It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.

--Ernest Hemingway

The Plan

I am not a 'touring cyclist' - not that there's anything wrong with touring cyclists. I consider myself to be a 'roadie'--if it can't fit into a jersey pocket, then it doesn't come along for the ride. So when you picture me biking in Ireland don't think about panniers and saddle bags and back packs. There will be no tents, sleeping bags nor camp stoves anywhere near my bike.

The plan is to rent a car so that I can drive about the island and ride in much the same way that I would at home. If all goes according to the vision, my life over the next 14 days will fall into the following routine: drive to an area, ride, hike, eat massive amounts of food, drink Guinness (amounts may vary), sleep, repeat.

The idea for this trip is to be fairly flexible; it'll be a bit by the seat of my bib shorts. Here's the best I can do for an itinerary:

> Fly into Dublin on Aug 13
> Connemara (northwest of Galway)
>Inishmore (the largest of the Aran Islands)
>The Burren and the fabled Cliffs of Moher
>The Dingle Peninsula
>The Iveragh Peninsula (Ring of Kerry)
>The Beara Peninsula
>Fly out of Dublin on Aug 28

I've perhaps saved the BEST FOR LAST! From Aug 21-23, I'll be following the three-day Tour of Ireland. I'll watch Stage 1 on the Category One Mount Leinster climb, take in Stage 2 on The Vee, a Cat. 2 climb and watch the last stage in Cork which finishes with a with three-loop city street circuit including the 23% gradient climb of St. Patrick's Hill.

Oh, almost forgot to mention that seven-time Tour de France Champ LANCE ARMSTRONG and 10-time TdeF stage winner MARK CAVENDISH will be riding the Tour of Ireland. It doesn't get a whole lot better than that.

So come back to this little blog often to read about my adventures with my bike on the Emerald Isle. And please, if you're reading this stuff, leave me a comment; it's nice to know that people are out there checking this stuff out.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

County Clare Part 1

Yo cats! I've made it to Dingle (one of National Geographic's Top Ten destinations if that means anything). Twas about a tree n'a half hour drive from Doolin. Da ferry ;cross da River Shannon saved me bout 2 hours, I'm told. Gotta love ferry's. This post was giving me trouble so have decided to divide it into two parts. So, here's Part 1.

The Burren Ride

What a great time - wo man! I started and ended the ride in Lisdoonvarna. First the loop descended out of town and to the "Coastal Road". This road then took me east along the south shore of Galway Bay and to Ballyvaughn. What an awesome road to ride a bike on--the sun was out, the wind was cranking on my back and the views were unparalleled. From Ballyvaughn the road turned up climbing up Corkscrew Hill back towards Lisdoonvarna. The Hill was about a 6 km climb with a number of "Alpe d'Huez-like switchbacks". Oh it was good good times as the video, I think, portraits. You can see some spray painting on the road in the video that eludes to the fact that this road is often used in bike races over here.

The Coastal Road - check that road out

and again...

and still more awesome road

Push play and ride up Corkscrew Hill with me!

Looking back down at a switchback on c/s Hill

One thing I should add about this ride. We maritimers are no longer allowed to use the phrase "If you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes." I'm telling you, here, it is not an exaggeration. As I left Lisdoonvarna, I got completely soaked in the first five minutes. Sufficiently saturated, the ride continued under idyllic conditions.

A wet Blarney Biker

Read on ... part two of this epic is next.


  1. Ok, ya gotta tell me, were you biking one handed up corkscrew hill, and if not, how did you have the camera mounted?


  2. New video.

  3. Was biking one-handed, but only for the minute or two while recording - I was feeling quite strong actually.

  4. Hi Shane! I think you are home now?! I just red the whole blog today! Looks like you had a great trip! I am so happy for you!


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