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Causeway Coast Self-Guided

Causeway Coast Self-Guided

Ireland Flag Ireland

Starting in Antrim and finishing in Belfast this itinerary explores the ancient kingdom of Dalriada that occupies the north east corner of the island of Ireland. Regions explored include Lough Neagh, the Bann Valley, the Causeway Coast, the Antrim Plateau, the Glens of Antrim and the Antrim Coast Road.

From Antrim the first ride takes you west to the Bann Valley and then follows the river north to meet the Atlantic Ocean at Coleraine. From Coleraine you follow the Causeway Coast east to Bushmills. Continuing east, the next leg leads to Ballycastle for a two night stopover. The loop route from here offers a choice of a trip to Rathlin Island or a testing circuit via Torr Head. From Ballycastle you ride over the Antrim plateau and down one of the Glens of Antrim to meet the coast at Cushendall. The last leg follows the Antrim Coast Road south before returning to the capital city of Belfast.

This ride is suitable for cyclists of all abilities.

Highlights

  • The historic, bustling, endlessly fascinating city of Belfast

  • The views over Lough Foyle from the Binevenagh Plateau

  • The enigmatic Giant’s Causeway – a World Heritage Site

  • Bushmills Distillery – the oldest licensed distillery in the world

  • Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge (for an optional test of nerve)

  • Dunluce Castle and its dramatic cliff top location

  • The roller coaster road by Torr Head

  • The village of Cushendun, designed by William Clough Ellis

  • The stunning Causeway Coastal Road and its villages

  • Many spectacular filming locations for the TV series Game of Thrones

Day 1

Arrive in Belfast or Antrim as preferred or with what fits best with your inward travel plans. Full tour briefing and bike fitting will take place that evening or early next morning at a pre-arranged time. If you decide to stay in Belfast you have the option to add a day either at the start or the end of your tour to see some of Belfast's famous attractions.

2

Antrim to Portglenone (Core Route 42 miles Ascent 1259 feet) Today is rural cycling taking in the distinctive and charming Northern Irish countryside along quiet country roads as you meander alongside the British Isles biggest inland Lough (lake) and through the River Bann valley towards your next stop at Aghadowey. On the way you pass the through typical Irish towns of Antrim, Toome and and Portglenone. The full route is a comfortable 43 miles long but if that is a bit challenging on your first day we have shorter options available.

Antrim Aghadowey Elv

3

Aghadowey to Bushmills (Core Route 36 miles Ascent 1134 feet) From your rural overnight accommodation, you continue to the county town of Coleraine before heading West towards Mussenden Demesne and the Bishops palace catching your first sight of the worldt famous Causeway Coast which won’t be far from you until you return to Belfast at the end of your trip. Here we offer a loop extension to your core route over the very scenic Binevenagh Plateau. You return to Coleraine and follow the route East through the coastal resort towns of Portstewart and Portrush passing by the world class Royal Portrush Golf Links and the historical cliff clinging Dunluce Castle and into Bushmills where you stay overnight

Aghadowey Bushmills elv

4

Bushmills to Bushmills (Loop ride 30 miles Ascent 979 feet) A rest day, if you like, as there is a lot to see in Bushmills. The Giants Causeway and the Bushmills distillery are the highlights But we recommend the Coastal walk from the Giants Causeway which is a great walk with spectacular views. If the bike calls, we have a rural cycling route nearby the River Bush which takes in the unique Dark Hedges made famous by the TV series “Game of Thrones” We find that about 50% of our cyclists are big fans and if you are there are several other famous G.O.T iconic places on this tour which we pass. If you are not they are all in beautiful locations.

Bushmills loop elv

5

Bushmills to Ballycastle (Core Route 15 miles Ascent 1032 feet) Short core ride along the Causeway Coastal Route but lots to see. Some people do the short route and spend time at the the attractions, namely Carrickt at Rede Rope bridge, Ballintoy Harbour and Kilbane Castle. Some people leave early visit the attractions and arrive in Ballycastle early where they either decide to visit Rathlin island (famous for its Puffin colony) or just chill out in Ballycastle. Some people when they get to Ballycastle decide to go on and do the spectacular but challenging, in parts, Torr Head loop.

Bushmiklls ballycastle elv

6

Ballycastle to Cushendall (Core Route 36 miles Ascent 2390 feet) Today’s core route takes you through the heart of the Antrim Glens, experiencing an everchanging vista that at times leaves you feeling alone and as one with nature. Even the sheep seem surprised to see you as they wonder freely on what they clearly see as their roads The route takes you back by the Glenarriff Forest park where you can take a break and do one of their marked walks. Options abound today as you can alternatively choose to decend back to the coast through Glenann or Glendun and go to your destination Cushendall via Cushendun.

Ballycastle Cushendall Elv

7

Cushendall to Belfast (Core Route 50 miles Ascent 1796 feet) You can cycle all the way to Belfast on the core Route which follows the Coastal route to Larne and then via Carrickfergus and Whiteabbey to your last night’s accommodation. Some people jump on a train with their bikes at Larne or Carrickfergus in order to arrive a bit earlier. Scenic villages, a great juxtaposition of sea and coast, and some interesting Castles all add up to make this a memorable last day. There is a very spectacular Cliffside guided walk recently reopened at the Gobbins on Islandmagee. This needs to be booked well in advance so if this of interest let us know at your booking stage.

Cushendall to Belfast elv

8

Enjoy your last evening in the city of Belfast, and enjoy breakfast before heading on home. Additional night(s) can be arranged in Belfast if you would like.

