Counties Dublin, Wicklow and Wexford offer a very comprehensive training ground for all types of rider. From the city to the countryside you will be given a wide variety of traffic environments that will be both challenging and pleasurable.
Bikesafe takes you through some of the most scenic Wicklow. See below for some of the possible routes that may be taken.
Get a Bike High from Carlow!
I've been teaching advanced rider training in Wicklow for over 7 years and I've checked out a great number of roads in the area - sadly a lot of these roads have gone into disrepair and are no longer a joy to ride. This is why I chose Carlow. Each county in Ireland has the responsibility for the upkeep of their roads and Carlow does a good job of maintaining theirs. There is a big difference between maintenance and repair. Instead of resurfacing their roads Wicklow County Council only fills in the potholes and it is this neglect which costs taxpayers more in the long run. Wicklow wins hands down for scenery, after all it is the garden of Ireland, but that's just it - a garden with paths running through it. An American biker visiting Wicklow once said to me "I was riding along the potholes then suddenly I came across a bit of road!" . My reply to him was "Go to Carlow!"
My route is about 150 Km long and will take about 4 to 5 hours at a leisurely pace. It starts and finishes in Wicklow.
We begin in Rathnew and head to Rathdrum on the R752. This is an open road with a fairly good surface, it has a few tight twisty sections but is mainly made up of medium sweeping bends. We stay on the road which bypasses Rathdrum town. Next is a tight twisty section with good surface that's slightly bumpy, the road broadens out after about 8 Km into sweeping bends. This will bypass Avoca and lead us onto Woodenbridge. We turn right just before the bridge onto the R747 signposted for Aughrim. This is one of my favourite sections which runs along the Aughrim river and will last for about 7 Km. It's a medium width road with an excellent surface and challenging bends which is well marked (road paint and advanced warning signs). We bypass Aughrim on the R747 to Tinahely. This is a wide road with a good surface. It has a few tight sections but is mainly sweeping bends - again its well marked. We ride through Tinahely following the road around to the right in the village. This will lead us onto the Hacketstown R747. From Hacketstown we take the R727 which is signposted for Carlow. An excellent road surface with medium bends - this will be put a smile on your face! Just after the hump back bridge we turn left at the staggered crossroads onto the N81which is signposted for Tullow. There follows a tight twisty section with a top class surface. Coming into Tullow the Texaco garage on the right hand side offers a good place to stop - service station grub and a clean toilet!
After lunch we ride through Tullow. Over the bridge we turn right up to the mini roundabout, then turn left. This will take us onto the R725 to Carlow. This is a cracking section of road with a great surface. It has a bit of everything. A note of caution however - occasionally farm machinery moves on and off this section, otherwise it is perfect. Hedgerows have been cut down along certain sections for this reason. This frames the contour of the road and allows for forward planning - a luxury an Irish rider rarely gets! We turn right at the roundabout in Carlow and right at the next roundabout sign posted Hacketstown R726. Again we're in for a real treat! A blend of tight, twisty and smooth sweepies for 8 Km with a surface to match! We ride straight through the first staggered junction and turn left at the second staggered junction which is signposted for Rathvilly N81. Although it will only last for 7 Km you will wish this tight and twisty section would never end - it is a section that begs to be ridden again and again. After Rathvilly we stay on the N81 to Baltinglass and then onto Hollywood. This road has its moments but can be bumpy in places, it is a wide road with plenty of places to make progress with overtakes. We then turn right onto the R756 to Laragh, this is the Gap road which is fast and smooth. Watch out for sheep on the road. From Laragh we turn right and then ride into Rathdrum. This is a quality road which has its ups and downs! Finally we ride back to Rathnew.