Boards.ie uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Click here to find out more x
Post Reply  
 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
01-06-2017, 18:02   #1
Mercian Pro
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 1,295
Royal Canal on a Road Bike

I know there have been other threads over the years on this, some of them covering the full length of the canal and others the Dublin commuter belt. This is just some thoughts following a recent spin from Cross Guns bridge (Phibsboro) to Kilcock. The bike was my Van Nicholas Ventus with 25mm Conti GP4000 tyres, the conditions were good after a longish dry spell and my route is here: https://www.relive.cc/view/1012652493

From Cross Guns to Ashtown, the path is tarmacadamed but in varied condition. It ranges from about 3m wide at first to a narrow section near Broombridge that is a bit rough in places. Along by the Rathbourne/Pelletstown housing, it is fine but there are a number of barriers and kissing gates that are a pain.

From Ashtown to Castleknock/Blanchardstown it is great but a little beyond the railway station, you enter the Deep Sinking, probably the worst section of the whole canal. Not only is it narrow with a steep drop on one side but the surface is a mixture of clay, rocks and exposed tree roots. It's doable in dry conditions if you have good balance and bike skills but even walking it when it's wet is a pain. This section is a bit under 2km long and you emerge from it (hopefully) at Porterstown Road.

From here on, the path runs along the north bank of the canal and is a mix of blinded stone, short stretches of tarmacadam and longish sections of grass/clay. The blinded stone is fine to cycle on in the dry and it's possible to keep up quite a good speed, dogs and pedestrians permitting. The Tarmac is fine but limited to a few area near Leixlip and Maynooth and a great new stretch at Kilcock. The grassy sections are ok when dry if you can stay in the worn clay tracks. These are generally quite smooth but some are below the level of the grass and can catch you out if you touch the edges. Cycling on the grass is slower and quite bumpy.

I stopped this time a little beyond Kilcock as the next section to Enfield is nearly all grass. On a previous spin to Mullingar, this had not been cut for some time and I had to stop a few time to clear it from the derailleur. When cut, it can still be a bit bumpy although it's a nice section for a walk! In Kilcock I had a great scone and coffee in Timeless opposite the church where they told me they were getting a track pump for cyclists in need.

The way back from Maynooth on is one of my favourite routes into Dublin, staying away from main roads and entering the Phoenix Park at Farmleigh. The average speed obviously picked up but the canal route is quieter and more attractive. I rejoined the canal at Ashtown for the final leg back to Cross Guns.

Even in dry conditions, a bike with wider tyres and suspension would make the trip more enjoyable. In wet conditions, it would be almost essential. Notwithstanding this, it's well worth trying on a road bike and you can always bail out onto the roads or a train.
Mercian Pro is offline  
Advertisement
01-06-2017, 18:35   #2
Weepsie
Moderator
 
Weepsie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 6,139
The history behind the deep sinking is testament to how long stupid ideas have won out because of vested interests in Ireland.
Weepsie is offline  
01-06-2017, 18:36   #3
Annie get your Run
Registered User
 
Annie get your Run's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 2,015
I can't believe you cycled on that awful bit around Coolmine, is deep sinking the official name? I tried running that last year and was slowed to a walk in many places - would be terrified to try on the bike. Great post though, would definitely like to try other sections of it by bike.
Annie get your Run is offline  
Thanks from:
01-06-2017, 18:38   #4
magicbastarder
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 22,002
what is the history behind this deep sinking?
magicbastarder is offline  
01-06-2017, 18:46   #5
smacl
Registered User
 
smacl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 10,354
Quote:
Originally Posted by Weepsie View Post
The history behind the deep sinking is testament to how long stupid ideas have won out because of vested interests in Ireland.
Certainly a bit ropey to cycle, hence the no cycling signs either end, but also enchanting if a bit spooky. Has a feel to it of taking one of the less used routes into Mordor. FWIW, even on the CX bike I get off and push at the narrower bit (wimp that I am) but still enjoy the place.
smacl is offline  
Advertisement
01-06-2017, 18:53   #6
Weepsie
Moderator
 
Weepsie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 6,139
Quote:
Originally Posted by magicbastarder View Post
what is the history behind this deep sinking?
The Royal Canal was originally planned to take a different route, but the Duke of Leinster insisted on it being rerouted to pass Carton House. What stood in the way was a great big load of rock, and it was expensive to blast through and slowed the canal build down hugely and saw its cost soar.


