• Cyril McAree

Ireland’s Greatest Cycling Experience Gets Underway


The Wild Atlantic Way Cycle Sportif 2018 spring event kicked off today, 20th April, in Kinsale, West Cork. A joint initiative between Fáilte Ireland and cycling specialists, Ride Wild, the bi-annual cycling event includes 16 stages covering 2,152 kilometres of coast along the magnificent Wild Atlantic Way, finishing on the 8th May in the village of Muff in Co. Donegal.

Launched in September 2017, the Wild Atlantic Way Cycle Sportif is designed to promote the Wild Atlantic Way as a premium cycling destination for both national and international cyclists with events taking place in April/May and September. Ireland’s only fully supported, multi stage cycling event, up to 100 cyclists are taking part in each stage of the spring sportif.

Speaking today, Fiona Monaghan, Head of Activities, said:

“Following the success of our inaugural ride in September last year, we’re delighted to see so many cyclists here today from all over the world for the Wild Atlantic Way Cycle Sportif. Cycling has great potential for tourism - research indicates that the average cycling tourist spends an average of five nights attending a sportif event. This Fáilte Ireland initiative was created to attract cyclists along the full length of the route during spring and autumn in a bid to spread tourism across the region and grow tourism in the ‘shoulder seasons’ each side of summer.”

Nearly 400 official cycling sportifs take place in Ireland each year - along with many more local events - and the number of events is growing each year. In the UK alone, over two million adults cycle at least once a week and sales of high-quality road bikes grew 24% in 2017. The location of a sportif is a key driver for this type of visitor and research has revealed that 81% of potential sports tourists would identify the Wild Atlantic Way as having a strong (45%) or very strong (36%) appeal for them. It is estimated that the Wild Atlantic Way Cycle Sporitf could generate over €13m and up to 50,000 bed nights.

Organised by Ride Wild, everything from overnight accommodation and meals to road side support is taken care of for participants. Ride Wild’s Cycling Director, Michael O’Boyle, said:

“Our priority is to provide a first-class experience and this event is the perfect opportunity for cyclists to see the beauty of the Wild Atlantic Way on a fully-supported, multi-day cycling tour. The route stages were designed by cyclists for cyclists and the combination of stunning scenery, the remote wildness of the west coast and the characters you meet along the way makes this event very special.”

Participants in the Wild Atlantic Way Cycle Sportif spring event will have the option of covering the full distance over a set number of days, completing a stage of the event over a multi-day section of the route or joining the event for a single day.

For a taste of what the Wild Atlantic Way Cycle Sportif is all about, check out this video from last year’s event. The Wild Atlantic Way Cycle Sportif autumn event kicks off on the 8th September. For more information, visit :

https://wildatlanticwaycyclesportif.ie/

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