It's a long way to Tipperary, as the song says... and it's even further to Ireland's magnificent Atlantic coast, especially if you're lugging a bike case. But for UK cyclists hopping across the Irish Sea to ride the Wild Atlantic Etape, help is at hand. Ride Wild, specialists in Irish cycle touring, are offering UK cyclists free bike transfers when they sign up for the four or eight day tours.
The offer is open to clubs, corporate groups or charity bookings of at least 20 riders, and promises to take the hassle out of travelling over to one of Ireland's most spectacular cycling events.
Somewhere between a sportive and a cycling holiday, the Wild Atlantic Etape is a fully supported tour of Ireland's magnificent and rugged southwest coast. It's split into two mini-tours, South and West, each around 300 miles in length. The two tours run back to back, allowing riders to choose to tackle one section over four days, or both over eight days.
Wild Atlantic Etape South starts in Kinsale, Cork and traces 461km of jagged coastline to Caherciveen, with overnight stops at Skibbereen, Bantry and Kenmare.
Wild Atlantic Etape West picks up the baton in Caherciveen and meanders 492km north to Galway, via sleepovers in Ballyferriter, Kilrush and Ennistymon. A highlight of stage 2 is Conor Pass on the Dingle Peninsula - one of Ireland's best-known cycling climbs, with spectacular views the reward for 6.5km of climbing at 6% average gradient.
The organisers have put their local knowledge to use in selecting some of the most welcoming cafes, pubs and hotels along the way. Think creamy pints of Guinness, the freshest seafood, traditional Irish music sessions - it's all on the itinerary, ensuring an unforgettable experience both on and off the bike.
Both tours are held once a month from May to September, with prices starting at €975 (£825) per four-day tour. Your entry fee includes five nights' accommodation (inclusive of breakfast and dinner on four days) along with roadside refreshments, ride captains, mechanical support, luggage transfer, an event jersey and even a kit laundry service - something you may be glad of by day three!
Trek bikes are available for hire (€40 per day) - but with Ride Wild's free bike transfer offer, there's no reason not to bring your own. Book on or before 31 January 2020 and the team at Ride Wild will collect and return bikes to anywhere in the UK, using their custom-built transporter with capacity for 180 individually wall-mounted bikes.
The next Wild Atlantic Etape runs from 16-23 May 2020. For more details and to book, visit wildatlanticetape.ie.