Frequently Asked Questions
We are the only locally based company operating bike tours in North West Ireland. We’ve lived here all of our lives, and know this part of Ireland intimately. We know the tiny back roads and the unmissable gems. We have an excellent relationship with the people who run the Bed and Breakfasts and small hotels, along with all the others who are so vital in making your bike tour in Ireland your best ever holiday.
County Donegal and the wider North West of Ireland is one of the most stunningly beautiful parts of Ireland, but it’s also the least discovered. It’s a small community, and the tourism sector contributes greatly to employment here. We are eager to help curb the damaging trend of depopulation which has been evident in this area for many years. We employ a principal of using locally sourced products and services wherever possible. Our business supports numerous other local business, such as small family-run Bed and Breakfasts, Restaurants, Activity Providers, Craft Shops, etc.
By touring with Ireland by Bike you are helping to support local economies in the regions where our tours are located. You are also travelling in a way that contributes to – rather than damages the local and wider environment.
In an Ireland by Bike self-guided tour, you, or you together with another person or persons (your partner, friend, friends, etc.) will be provided with bikes, maps, a GPS unit with routes pre-programmed along with a comprehensive guide book.
On the morning of your first cycle we meet you to help you fit your bike. We explain how the directions, GPS, etc. work. We also answer any questions you have.
You then follow the route as outlined at your own pace.
Your bed and breakfast accommodation is included in the tour price.
When you arrive at your destination each day, your luggage will be there waiting for you. The advantage of a self-guided bike tour is the degree of independence that it allows. You are not forced to cycle with a group, so the pace you go at is totally up to you.
Although you (or your group) will be cycling on your own, emergency support is provided in the unlikely event that you run into difficulty.
Our tours run from Late April to October. There are advantages to coming at different times within that period. In Spring and Autumn, roads are generally quieter. Although it can still be quite cold in April/early May, and towards the end of September and early October, these can be great times to travel if you simply come prepared for the weather.
During May and June, flowers bloom and there’s an abundance of foliage. Young lambs are to be seen playing virtually everywhere and the days are really really long.
In the second half of August, the heather is in full bloom, covering the hills with a magnificent purple carpet.
Photographers say that September is the best month for light and colour.
Our best advice is to come when it suits you best. There’s so much to see and do at all times of the year. You really won’t be disappointed.
Our climate is mild. This is because the North Atlantic current of the Gulf stream protects Ireland from extremes of climate. It’s not uncommon to get sunny dry weather at any time of the year, although rain is also common. Showers are often localised, which means that you may have a showery morning but a sunny afternoon along your route! In summer, most rain showers don’t last very long, so light rain-gear that you can fold up and use when needed should leave you ready for all eventualities. On rare occasions (if the weather is extremely unfavourable) we will arrange to have you and your bike transported to your next accommodation.
Peak season is July and August, but the weather can be just as good, or sometimes better, earlier or later in the year.
Average summer daytime temperature is usually between 15°C (59°F) and 22°C (72°F). On rare occasions the temperature can approach 30°C (86°F), however Ireland never experiences the extreme temperatures seen in many parts of Europe in recent years.
If you go to the tour description on our website, you will see a ‘Getting Here’ tab. This will give you full information about getting to the start of each tour.
If the tour finishes in a different place to the start point, you will also see information about travel from the tour finish.
We will be happy to give you information regarding bus and train timetables, information about taxis etc.
If you are able to cycle then there is almost certainly a tour to suit you. Even if you struggle with hills the option of using high quality e-bikes (electric bikes) will make even the toughest hill seem flat.
Ideally we suggest that you prepare by occasionally cycling similar distances to those involved in your upcoming tour.
Check the average daily distance in each tour to in order to be sure that that particular one will suit you. If you are concerned about hills – simply choose an e-bike.
Please note: It is very important that you are a competent cyclist, irrespective of the difficulty level of the tour.
We give our tours a rating from 1 — 5, as follows:
Flat routes. Short distances. (Basic level of fitness required.)
