What a year so far it’s been! Our first tour in May was a Six Day and lo and behold the sun shone bar the first morning. Lunches outdoors in lovely surroundings every day. James Hislop from the Guardian wrote a tremendous article. However, the warm skies from the east brought at times easterly winds – higher than average headwinds prevailed. The early June tour was a small group of riders led by Noel from Wild Atlantic Cycling. A few small tweaks to the route proved successful.
Something a little different in May saw us contracted by a group of three adventurers seeking to team-ride Malin to Mizen in three days. Transfers, route-planning, accommodation and support all provided by the Wild Atlantic Cycling team. Despite some challenging weather three days later and the job was done! Fantastic effort. As if they didn’t have enough, the three lads opted to take part in the Wicklow 200 (km) - a one-day cycle sportive that attracts over 3,000 cyclists from many different countries.
We broke new ground in mid-June with our first ever seven-day Ireland End-to-End tour. Adding an extra day allows us to cycle deeper into county Donegal – skirting the Blue Stack mountains and the Derryveagh mountains to the edge of Glenveagh National Park. The duration still allows the tour to be completed in one week. The majority of the group also opted for an optional climb on day seven – Mamore Gap. One of Ireland’s most highly rated climb. An alternative route provides a simple way of avoiding the gap allowing the group to meet again at brew stop. Big hit!
Late June brought some tragic news that shook the team here at Wild Atlantic Cycling. We said good-bye to a good friend, Anthony “Brick” Susko who passed away peacefully. Brick was on our very first Mizen to Malin. He was a great photographer, perfecting the art of taking fantastic photos from the saddle. Brick was a great source of feedback and suggestions as we sought to grow our little cycling company. As a New Yorker, Brick kept in contact from afar, and introduced us to a number of people in the cycle touring industry. He encouraged me personally to believe that the west of Ireland should be enjoyed by cyclists everywhere. Brick's blogs were packed with interesting insights into the people and places where he cycled. He missed nothing. Our thoughts and love go out to Brick’s friends and family.
A significant part of our unique route takes in bits of the Wild Atlantic Way. The longest sign-posted coastal drive in the world! One of our team has been working with a solo cyclist from New York who is planning to ride the entire 2,750 km (1,700 miles) route south to north. We have been privileged to use our local knowledge to advise on accommodation and stages. The ride will be in August and we plan to join for a few of the early stages.
MizMal is exceptionally busy for the crew, but as cyclists we just can’t resist clipping in for a few miles in the evenings. In the midst of such great cycling areas why wouldn’t we?! A favourite is a pedal up to the Cliffs of Moher and back before dinner. On the descent down we were flagged down by a solo cyclist seeking someone to cycle with and chat to. A Londoner taking part in what has become one of the world’s toughest one stage self-supported road bike races. The TransAtlanticWay is a 2,500 km race between Dublin and Cork via The Wild Atlantic Way. The poor lad had done 200 miles already and was hoping to reach Limerick that evening – another 70 miles or so. We kept company (or should we say nearly fell over with admiration) for a few miles before filling his back pockets with munchables from our MizMal snack box and sending him on his way. Delighted to find out a few days later that he came sixth overall! A truly incredible achievement on what is a gruelling race – physically and mentally.
Done with words! Drop me a note through the website if you want to chat about cycling the west coast of Ireland from Mizen to Malin - please join us in 2018! We also have a couple of places left on our 12 Day tour 2017 - dates are 16th to 28th September 2017.
Paul Kennedy (CEO & Founder, Wild Atlantic Cycling)