And it is worth remembering that these are hills, not really mountains. Most climbs are 2-300 metres high, so don’t let that put you off. And if you finish in Dublin you will enjoy a great descent back into the city.

Read more on our Dublin routes, many of which go through Wicklow.

The road between Sally Gap and Laragh:

Some rare shelter...

Pro: It is near Dublin, and convenient for the huge numbers of tourists who visit the city.

Con: On weekends you are likely to meet plenty of traffic here, although that doesn’t stop the hundreds of other cyclists.