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Five Countries Cycle

posted 30 Jul 2018, 02:57 by Kevin Monaghan
(By Pearse Murphy - Sun. 29th July 2018)   
Over the last few months a group of local cycling friends have been busy training for a novel trip which they organised themselves to celebrate the good summer weather of 2018. The following is a short blog by Lakeside Wheelers member, Pearse Murphy who was one of the pivotal organisers of the trip. It sounds like a fabulous few days on the bike and congratulations to all who participated. 

Day 1 
Seven enthusiastic cyclists set off for Belfast Port from a murky Delvin at 6am along the N52. Unfortunately the murk lasted all the way to Belfast. All went well until we hit the A1 between Newry and Lisburn where road conditions in the hard shoulder were atrocious throwing up five punctures. However, the group worked well together and we made our target of 2pm for the ferry to Scotland with 170kms cycled and 600 metres climbing under our belts. In Stranraer, after a bite to eat and a freshen up, we met the lovely Catherine Meehan (from Mullingar) her husband Ian and their family for tea and cakes in their home.

Day 2 
The group set out at 9am for Carlisle. We cycled through the beautiful Galloway Hills with a tea stop at Clatteringshaws Visitors Centre and lunch in the scenic town of Dumfries. From there we travelled lovely quiet country roads to Carlisle arriving at 6pm and our second overnight after a day where we clocked up 178kms with 1400 metres climbing.

Day 3
The group set out at 9am for Wigan via the scenic Lake District. Here we met the infamous Kirkstone Pass well known locally to cyclists as “The Struggle”. In the 2016 Tour of Britain the great Bradley Wiggins dismounted his bike and ran a short section of it. Some parts near the top have over 20% gradients.  The reward, from the top, is a beautiful vista over Lake Windermere with an 8 km decent to the idyllic town of Windermere. From there we skirted towns like Lancaster and Preston to bring us to our overnight in Wigan at 7pm. 182kms cycled with 2100 metres climbing.

Day 4 
The group set out at 9am for Holyhead via Chester. We enjoyed a tea shop outside Chester and lunched in the scenic village of Rhuddlan in North Wales. The next part of the cycle took us through the picturesque Conwy Marina village and onto the eccentric cycle path to Bangor. This cycle path involved seashore, skyways over motorway, standard roads and greenway over hills. The group arrived in the Valley at 10pm with a welcome bite to eat and a few “cups of tea”. 198kms cycled with 2300 metres climbing.

Day 5
This was a relaxing day on the bike starting from the Phoenix Park at 2pm with a coffee break in Kilcock after travelling some nice back roads which skirted Lucan, Leixlip and Maynooth with the trip ending in Kinnegad after  63kms with 300 metres climbing. So, overall this was a great experience which saw the group cycle 791kms over the five days. Well done to all and maybe 2019 will see us travelling together again.

Pearse Murphy, Gerry Heery, Declan Smith, Pairic Moore, Tom Judge, Eugene Coyle and Dominick Brannock after completing their Five Countries Challenge.
Pearse Murphy, Gerry Heery, Declan Smith, Pairic Moore, Tom Judge, Eugene Coyle and Dominick Brannock after completing their Five Countries Challenge.