Irish roads are too dangerous for cycling…

The biggest misconception about cycling today is that you are taking your life in your hands on our roads.

I can see where that comes from.

It mystifies me to see so many cyclists train along national routes where traffic is heaviest and risks are greatest. I certainly wouldn’t use them unless there was no other option. Of course these are usually racers and not casual cyclists like you or I. And we are heavily influenced by what we see the pros do and by what the bike industry wants us to do. More about that at another time.

However we are blessed in our country with a massive network of minor roads that connect every village and lamp post in the country.

When I cycle I usually cycle for 60 – 70 minutes. I take different routes every day and in good weather I cycle seven days. If I meet 3 or 4 cars on those routes it’s the limit!. I have the freedom of the road!

You can too, with a little bit of planning.

These routes are ideal for family cycles; they are all loops and are never more than 6 – 7 miles from home. That means I can cut back home if the weather turns foul or I have a mechanical problem. If I want to extend the loop I have options to go any distance and still be in touching distance of home.

Not only are the roads safe but they are interesting as well; there are so many things to see, old ruins, significant historical buildings and interesting places, wonderful views, the natural flora and fauna, picnic areas and even places to swim! The bike really can be magic for young children and it’s all accessible from our front doors.

Most Local Authorities are considering the needs of cyclists now. The provision of cycle lanes in our Towns is a welcome development which should encourage biking to school and work. Indeed a new bike lane is underway between Carlow and Kilkenny.

Over time I will put up some route maps for anyone interested in getting out and about!

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