When cycling into the haunting beauty of the Wicklow Mountains, the bustle of a capital city will seem a million miles away. The roads are all tarmaced and the route is designed to ensure that you spend most of the cycle on quiet back roads.
To experience the majestic scenery of this area the route does have some climbs, so it is worth getting a few weekends training on a bike in varied terrain before coming, thus ensuring that you can fully enjoy the tour.
There are several good mountain biking areas too in the area, such as Ballinastoe, Roundwood (see www.biking.ie).
Ballinastoe Mountain Bike Trail system, takes the rider through some beautiful forest with views east over Calary Common and the Sugarloaf with the sea beyond. At the top of the trail, Lough Tay and the mountains beyond give views worth the effort of the climb. The trail accesses many types of terrain from open heather moor land on the top through thicket spruce and Scot’s Pine on the lower section. The trail is quite exposed on the upper slopes and can be very windy in poor weather – dress accordingly. The trail system, designed by one of the world leaders in the sport, is a one-way system constructed to give a challenging and rewarding ride.
If you like funky fun singletrack trails, then you came to the right place. Forest road climbs lead you into tight twisty singletrack with loads of ups and downs, tight turns and technical rocky bits. This is a network of purpose-built singletrack trails and forest roads that are designated for use by mountain bikes on a waymarked circular route of 14km in length. The waymarked loop includes long climbs and descents over a wide variety of sometimes difficult terrain on trails that are only suitable for mountain bikes i.e. bikes with 26inch wheels, knobbly tyres and flat handlebars. Roughly 9km of the waymarked loop is singletrack and these sections are narrow, sometimes steep trails of not more than 1m in width. On these sections, you will also experience variable surfaces including rocks, mud, roots, loose stones and gravel and they may become slippery in wet weather. The remaining 5km of the waymarked loop are forest roads, which are wide gravel roads and tracks with variable surfaces including loose gravel and pot holes. You should expect to encounter vehicles at any time on these parts of the loop.
The waymarked loop accesses high and sometimes exposed ground in remote situations and both bike and rider should be prepared for any eventuality. Please ensure that your bike is in good working order and that you have an appropriate fitness and skill level to undertake these trails.