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Barrow way on a road bike

  • 18-08-2021 8:55am
    Registered Users Posts: 147 ✭✭

    Im planning to do the Barrow Way in the next few weeks and will be doing it on my CX bike with either CX or gravel tyres. Might convince a mate to come with who likes new routes but he has only got a road bike with 28mm tyres on it. Could you get away with 28mm tyres on the Barrow Way with the terrain?


  • Registered Users Posts: 792 ✭✭✭tawfeeredux

    I did the stretch from Vicarstown to Robertstown a few weeks ago, not long after the hot spell of weather. On cx tyres it was fine, but there are a few stretches of grass that might be tricky now on road tyres with the recent rain. There was one particularly rough stretch that's used as a farm track that was slow going even with the cx tyres.

  • Registered Users Posts: 147 ✭✭pairofpears

    By the sounds of it I will be suffering on my own so. Really need more mates with CX or gravel bikes.

  • Registered Users Posts: 707 ✭✭✭mad turnip

    I saw this video last year of a few lads doing it on what looks like 28cc tires.

    I'd just make sure its been dry for awhile before doing it though.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,263 ✭✭✭Mercian Pro

    I've been looking at doing the full Barrow and Robertstown to Dublin on the Grand Canal for a while and have decided to hire a gravel bike for the day. Paul McQuaid at River Cycles has a few possibilities.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,223 ✭✭✭Breezer

    I did it the other weekend on a gravel bike with 38mm tyres. It’s an absolute beaut of a route and I’d recommend it to anyone. But I have 28mm tyres on my commuter hybrid and I wouldn’t have fancied my chances on that to be honest. That video of the lads makes it look like a nice compacted gravel surface, interspersed with bits of rough. In reality it’s the opposite. One stretch in particular, after Carlow, is basically singletrack.

    Now I did Dublin to Graiguenamanagh in a day, so maybe if you were planning on going much more slowly you’d be grand on the road bike. I’d be **** a brick about punctures personally though, and I don’t think I’d enjoy it. And it is a very enjoyable route!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 147 ✭✭pairofpears

    Its my mate that has the road bike but I would ask him for a fellow partner in suffering. I have 32mm CX tires and 40mm gravels tyres so once I had enough spare tubes I would be fine for the day.

    I would plan to do it in a day and would be coming from Enfield so should be able for it if I leave plenty of time for punctures or bad ground.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,671 ✭✭✭cletus

    Are you planning to go down and back in a day, or just get to St. Mullins in a day.

    Including the spin from Enfield to Robertstown, you'd be looking at about 135km one way.

    Robertstown to Rathangan is easy gravel, Rathangan to Monasterevin is lumpy grassy canal bank, Monasterevin to Athy is a mixture of the two, and from Athy on I don't think there's any work done, a good lump of it is single track/walking trail

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,807 ✭✭✭De Bhál

    I was on it last week from Dolphin Rd in Dublin city down to Monasterevin. I had to take a road detour coming into Rathangan as there's signs up saying it's closed.

    CX tyres are necessary or preferably gravel tyres as the ground is firm but gravelly in places which I have experience of CX tyres puncturing on. I had CX tyres and they were fine this time.

    There are sections still that it can be difficult to know which side of canal to be on but just keep an eye out for the signs.

    The main thing about this canal path is it's a fair slog at times so get going early if you want to complete full length.

  • Registered Users Posts: 147 ✭✭pairofpears

    I'm looking to get as far as Graiguenamanagh as I'm planning on camping there for the weekend to watch the Ras na Mban. Plan would be my wife come down in the car after work and I would be there to meet them. It wouldnt be far off the 130km range but I did 220km on the Royal Canal a few weeks ago so should be able for the slog.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,671 ✭✭✭cletus

    Ah yeah, it's doable in a day so. I thought you were going to head back the same day 😃

    Enjoy the trip.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 147 ✭✭pairofpears

    No I wont be that mad. But if I can do it one way with few issues I will be happy. The worst thing to deal with would be punctures but if I let some air out of the tyres they might roll better over any tree roots, stones etc.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,671 ✭✭✭cletus

    I don't want to jinx myself, so I won't say what I haven't had happen yet, but I've done a good portion of it in different sections, and never had an issue 😉

  • Registered Users Posts: 147 ✭✭pairofpears

    Same as myself usually have no issues. I have had 2 punctures on rides lately and its more down to the tyre than anything else so that will need to be sorted but usually it all goes well for me.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,223 ✭✭✭Breezer

    Definitely doable. Bear in mind you’ll tire quicker on the rough surface, but give yourself enough time and you’ll have a blast. It’s a much nicer route than the Royal Canal, I think. Wilder and less monotonous.