Some hills. Short distances. (Moderate level of fitness required.)
Hills. Moderate distances. (Moderate level of fitness required.)
Hills. Longer distances. (For experienced cyclists with good fitness level.)
Hilly terrain. Big daily distances. (For the serious cyclist.)
Note: At present we don’t have any tours fitting category 1 or 5.
An Ireland by Bike self-guided bike tour price includes:
– Bed and breakfast accommodation in carefully selected B&B’s and small hotels.
– Welcome meeting and bike set up on first morning
– Daily luggage transfers
– Emergency support
– Comprehensive guide booklet
– Maps and turn by turn directions
– GPS unit (Garmin Edge 200) with routes pre-programmed
– GPX files available pre-tour if you would like to use your own GPS unit
– Choose between using your own bike, or one of our high-quality hybrid or electric bikes
– Travel to and from start/finish of tour
– Meals other than breakfast
– Evening entertainment
– Admission to sites and attractions not included in the tour
No (except in a few short stretches.)
Ireland has very few dedicated cycle paths. However, this is not necessarily going to cause you problems during your bike tour. Almost all of the country is criss-crossed with a network of narrow back roads with little to no traffic. We plan our routes to follow this type of road as much as possible. On some occasions, where no alternative is available, we use routes with moderate traffic – however, even these sections are quite short.
If you would like more information about the tour before you book, then please contact us using the “Contact” tab on our website. You can also call + 353 87 2118638. We will be happy to answer any questions you have.
In the event of cancellations we will refund payments as follows:
30 days to 21 days prior to departure: 75% refund
20 days to 11 days prior to departure: 50% refund
10 days to 5 days prior to departure: 25% refund
4 days to 1 day prior to departure: 0% refund
Please see our full terms and conditions.
Yes. You should ensure that you purchase travel insurance before travelling. This should include cover for illness, accidents and repatriation.
With 10 years of experience running Irish Cycling Holidays, we have carefully chosen what we consider to be the perfect bicycles and e-bikes for touring in Ireland.
3 x 9 Speed Shimano gearing. With smooth shifting and a huge range of gears this is the perfect combination to tackle Ireland’s varying terrain.
Shimano hydraulic disc brakes. Designed for reliability and smooth operation giving the peace of mind that only comes with top of the range components.
Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres. Allowing you the freedom to explore knowing that you are riding on the world’s leading puncture resistant tyres.
We have a range of sizes so there is always one to fit you. We also have mens (with crossbar) or ladies (step-through) bikes available.
The Thompson Enigma is one of the best e-bikes currently available. This is why we have opted to use it as the perfect partner for Ireland’s undulating terrain. The Enigma features the world leading Bosch Active Plus drive system and full Shimano gearing and Hydraulic disc brakes.
Bosch Active Line plus motor. Smooth, quiet and offering 50Nm of assistance this is the world’s leading e-bike motor in its class.
Bosch 500 wh battery. No need to even think about whether your battery will last throughout the day. Rest assured it will!
Shimano Alivio 9 speed gearing.
Shimano Hydraulic Disc Brakes giving smooth reliable stopping power.
Unisex Step-through frame model for easy mounting and dismounting.
Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres. The world’s leading puncture resistant tyre.
Front suspension for for extra comfort.
Bikes are supplied with everything you will need during the day on your bike tour including:
Front waterproof handlebar bag with map holder (7 litre capacity.)
Rear waterproof pannier (20 litre capacity.) We can provide a second pannier free of charge on request.
Repair kit. Containing: Spare inner tube, puncture repair kit, tyre levers, multi-tool, pump, 15mm spanner. See more about the repair kit we provide here.
Yes. If at all possible, please bring your own helmet and high-viz vest or top. However we understand that as helmets are bulky they are sometimes difficult to pack. In this case we will supply you with one of our helmets free of charge. We will also provide high-viz vests if you do not have your own.
Yes! We will happily fit them to your bike for you. Please be sure that you bring tools to remove them at the end of your tour as we may not always meet you on your final evening or morning.