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Cycling the wicklow Way

  • #1
    Registered Users Posts: 481 ✭✭ trinewbie


    OK - so this thread has popped its head up on various MTB forums in the past whille (Including MTBireland, Epicmtb.com etc...)

    I am planning to cycle the WW next summer in a single day, going from Clonegal to Marlay - aiming to do it in 12 hours(ish).There are two of us planning to do it....Is there much interest out there in doing it or am I just a bit weird?

    Has anyone here done it? Did you use OSI maps or the wicklow way trail guide? what time did you do it in? As far as I know Robin Seymore still holds the record..

    any tips would be appreciated..

    cheers


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Comments



  • I've walked some of it. You will have to carry your bikes for some parts as the terrain gets quite steep and goes through some felled woods closer to Dublin, or maybe you can get away with wheeling them. Also, some parts of it are on road. Should be good fun. If you do it, let us know how you get on. I don't know if you are officially "allowed" to do it.




  • It's 132km overall with some very tough climbs,you'd want to be very fit if you're doing it.I've only done a few sections,the climb up Kilmashogue is grand,all fireroad.I left it after the climb and joined it again at Knockree.The bit in between is all fireroad though and well cyclable.From Knockree it goes down into a nice grassy river valley and then up some more fireroad to the top of Crone Woods.Then there's some steep singletrack into the valley above Powerscourt(I couldn't cycle this at the time but it's well possible),then there's a very tough doubletrack climb out of the valley.From the top it's a nice grassy uphill cycle to the top of White Hill and then the sleepers go all the way to Ballinastoe where the way continues on the road.So basically it's all cyclable up to Roundwood,not too sure about the rest.Good luck anyway,hope you accomplish it.




  • I'm toying with the idea of doing it next summer too. I was thinking over a couple of days staying over in a hostel or b&b along the way. 12 hours might be pushing it a bit. I think someone on this forum told me the record for doing it was something like 13 hours and I certainly wont be challanging any records. My idea was more like a few days off work and take a nice easy going break on the trails for a few days. I'll attempt doing it in one day only after I know the route well and have done parts of it a few times.

    If your planning on doing it post a thread or pm me a few weeks before you plan on doing it, I'd be interested in tagging along. All I have is OS maps but no knowledge of the route itself so I need to do a lot of fact finding before I make any attempt.




  • Agree with Raam. Kind of challenge that you might need to walk first. I've walked half of the way and would not recommend it as a cycling route. Don't expect any cheers from walkers who quite rightly regard the Way as a walkers only paradise.




  • I've only heard of 4 people who've cycled the whole thing in one go, of which I'm one. We did it together a few years ago in 12:04 and we were out to set a good record time. Thats a good time, but definitely beatable. Be aware though, it was set by 4 very good endurance athletes (The winner of the Gael force 6, Ireland's best female mountain biker, and two members of the Irish team that came 16th in this years adventure racing world championships). AFAIK Robin came very close to cycling the whole thing a few years back but didn't quite make it. Its a big cycle, and you'd need to be very cycling fit to do it all in one go. There is a lot of climbing. We did it from Marley to Clonegal, as the big hills and technical bits are at the Marley end. The Clonegal end is pretty dull and straightforward. Overall, its about 99% cyclable. You're much more likely to encounter walkers between Marley and Glenmalure, so try and avoid that section in peak times (we set off at about 5am)

    We didn't need to use maps. If you can spot signs with yellow walkers you don't need them, but I'd always bring them for backup. We'd have been familiar with 80% of the route anyway.


