Burren Way Guided Mountain Bike,Ireland – August 2018
Many members who joined Scotland’s Hebrides Mountain Bike trip in 2014 have been asking if we can go back to ride in another wilder part of the region. My son suggested that we look into biking in Ireland. After searching around the internet, I found this company, Aran Islands Bike Tours, owned and operate by a husband and wife team, Patrick & Kelly O’Regan.
After discussing with them and explained what kind of things the Big Foot Tour members like, we decided to book a private group of 12 for the Galway Bay Explorer Mountain Bike Tour (6 Day/5 Night) https://aranislandsbiketours.com/portfolio/galwaybayexplorer/
During my earlier road trip around the western coast of Norway, we rented Electric-assisted Mountain Bikes (eMTB) for a day’s ride and had lots of fun going up and down the mountains. So we asked Kelly if she can arrange for some eMTB to rent for our Ireland trip. It turned out that she was able to find three of them. So three members of the group were zipping up the mountains on eMTB while the rest of the gang labored up after them.
By the end of the trip, Patrick said that he thinks that if he can provide eMTB for rent, he would be able to cater the trip to a wider audience since some of trails we rode on needs a fairly high level of fitness. He said that next time he buys new bikes, he will add some eMTB as well. So if you should join this tour, ask them for eMTB option. They may have it available by that time..
In regards to the tour, the arrangement was as good as advertised. Transportation and hotels and food were fine with no major complaint.
The routes were a mixed of very quiet roads (although there were very few marked bike lanes), off roads rolling hills, and some very technical rocky ascends and descends. You should have fairly decent mountain biking experience to truly enjoy this trip.
There were no extreme rides but some routes did require some walking the bikes just to be on the safe side as we were in remote areas where help would take time.
One of the highlight rides on the mainland is the Derroura Mountain Bike Trail Network near Galway ( http://www.oughterardtourism.com/outdoorscyclingderroura.htm ).. The trails are pure off roads and the views from the top was truly spectacular. We were blessed with clear cool weather on that day as well.
We also crossed over the Aran Island ( http://www.aranislands.ie/ ) on the ferries and it was really beautiful, quiet, and still very wild.
One can never visit Ireland without mentioning the weather. Ireland is known to be one of the greenest countries in the world as the result of frequent rains. Being in the north Atlantic, Ireland west coasts get have constantly changing weather from the ocean wind.
Big Foot Tour is known among the members to also “provides near perfect weather” for most of our trips. This Ireland trip did not start out too promising as the first day’s ride was rather wet and cold.
However, as the trip progressed the weather improved day by day and by the third day, we had sunny and cool weather pretty much all day, especially while we were on Aran Island. But two days after we finished the tour and left Ireland, a huge storm hit the area we were just in. Electricity was cut off and the ferry services to and from the islands had to cease operations for about 3 days !!! We were really lucky.
Anyone wanting to experience the wild and beautiful west coast of Ireland should seriously look into this trip.
My Big Foot Tour Grade A-