    There’s a nice place to camp just immediately outside Graiguenamanagh, heading towards St Mullins.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,203 ✭✭✭a148pro

    130k probably quite doable depending on your fitness, but just bear in mind that it does not in any way equate to 130k on the road or the Royal, which is probably one of the easiest cycles around particularly if wind behind you? I did it ex Dublin and limped into Carlow much tireder than I would have been on equivalent distance over road. Decent chunks of it are green and tougher going in consequence. May depend on whether Waterways have cut the grass but from above poster who did it recently it seems they have. In theory it could be done on 28mm and large portions of it would be grand, but it would be really unpleasant on some of the grassy sections. Like its not like grass in a housing estate, its lumpy hardcore type ground. The second half of it, from Carlow down is really nice. Don't miss the last bit to St Mullins either, even if only going to Graigue.

  • Registered Users Posts: 114 ✭✭01Surveyor

    Im hoping to Dublin - Sallins (by train)

    Sallins - Robertstown on the canal

    Robertstown - St Mullins on the Barrow Way (maybe only to Graiguenamanagh)

    St Mullins (Graiguenamanagh) - Thomastown (road)

    Thomatown - Heuston Train.

    Anyone done this recently?

    Am I crazy to be doing this in a day, Im 70 and doing 110-120km Sunday spins?

    Are Komoot maps/directions reliable?

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,066 ✭✭✭Quigs Snr

    I did St Mullins to Athy last Autumn on a road bike with 28mm tyres... would not recommend unless there has been a severe drought (was fine for most but up near some places where it was damper it was lethal).

    It was slow enough going on the MTB when I went back the following week. You could do it in a day I reckon.. but unless you are used to that type of riding its fairly sapping. Much more so that a ride of similar duration on the road.

    In my case, I am not used to MTB and my arms were in tatters from the wide grip and the shaking about. I was also with an A1 rider who was on a gravel bike and had to hold a constant 200w for about 3 hrs, which drains the legs pretty quick on that terrain. But if you left early, took your time and are on a suitable bike you are comfortable with.. I reckon you are good.

    ... and the scenery is unbelievable. Well worth the trip.

  • Moderators, Computer Games Moderators Posts: 14,665 Mod ✭✭✭✭Dcully

    Just a fyi for that section from Robertstown to Athy, the canal is blocked for about 5k both north and south ends of Monasterevin on the canal for ongoing Blueway work but other than that its plain sailing for this section, just thought id mention it.

    You can just go the opposite bank for both [both not great but very doable on both gravel or MTB] or hit the road for them few kms both ends.

    Post edited by Dcully on

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,341 ✭✭✭The Davestator

    Planning the full Barrow Way next week. Camp overnight at St. Mullins and then cycle to New Ross for the bus back.

    If anyone has any updates from recently, I'd love to hear them. Thanks

  • Registered Users Posts: 528 ✭✭✭michaelm

    Only just seen this - I would love to know how you got on as I am hoping to do some of this over the next few weeks. I am aware that they are currently working wither side of Monastrevin so a detour is required. It is great to see the ongoing work though.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,341 ✭✭✭The Davestator

    Hey - I did it last week and it was stunning. I used a gravel bike with 32 mm tyres (Marathon Plus). PSI of 55-60. With the good weather, this was fine as there was no muck.

    It was a bit slower than planned due to the amount of grass and rock tracks so I ate in the Lord Bagnal hotel and camped alongside the river just outside Mhuine Beag. There is works going on, but no detour away from the river that I saw! It can be tricky to see what side to be on, but i asked people and didn't go too far wrong. With the good weather, there were plenty of people around to ask.

    Finished in St. Mullins which was lovely. This was the end of my enjoyment! The cycle from St. Mullins to Gowran to get the bus was a killer. So many hills. It was also 25 on the bus one way to the airport so expensive enough.

  • Registered Users Posts: 528 ✭✭✭michaelm

    Thanks a million for that - apologies about delayed response as I only just discovered your piece. It's a real gem, as yet undiscovered, and maybe better that way!