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  • Enduro wrote: »
    I've only heard of 4 people who've cycled the whole thing in one go, of which I'm one. We did it together a few years ago in 12:04 and we were out to set a good record time. Thats a good time, but definitely beatable. Be aware though, it was set by 4 very good endurance athletes (The winner of the Gael force 6, Ireland's best female mountain biker, and two members of the Irish team that came 16th in this years adventure racing world championships). AFAIK Robin came very close to cycling the whole thing a few years back but didn't quite make it. Its a big cycle, and you'd need to be very cycling fit to do it all in one go. There is a lot of climbing. We did it from Marley to Clonegal, as the big hills and technical bits are at the Marley end. The Clonegal end is pretty dull and straightforward. Overall, its about 99% cyclable. You're much more likely to encounter walkers between Marley and Glenmalure, so try and avoid that section in peak times (we set off at about 5am)

    We didn't need to use maps. If you can spot signs with yellow walkers you don't need them, but I'd always bring them for backup. We'd have been familiar with 80% of the route anyway.

    sounds ace, I think I want to do it now.




  • Did it two years ago carrying tents and the works, didn't really have a clue what we were getting ourselves into, 6 of us went - all on sub €300 mountain-bikes. We weren't out to break any records - we got pissed on vodka every night. Camped 3 nights and cycled through 3-days of torrential rain. We survived only on koka noodles.
    That was a proper adventure.
    If I was to do it again, I'd say the best fun would be to split it in two, staying in a B+B overnight somewhere half way and use a light cross country hard-tail. A huge amount of it is on roads so any serious mountainbike would slow you down for these parts.
    For finding our way we just brought the walking guide book, hardly even needed it, it's pretty easy to stay on the route.
    Definitely recommended anyway.




  • Enduro wrote: »
    I've only heard of 4 people who've cycled the whole thing in one go, of which I'm one. We did it together a few years ago in 12:04 and we were out to set a good record time. Thats a good time, but definitely beatable. Be aware though, it was set by 4 very good endurance athletes (The winner of the Gael force 6, Ireland's best female mountain biker, and two members of the Irish team that came 16th in this years adventure racing world championships).

    Modesty alert ! - these people are at the top of their game, if you're not a competitive MTB rider or other form of savage endurance athlete, do it in two days....




  • Modesty alert ! - these people are at the top of their game, if you're not a competitive MTB rider or other form of savage endurance athlete, do it in two days....


    Dont worry about me - ill be fine doing it in one day.

    I have done marlay to glenmalure, before , which was savage, the main thing was to get off the sleepers @ Djouce before the walkers arrive.

    Ill wait until summer, and a day where its been reasonalblly dry for a few weeks previously.

    Enduro - Question re: Water. Were yo uself suffiecient, ie camel pack and a few extra bottles, or did you stop get more?

    A few of my mates have gone most of the way from Clonegal, but didnt have anything left to make it back over three rock. that would be a heratbreaker.

    Ill post here closer to the time for pepole who might want to join... It wont be easy going, and will be doing it in a single day, hopefully sub 13hours.




  • What's your plan for getting to Clonegal? Train to Gorey then bike over?


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  • Raam wrote: »
    What's your plan for getting to Clonegal? Train to Gorey then bike over?

    that is an option -

    however it actually depends - In order to keep Walker Agro. to a minimum, the group wont have more than 5/6 people.

    Plan to set out at 7am or so, some people may stay in Bunclody or Clonegal the night before...If people are doing it this way -

    the Bus Eireann Expressway service from Dublin's city-centre bus station (Busaras) at Store Street to Waterford will leave you at the village of Kildavin, just 3 km from Clonegal. Alternatively continue to the larger town of Bunclody (Clonegal 5 km) to make final preparations and purchases. So wheels etc off bike and into the bus storage wrapped in cardboard box.

    I will personally be travelling down in the morning, will get a lift to Clonegal.




  • I have toyed with the idea of riding it for a few years, never got round to it though. I have walked most of it in different occasions and once the weather holds up should be great. Many years ago I did the three rock bit with my dad in febuary. He had a townensed touring bike and i was on a claude butler mountain bike.
    It was Freezing. The water in our bottles had ice in it.
    Get a lot of scrambler bike around there and they tear up the track so ened up walking a lot of it.

    but I would love to give the whole thing a go, but only have a road bike at the mo and no money for a mountain bike.




