A SERIES of bi-annual cycling events along the coastal route from Kinsale to Donegal which will promote the Wild Atlantic Way as a cycling destination internationally and domestically has been launched.Â
Announcing the Wild Atlantic Way Cycle Sportif, Failte Ireland said it would also attract visitors across the full length of the route during off-season months.Â
They are planning to invest â¬650,000 in the initiative between now and 2020, with the ambition to grow the average number of cyclists per day from 400 in 2018 to 1,000 per day in 2020. It is hoped that, if the initiative becomes popular, it will become self-financing.
An inaugural ride will take place along the route this September 13th to 29th. Stage 1 covers Â 144km from Kinsale to Skibbereen via the Â Old Head, Courtmacsherry, Glandore, Union Hall, Baltimore; Â Stage 2, 124km Skibbereen to Bantry, via Schull, Mizen Head, Durrus, Sheeps Head; Stage 3, 127km Bantry to Kenmare, via Glengarriff, Ring Of Beara and then it's on to Kenmare. Participants in September's Sportif will have the option of covering the full distance (over 2,000 km) over a set number of days, completing a stage of the Sportif over a multi-day section of the route or joining the event for a single day. A further two events per year will take place from 2018 to 2020
FÃ¡ilte Ireland CEO Paul Kelly emphasised that cycling has great potential for tourism locally. âResearch indicates that the average cycling tourist spends an average of five nights attending a sportif event. 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. 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.' Mr Kelly added:âWe have our own natural cycling route along the Wild Atlantic Way and I would imagine every cycling enthusiast would love to hop on a bike and enjoy the unique landscapes. If we get this right, the Wild Atlantic Way Cycle Sportif will become a must-do item for international and domestic cyclists.' See www.wildatlanticwaycyclesportif.ie for more.Â