Route Map

Accommodation

The standard accommodations for this region's self-guided itineraries are guesthouses and bed and breakfasts (B&Bs). Generally, these have between 4 and 10 guest rooms and the owners/providers live on the premises. In almost all cases the bathroom facilities are ensuite (self-contained within the room), and the room facilities usually include a television and tea/coffee making facilities. There is a communal reading / television lounge. Small family run hotels are also used in a few locations. The providers are excellent sources of local information.

Breakfast is always included. Most guesthouses do not offer an evening meal.

When you book a tour, your pre-trip planner will have more details about the specific facilities and services provided by the accommodations.

Examples of our guesthouses in this region include;


Getting there

From Belfast International Airport, Ulsterbus operates a frequent service to Belfast Europa Bus Station (45 minutes). A taxi is the other (less economical) alternative. This larger airport is where most international flights arrive.

From Belfast City Airport, Ulsterbus operates a frequent service to Belfast Europa Bus Station (15 minutes). Again, a very short taxi ride is the alternative. This airport, very close to the city centre, typically serves domestic flights, although an increasing number of European routes are being added.

From Dublin Airport, both Bus Eireann and Aircoach operate a frequent service to Belfast Europa Bus Station. Alternatively take a Dublin Bus Airlink Service to Dublin Connolly Station and a NIR or Irish Rail Enterprise train service to Belfast Central Station.


Climate

Ireland's climate is surprisingly mild given its northern location. This is mainly due to the warming effects of the Gulf Stream which brings warm waters up to Western Europe from the more tropical Atlantic zones.

Temperamental is a fitting description of Ireland's weather. It can be very unpredictable! The old adage that it is possible to experience four seasons in one day is close to the truth. During the summertime, the warmest months tend to be July and August, when average temperatures during the day can range from 15ºC to 20ºC. A hot day in summertime could produce temperatures of 22ºC to 24ºC and on rare occasions can exceed 30ºC.

The best time to travel to Ireland for an outdoor trip such as a bicycle tour is from the beginning of May to the end of September. April and October are also possible, but the chances of encountering inclement weather increase. Towards the end of October the days are significantly shorter.

Traditionally May can provide some of the best weather days of the season. The last two weeks in June have the longest days of the year.

July and August are peak travel season for Ireland. The first weekend in August (a public holiday weekend) is the busiest of the season. School holidays are from the end of June until the end of August.

The latter half of September sees the change to autumn colours.

Core Tour Cost £675
Hybrid Bicycle Rental £125
Touring Bicycle Rental £135
Road Bicycle Rental £175
E-Bicycle Rental £205
Luggage Transfers £220
Single Room Supplement £210


£675 per person sharing, to include;

  • 7 nights' accommodation with breakfast
  • Pre-Trip Information Booklet and Planner
  • On call telephone support
  • All mapping, routes and cue sheets with gpx tracks
  • Meet, greet and bike fitting


Luggage transfer charges are calculated as follows:

The standard charge is based on one or two riders. A couple would therefore share the luggage transfer costs. There is then a small additional fee for the third and each additional person.
For example:

  • Total cost for one or two riders = £220 (£110 per person based on two people sharing)
  • Total cost for three riders = £220 + 20= £240 (£80 per person)
  • Total cost for four riders = £220 + 20 + 20 = £260 (£65 per person)

Note that the more riders in the group, the less expensive are the luggage transfers per rider

Please note that whilst we will try our best to provide you with the exact bike as listed below, due to availability or sizing issues we may not always be able to. The bike you will receive will be of a very similar spec and always in very good condition.

Trek FX hybrid

  • 5 frame sizes
  • FX Alpha Gold Aluminium
  • FX Alloy fork
  • 27 speed

Bring your own saddle and/or pedals if you wish and we will fit them to the bike. (You must be able to remove them yourself at the end of your trip).

Fitted with: Rear rack; platform pedals, bottle cage, fenders (mudguards)

Equipment provided: Handlebar bag; map case; spare tube; puncture repair kit; lock; mini pump; multitool.

Available on request: Panniers, helmet, odomoter, gps unit

Ridgeback Panorama Touring Bike

  • Full shimano drive
  • Disc brakes
  • Full length mudguards
  • 27 Speed.

Bring your own saddle and/or pedals if you wish and we will fit them to the bike. (You must be able to remove them yourself at the end of your trip)

Fitted with: Rear rack; platform pedals, bottle cage, fenders (mudguards)

Equipment provided: Handlebar bag; map case; spare tube; puncture repair kit; lock; mini pump; multitool.

Available on request: Panniers, helmet, odomoter, gps unit

Fuji Sportif Road Bike

  • A2-SL double-butted alloy frame
  • Shimano Sora 2x9 components
  • Vittoria Zaffiro 700x30c tires

Bring your own saddle and/or pedals if you wish and we will fit them to the bike. (You must be able to remove them yourself at the end of your trip)

Fitted with: Platform pedals, bottle cage,

Equipment provided: map case; spare tube; puncture repair kit; lock; mini pump; multitool, frame bag

Available on request: Panniers, helmet, odomoter, gps unit

Fuji E-Traverse E-Bike

  • Suntour NEX disc fork
  • Bafang H400 rear hub motor
  • Bafang 5 mode LED display w/walk assist
  • Shimano Gearing

Bring your own saddle and/or pedals if you wish and we will fit them to the bike. (You must be able to remove them yourself at the end of your trip).

Fitted with: Rear rack; platform pedals, bottle cage, fenders (mudguards)

Equipment provided: Handlebar bag; map case; spare tube; puncture repair kit; lock; mini pump; multitool.

Available on request: Panniers, helmet, odomoter, gps unit

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