  • If I was to do it again, I'd say the best fun would be to split it in two, staying in a B+B overnight somewhere half way and use a light cross country hard-tail. A huge amount of it is on roads so any serious mountainbike would slow you down for these parts.
    For finding our way we just brought the walking guide book, hardly even needed it, it's pretty easy to stay on the route.

    Thats all excellent advice. the place to stay would be either glendalough (Nice hostel and hotel there) or glenmalure (The glenmalure inn is one of my favourite spots, but is extremely popular). IIRC, we all used XC hardtails when we did it. We would all have pretty good bikes.
    Dont worry about me - ill be fine doing it in one day.

    I have done marlay to glenmalure, before , which was savage, the main thing was to get off the sleepers @ Djouce before the walkers arrive.

    Ill wait until summer, and a day where its been reasonalblly dry for a few weeks previously.

    Enduro - Question re: Water. Were yo uself suffiecient, ie camel pack and a few extra bottles, or did you stop get more?

    You sound like you know what you're taking on anyway. WRT water: its easy to pick it up en route. lots of river and stream crossings. I would recommend using a camelback for water and a bottle for some go-go juice :D As it happens, we had friends tracking along and meeting us now and again en-route. This made life easier , as we were able to have a nice lunch etc (Outside the glenamalure inn where we could have bought it anyway), but that's a double edged sword, as it meant we tended to stop and chat for much longer than we would have been had we gone completely self sufficient.

    I would also recommend starting well rested after a good nights sleep. I didn't, and I paid for it for the first couple of hours.




  • Robin never did it in one day (sorry bob). I did it with him in 1996 in 2 days, cycled down on the road, then from clonegal to tinahealy. Next day did the rest. Not too many BIG hills so not too bad. 10 hours for fit MTBer is about right, if it was a race I'd say it would be done in 7.5.

    Gotta plan it right, drink water all the time, and eat loads. Trail conditions are a big thing too, gotta be dry.

    First 30km is kinda crap, farmers fields and that kind of thing.....gets a lot better at Aughavanna.




  • Thanks for the pointers lads

    The support crew is a great idea I will hopefully get the missus to meet us at glenmalure or glendo with a good feed and other supplies, then again at curtlestown for some fuel to carry us over the back of fairy.

    Regarding stops: Hopefully would like to have as few as possible, but i think the min would be 2 x 30 -40 minute stops, with a few 5-10 minute breathers?

    Ive heard the first 30k is kinds sh!tty alright, would like to leave it out to be honest, but then I wont be entitled to the bragging rights associated with doing the whole lot.




  • ever think of the enviromental damage a bike can do to the mountains?

    Parts of the Wicklow way aren't suitable for MTBs, White Hill where Coillte has put a board walk to prevent further erosion, a bike would do serious damage as the vegatation tries to regenerate.

    I've met bikers here, and asked them do they care, and normally just get a shrug of the shoulders.

    I'm a daily cyclist, and done a fair bit of touring both in Ireland, and in europe, done the wicklow , bordertrek, and the maracyle before it, but I'm also a hillwalker and object to people making ****e of the mountains.

    And as another poster said, don't expect to get a welcome from any walkers you may meet, simply because of the damage caused by you guys.




  • dursey wrote: »
    ever think of the enviromental damage a bike can do to the mountains?

    Parts of the Wicklow way aren't suitable for MTBs, White Hill where Coillte has put a board walk to prevent further erosion, a bike would do serious damage as the vegatation tries to regenerate.

    I've met bikers here, and asked them do they care, and normally just get a shrug of the shoulders.

    I'm a daily cyclist, and done a fair bit of touring both in Ireland, and in europe, done the wicklow , bordertrek, and the maracyle before it, but I'm also a hillwalker and object to people making ****e of the mountains.

    And as another poster said, don't expect to get a welcome from any walkers you may meet, simply because of the damage caused by you guys.

    A valid point, but does a bike necessarily make ****e of the mountains? If you stick to the trail, is it possible to avoid causing damage? It would be fantastic if there was some dedicated trail for this kind of thing, i.e. an A to B trail that would take 7 or 8 hours to complete on a bike.




