2500 kilometers, 16,000 meters of elevation gain, 9 counties crossed, 18 days in the saddle, 13 nights in tents, 30 hard-boiled eggs, 7 full Irish Breakfasts, 2 Irish Coffees, maximum temperature 32° (climbing Conor Pass), minimum temperature 2° (sleeping in Donegal), 9 consecutive sunny days, 5 days with rain, 0 punctures, endless sheep.
These are the numbers of Pietro Franzese’s latest solo trip to Ireland.
An amazing journey, which took him pedaling along the Wild Atlantic Way and the Giant Causeway Costal Route motivated by the desire to promote the use of bicycles as a sustainable means of tourism, raising awareness of an area that is really standing out for its way of doing tourism, also based very much on the prominent role of local communities and their interest in preserving the land.
Starting from the seaside village of Kinsale, he then headed south until he reached Muff, a stone’s throw from the border with Northern Ireland. After a short exploratory break he then climbed back into the saddle following the stretch of coastline between Derry˜Londonderry and Belfast.
A truly challenging route overall, however, which provided pleasant surprises including particularly favorable weather that allowed him to ride longer stretches daily than planned.
“For one like me who lived in Ireland 10 years ago returning to this country was a great thrill but I’ve never expected to fill my eyes with the beauty I experienced every day on this island. And I am not just talking about the beauty of the scenery that would deserve a dedication of its own but I am also talking about meeting so many people on the road, in the pubs or even simply in the supermarkets that made me feel welcomed and less alone, even though for a month my only traveling companion was my bicycle.
It was a constant exchange of smiles, greetings and even questions about where I was going and what I was doing. Their happiness to see someone on a bicycle who was exploring their country was something unique and was always followed by advice on where to go next or stop and take a look! I loved the Irish people, they’ve helped me on this long solo trip. This is perhaps the best thing I take home from this wonderful experience and one that I recommend everyone to do once in a lifetime!
Certainly the Irish West Coast is not an “easy” trip because the weather is unpredictable and there is also so much elevation gain to be made, the word “flat” does not exist in Ireland. Yet if you are thinking about your first bike trip where you can maybe challenge yourself a bit more, for me it is the best choice and I can only recommend it!”
Follow Pietro route: https://www.komoot.com/it-it/collection/2430501/-wild-atlantic-way