Archive for the ‘Biking Routes – Ireland’ Category

BMW F800R’s in Wicklow, mine’s the orange beauty..

Well it’s just shy of one year since I bought the F800R, the honeymoon is well and truelly over. More often than not a year on from buying a motorbike I’m either bored, frustrated with it or both, either way I’m usually gunning for a change, but what about the F800? The F800R is a bike that never really took off in Ireland, partly I suspect because it was never really promoted here and because the BMW bike dealerships seemed far more interested in pushing the R1200GS and big tourers. I cant say I blame them for that, the economy has gone tits up and in general dealers don’t make too much on selling new bikes with re-sales, servicing and accessories being where they make their money. Of course demand is also a major factor in what they stock. (more…)


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F800 Wicklow Test Route

Having a few hours to burn recently I took my GS out for a short run in Wicklow and pulled into my local BMW dealer, Maddocks BMW Specialists (www.Maddock.ie) just outside Bray for a quick coffee and a shift around the showroom. Along with most of you I just like checking out shiny new machines without any intention of buying anything. (more…)

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Wicklow Mountains Route 2

This route starts just outside of Rathdrum simply because the stretch of road from here to Laragh is a great bit of crack if it’s quiet, there are a couple of really tricky turns on this road close to Rathdrum, you will know what I mean when you try them. Best to ride it slowly and “carefully” once then take a 2nd run at it to really enjoy the run.

This road runs through some of the oldest woodlands in Ireland, so wet leaves and fallen branches can also be a hazard as well as deer, and more than one biker has had a bad time here, but if you just use your head you will enjoy this stretch. From Laragh take a left towards Glendalough taking a right before Glendalough monastic site and head up into Wicklow Gap on the R756.

Again this road if its quiet is a pure joy, the views are great and the road for the most part up to the summit is narrow but in good condition.

I’ve never seen a speed trap here, but look out for sheep, deer, cyclists, hikers and black ice in winter.

From the summit the road drops with some good twisties down towards Blessington, about 18km from Glendalough take a right onto the R758 then round the lake to Oldcourt and back up over the Rivver Liffey, on to the R759 through Kippure and on to Sally Gap.

The road along Sally Gap is generally good, quiet and has really fantastic views. Riding along here you really feel like your out in the middle of nowhere.

In reality your only 20km from the M50 if you’re heading north or south, and 30km to the M7 if you’re heading west.

From the top of Sally Gap take a right back towards Laragh/Glendalough, this part of the road is badly rutted, it’s definitely not built for speed but the views are stunning, passing Glenmacnass waterfall keep left coming into Laragh, turn left towards Roundwood and take an immediate left again into what looks like a small access road but it leads to some classically beautiful scenery.

Its part of the Wicklow Way, a well known hiking route through the mountains and leads to the Lough Dan, eventually this route will lead you back into Roundwood, the highest village in Ireland where you’ll find lodging or plenty of places for lunch.

Note however that the nearest petrol stops from here are in Laragh/Glendalough and Kilmacanogue joining the N11. I hope you enjoy these routes as much as I do, the best time to travel these roads is from April to late October, I’ll be uploading more after the Christmas holiday.

Dont forget, this route can also be downloaded as Wicklow Mountains Route 2.gpx or .gdp for Garmin devices.

Practical advice: As well with all high mountain roads and passes the weather up here can change very quickly, a warm sunny day can turn to into a complete nightmare at anytime of the year and clouds can roll in from nowhere droping visability to just a couple of meters, temperature can also drop as much as 15 degrees C in minutes with low cloud, and in many areas there is no mobile phone signal. Even in summer hail or sudden torrential rain can make you wish you stayed at home, Irish mountains may seem like foothills compaired to the Alps but what the Irish mountains lack in height they more than make up for in an uncompromising combination of topography and weather as well as stunning beauty, Irish mountains demand respect.

Dont let me scare you off, it’s well worth the effort to ride these memorable roads, just always have a fleece, jumper rain gear, water, an energy bar and a high visability jacket in your panniers when spending the day up here. If you get really stuck in an emergency and need an ambulance/helicopter fast the mountain rescue number is 999/112, they are bassed in Laragh, and in a real emergency can get to you faster then an ambulance which will have to travel from Dublin.

Plenty more of my photos of the Dublin/Wicklow mountains and surrounding areas can be found on my Flickr pages;

Downloadable files for this route:

Wicklow Mountains Route 2 Video 1

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As a landscape photographer I get to spend a lot of time in the Dublin and Wicklow mountains and have gotten to know many of the most sceanic back roads. So if your in the area why not check them out, as they are all within an hours drive from Dun Laoghaire port. These routes can also be downloaded as .gpx files.

Wicklow Mountains Route 1
(Roads can be impassable in winter)
Starting from Killmacanogue just off the N11 take the R755 up into the Wicklow mountains towards Roundwood/Glendalough, taking the R758, next right after Djouce golf club will bring you up to Lough Tay, otherwise known as the Guinness Lake.

On a good day the views here are spectacular, but you wont be breaking any speed limits here as the road is, shall we say “full of character” ;). You will also want to watch out for wandering sheep, deer, coaches in the summer and the odd twat in a Range Rover.

Following this road towards Sally Gap take a left at the cross roads towards Laragh where the road becomes more rutted but passable even on a sports bike as long as you keep it under 50/60KMPH, while the road is mostly shit the mountain views are again pure magic making this road very popular for local bikers.

Getting closer to Laragh you will pass Glenmacnass Waterfall and well worth stopping to take in the view before dropping down into Laragh, a small village with a good pub/hotel and a couple of coffee shops and a petrol station.

Just down the road is the world famous monastic site of Glendalough founded by St. Kevin. If you have the time its more then worth a visit, on a good day the upper lake is really stunning. The car park is paid, but you can easily park up your bike along the road as long as its well in.

From here we head into Wicklow Mountains Route 2 – Wicklow Gap, Blessington Lakes and Sally Gap

All these photographs and more, which are GeoTagged can be found on my Flickr Photostream..





Downloadable files for this route:

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Denis Smyth. GPS Republic Tour 2010Starting from Tuesday morning (18-05-2010) I’ll be riding to Rosslare to catch the ferry to Cherbourg. From there I’ll be half on half off motorway to Avallon which is just north of Lyon where I will crash (hopefully not literally) for the 1st night.

On Thursday the trip should start getting interesting as I will head towards Geneva, round Mont Blanc into Italy to Torgnon in the Aosta valley which is home to a little mountain called the Matterhorn where I’ll stay until Saturday morning. Hopefully I’ll get some good photos of the Alps around here on Friday.

On Saturday I’ll cross back over into France and head to Briancon for 2 nights. I am hoping to get there via the Val-D-Isere pass which is one of the highest at around 3000 metres but as yet the route is still closed/blocked with snow which is a big problem with much of my intended route being the famous Route Des Grande Alps through the highest Alpine passes from Geneva to Menton on the Cote d’Azur. Generally these passes don’t open up until mid June or even July so I’ll be updating my route as I go.

From Briancon I’ll go to Barcelonnette about 150 km south of Briancon for one more night before dropping down into Nice for a day or two. After this I’m just going to wing it to my final destination of Torrevieja, just south of Alicante, Spain.

I will be posting my routes as GPX or KML files so you guys can follow me on Google Earth and of course photographs of my travels as and when I can get an internet connection. Should be a laugh either way.


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