  • looks like the parks and wildlife service also has a word or 2 to say about cycling in the Wicklow Mountains National Park


    "The public roads running through the Park are used for competitive cycling, as well as for touring. Bicycles also use some un-surfaced forestry-type roads and wider surfaced tracks. Off-road cycling is not allowed due to the damage it can cause to sensitive habitats."

    http://www.wicklownationalpark.ie/pages/recreation.php




  • dursey wrote: »

    I'm a daily cyclist, and done a fair bit of touring both in Ireland, and in europe, done the wicklow , bordertrek, and the maracyle before it, but I'm also a hillwalker and object to people making ****e of the mountains.

    And as another poster said, don't expect to get a welcome from any walkers you may meet, simply because of the damage caused by you guys.

    The biggest environmental vandals in North Wicklow are Coillte, under the auspices of "commercial logging". That aside, hordes of hillwalkers also make ****e of the mountains.

    I love MTB too much to stay off the hills, and frankly, until theres a real threat of criminal prosecution for doing so, I'll keep spinning.




  • dursey wrote: »
    ever think of the enviromental damage a bike can do to the mountains?

    Parts of the Wicklow way aren't suitable for MTBs, White Hill where Coillte has put a board walk to prevent further erosion, a bike would do serious damage as the vegatation tries to regenerate.

    I've met bikers here, and asked them do they care, and normally just get a shrug of the shoulders.

    I'm a daily cyclist, and done a fair bit of touring both in Ireland, and in europe, done the wicklow , bordertrek, and the maracyle before it, but I'm also a hillwalker and object to people making ****e of the mountains.

    And as another poster said, don't expect to get a welcome from any walkers you may meet, simply because of the damage caused by you guys.


    The damage on white hill was caused by walkers, not MTBers. Hence the ugly (but fun) sleepers. Cycling on the sleepers does not cause damage!

    The eroision on Djouce/Maulin/Fairy (before the digger drove up it to create the current track)/Tibradden/Mulacor/Lug/Table/Tonlagee/Top Ride Rock/Etc, was caused by walkers, not MTBers..........ffs. Why cant people see this?

    Coillte too, desolation. What about the ESB and their peat burning operations.....think about that the next time you turn on the kettle?

    1 guy doing the wicklow way is not going to kill the env.

    Motocross guys, different story.


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  • dursey wrote: »
    ever think of the enviromental damage a bike can do to the mountains?

    Parts of the Wicklow way aren't suitable for MTBs, White Hill where Coillte has put a board walk to prevent further erosion, a bike would do serious damage as the vegatation tries to regenerate.

    I've met bikers here, and asked them do they care, and normally just get a shrug of the shoulders.

    I'm a daily cyclist, and done a fair bit of touring both in Ireland, and in europe, done the wicklow , bordertrek, and the maracyle before it, but I'm also a hillwalker and object to people making ****e of the mountains.

    And as another poster said, don't expect to get a welcome from any walkers you may meet, simply because of the damage caused by you guys.

    :mad::mad:

    Your attitude is typical of a walker who believes that the mountains belong to the walkers. this is NOT the case at all.

    The majority of MTBers and EVERY member of my club respects both the mounatins and all those who use the mountains as a recreational facility. We would all give way to a walker, and as a matter of courtesy always try to avoid areas with a high volume of walkers.This is not always possible We all observe the "leave no trace" initiative..Which is more than i can say for walkers. i have seenmore walkers trunching through delicate blanket bogs and actually LITTERING than i have ever seen MTBer's.

    If you honestly believe that MTBer's are the main cause of erosion in the mountains then you need to open your eyes.

    What gives YOU the right to cause the any damage to the moutains? Its YOU and MXR's that cause most of the erosion. Hill walking boots cause a hell of a lot more damage than a 2 inch wide MTB tyre so get off your high horse mate.