This guy here has a bit about it

https://www.flickr.com/photos/bbusschots/6976294706
Weepsie is offline  
01-06-2017, 19:40   #7
AmberGold
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 606
Did it a few years ago on the Long Heron Audax. I was on a road bike with 23's and mudguards, I was the only one not to puncture, others had 28's and the odd mountain bike, sacralidge for an Audax ride.

Grass getting caught under the guards was an issue from time to time.

The ride itself is a killer, more or less 80k on track / grass, legs were hanging off.

Last edited by AmberGold; 01-06-2017 at 19:50.
AmberGold is offline  
01-06-2017, 23:23   #8
Mercian Pro
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 1,295
The Deep Sinking certainly has its moments but most of it isn't too bad if it's dry. As mentioned in Weepsie's linked article, there was a major accident here in 1845 when a passenger barge sank after hitting the bank. More details at http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showt...php?p=83643699

I would be interested in anyone's recent experience of cycling the section west of Enfield. My memory of it as far as the Hill of Down is a bit vague but I don't remember any of it being as bad as Kilcock to Enfield. As I understand it, once you get to Westmeath just beyond the Hill of Down, it's great as the County Council have recently invested heavily in it. From Mullingar you have the options of staying on the restored canal towpath to the county boundary near Ballymahon, heading to Athlone on the new greenway or hopping on a train back to Dublin.

All of this is due to be upgraded once the other County Councils follow Westmeath's example, sooner rather than later I hope.
Mercian Pro is offline  
01-06-2017, 23:27   #9
magicbastarder
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 22,002
Quote:
Originally Posted by Weepsie View Post
The Royal Canal was originally planned to take a different route, but the Duke of Leinster insisted on it being rerouted to pass Carton House. What stood in the way was a great big load of rock, and it was expensive to blast through and slowed the canal build down hugely and saw its cost soar.
interesting - we used to go fishing on the section between castleknock and coolmine stations (i grew up about 100m from the canal) and never knew this.
magicbastarder is offline  
Advertisement
02-06-2017, 00:50   #10
Rokta
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 97
Thanks for that, I was always wondering what that part was about. I enjoyed riding that part back in the days when I still had my MTB.
Rokta is offline  
Thanks from:
02-06-2017, 08:25   #11
TooObvious
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 190
Well done doing the canal on a road bike. I did it to Ballymahon on my CX bike 3 years back and it was a great day out.
TooObvious is offline  
Thanks from:
02-06-2017, 09:31   #12
Chuchote
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 5,324
The Deep Sinking visited by Dick Warner

Chuchote is offline  
02-06-2017, 10:30   #13
mr spuckler
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,752
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mercian Pro View Post
As I understand it, once you get to Westmeath just beyond the Hill of Down, it's great as the County Council have recently invested heavily in it. From Mullingar you have the options of staying on the restored canal towpath to the county boundary near Ballymahon, heading to Athlone on the new greenway or hopping on a train back to Dublin.

All of this is due to be upgraded once the other County Councils follow Westmeath's example, sooner rather than later I hope.
yes beyond Hill of Down is great, i cycled it on a carbon road bike a couple of years ago just as the Athlone greenway was due to open.

funding was recently allocated (according to this) for the completion of Maynooth to the Hill of Down. It's previously been stated that it should be complete in 2018.

edit: i'm from Athlone but live in Dublin so the completion of this will make a huge difference to me for weekend bike based visits home!
mr spuckler is online now  
Thanks from:
02-06-2017, 10:32   #14
loudymacloud
Registered User
 
loudymacloud's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by mr spuckler View Post
yes beyond Hill of Down is great, i cycled it on a carbon road bike a couple of years ago just as the Athlone greenway was due to open.

funding was recently allocated (according to this) for the completion of Maynooth to the Hill of Down. It's previously been stated that it should be complete in 2018.
it is a great section alright, did it last summer, planning to go again in a few weeks. Really enjoyed it.
loudymacloud is offline  
Thanks from:
02-06-2017, 10:39   #15
Mercian Pro
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 1,295
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuchote View Post
The Deep Sinking visited by Dick Warner
Thanks for posting that Chuchote. I'd forgotten how enjoyable and perfectly paced it is.
Mercian Pro is offline  
Post Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Remove Text Formatting
Bold
Italic
Underline

Insert Image
Wrap [QUOTE] tags around selected text
 
Decrease Size
Increase Size
Please sign up or log in to join the discussion

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search



Share Tweet