    A tiny minority of MTBers might not show respect to you walkers, but what gives you the right to take the sterotypical view that all mountain bikers are "making a Sh!te" of the mountains?????? :mad:




  • What prompted me to write was seeing 4 blokes cycling down white hill on sunday, beside the boardwalk not on it, in an area in which off road cycling is prohibited.

    an extract from the international mountain biking association:

    http://www.imba.com/about/trail_rules.html

    Rules of the Trail


    The way we ride today shapes mountain bike trail access tomorrow. Do your part to preserve and enhance our sport's access and image by observing the following rules of the trail, formulated by IMBA, the International Mountain Bicycling Association. These rules are recognized around the world as the standard code of conduct for mountain bikers. IMBA's mission is to promote mountain bicycling that is environmentally sound and socially responsible.

    1. Ride On Open Trails Only.
    Respect trail and road closures (ask if uncertain); avoid trespassing on private land; obtain permits or other authorization as may be required. Federal and state Wilderness areas are closed to cycling. The way you ride will influence trail management decisions and policies.


    also if interested have a look at

    "The damage caused by each mountain biker is much greater than that caused by a hiker, firstly because of the extra weight of the bike, and secondly because the soil is impacted continuously along the trail, while a hiker's feet hit the soil only at intervals. Heavy pedestrian use can eventually destroy a trail, but very few of the trails in this area fit this category. We have seen damage to wet trails caused by irresponsible horse riders and dirt bikers."

    http://www.efn.org/~k_mccree/MtBikes.html




  • dursey wrote: »
    What prompted me to write was seeing 4 blokes cycling down white hill on sunday, beside the boardwalk not on it, in an area in which off road cycling is prohibited.

    an extract from the international mountain biking association:

    http://www.imba.com/about/trail_rules.html

    Rules of the Trail


    The way we ride today shapes mountain bike trail access tomorrow. Do your part to preserve and enhance our sport's access and image by observing the following rules of the trail, formulated by IMBA, the International Mountain Bicycling Association. These rules are recognized around the world as the standard code of conduct for mountain bikers. IMBA's mission is to promote mountain bicycling that is environmentally sound and socially responsible.

    1. Ride On Open Trails Only.
    Respect trail and road closures (ask if uncertain); avoid trespassing on private land; obtain permits or other authorization as may be required. Federal and state Wilderness areas are closed to cycling. The way you ride will influence trail management decisions and policies.


    also if interested have a look at

    "The damage caused by each mountain biker is much greater than that caused by a hiker, firstly because of the extra weight of the bike, and secondly because the soil is impacted continuously along the trail, while a hiker's feet hit the soil only at intervals. Heavy pedestrian use can eventually destroy a trail, but very few of the trails in this area fit this category. We have seen damage to wet trails caused by irresponsible horse riders and dirt bikers."

    http://www.efn.org/~k_mccree/MtBikes.html

    Firstly, as I pointed out in my earlier posts, I will be doing the WW in the summer, when the trail is dry - My impact will be negligable.

    Just some notes on your points above:

    1 - "What prompted me to write was seeing 4 blokes cycling down white hill on sunday, beside the boardwalk not on it, in an area in which off road cycling is prohibited." - As I mentioned before, a minority of bikers giving the majority, respectable ones a bad name. -Very small minded of you to say that all MTBers do this and have the same impact on trails as these guys would have.

    2 - Your 2nd point is a load of B()llox, "The damage caused by each mountain biker is much greater than that caused by a hiker, firstly because of the extra weight of the bike, and secondly because the soil is impacted continuously along the trail, while a hiker's feet hit the soil only at intervals. Heavy pedestrian use can eventually destroy a trail, but very few of the trails in this area fit this category. We have seen damage to wet trails caused by irresponsible horse riders and dirt bikers."

    have a look at -

    http://www.mountainbike.co.nz/politics/doc/impacts/summary.htm

    Argues that MTB and Walkers causes similar levels of damage.

    However, bikers prefer to stick to solid compact trails rather than pedalling through schlomp, so on a given wet day, a MTBer would avoid a schlompy climb in ankle deep bog of muck....IMO walkers would not avoid this scenario and plough right through.




  • well I hope 2008, is somewhat drier that 2007!

    but you haven't addressed my other point in that off road cycling is in fact banned in the wicklow mountain national park.

    I don't think all MTBers are irresponsible but the 4 I encountered in sunday were.




  • Another article, citing a number of studies including the one above and a more recent one, that refutes claims that mtbs do more damage than walkers:

    http://www.imba.com/resources/science/trail_shock.html




  • dursey wrote: »
    well I hope 2008, is somewhat drier that 2007!

    but you haven't addressed my other point in that off road cycling is in fact banned in the wicklow mountain national park.

    I don't think all MTBers are irresponsible but the 4 I encountered in sunday were.

    Re: 08' being dryer tha n 07' - I think all mountain users do TBH!


    I agree that the 4 Lads you encountered were being irresponsible, but i would argue that the group (8+) of walkers I saw last weekend ascending the back of Fairy Castle through the muck and peat were being equally irrsponsible, if not more so. I have yet to hear a walker admit that another walker/ hiker has ever been in the wrong.

    Have a look at http://www.mbi.ie/project.html specifically

    .

    "Some of you may be aware of the Dublin Mountains Initiative (DMI), a group of recreational users formed to develop a unified development and management policy for the Dublin Mountains. To date they have enjoyed quite an amount of success in persuading Coillte, the Wicklow National Park and the relevant County Councils to start down the road of developing an integrated strategy for the South Dublin Hills. A considerable traunch of funding has been allocated to a consultant’s report which will outline a strategy for the area incorporating the needs of all the various outdoor recreational users."

    I just want to get my point accross here - Attitudes from councils, coillte and the Wicklow National Park towards bikers are changing. Mountain Biking is now beginning to be recognised as a respectable sport, thanks to the hard work of a number of key individuals. It is no longer seen as a bunch of ignorant adreneline junkies jumping from customs built ramps and chewing up trails, with no regard for other recreational mountain users.




  • dursey wrote: »
    well I hope 2008, is somewhat drier that 2007!

    but you haven't addressed my other point in that off road cycling is in fact banned in the wicklow mountain national park.

    I don't think all MTBers are irresponsible but the 4 I encountered in sunday were.

    Jez, all those campers down in the knockree valley EVERY weekend, litter, fires, noise, etc......walkers, very bad form, based on these guys, I think all walkers should be banned, blah, blah, blah....

    Re, bikers banned from national park. Yes, this is the rule, but its defo not gonna stop me riding in there 4 times a year.

    Duresy, if they banned walkers from there, would it stop walkers going up? I DONT THINK SO. I have been riding there for 20 years, I'm defo not going to stop now cause walkers are damaging the hills!

    End of discussion imo, if you want to try to argue your point more, create a new thread.




  • dursey wrote: »
    1. Ride On Open Trails Only.
    Respect trail and road closures (ask if uncertain); avoid trespassing on private land; obtain permits or other authorization as may be required. Federal and state Wilderness areas are closed to cycling. The way you ride will influence trail management decisions and policies.

    http://www.efn.org/~k_mccree/MtBikes.html

    That rule is more applicable in countries that have dedicated facilities for mountain biking. Up until very recently there has been no-where in Ireland that we can legally ride.




  • Can I have my thread back??:D

    With regard to access on WW and Wicklow national Park - Walkers get back in your boxes. Im not being rude but wer' way off topic here, as the OP says if you want to go further start another thread.


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  • trinewbie wrote: »
    Can I have my thread back??:D

    With regard to access on WW and Wicklow national Park - Walkers get back in your boxes. Im not being rude but wer' way off topic here, as the OP says if you want to go further start another thread.

    You did ask about riding the Wicklow Way and one of the negatives is the attitude of the walkers so...

    Dursey is quite correct - MTB is banned in the national park (and also in most of the Coillte forests). I choose to ignore this ban. I also choose to avoid the Wicklow Way most of the time and as a result rarely meet walkers on the trails I ride.


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