This is a pre-baby travel post.
Biking the Dingle Peninsula should be on your bucket list. Specifically, biking the Slea Head Loop. Experiencing an area by bicycle can open up new areas of exploration. Three years ago I had never even learned how to ride a bike. My mom tried to teach me as a small child and I ran over her foot and that was the end of that. I was determined to remedy this situation before we headed to Ireland.
Here is some insight and advice from a novice, slightly out of shape bicyclist who just really enjoys a good adventure.
Where to Go
All of the rental shops can provide you with maps and some advice on where to go for your fitness level. We opted for the Slea Head Loop which takes you along the coast on a main road and forms part of the Wild Atlantic Way. For a novice biker the traffic may feel a little daunting but there were plenty of other cyclists on the road which made me feel a bit more confident.
As with most of the adventures I plan for my husband this wasn’t exactly a picture perfect journey. However, it was still a blast! We set out on the Slea Head Loop a little late in the morning because of rain. We also had a looming dinner reservation and therefore limited time. I knew there was no way I would have the stamina to complete the whole loop (30 miles).
Our plan was to make it about halfway before taking a cut road back. We did technically fulfill that goal. However, I wasn’t able to do research on the cut road because it isn’t really an attraction. Before we turned on we met an older gentleman who said it was “not so bad”. Just uphill until you make it to the electric tower then enjoy the ride downhill.
That senior citizen must have been in the best shape of his life. There is definitely a downhill element to this road but that is because you are going STRAIGHT up. My husband who has been a mountain biker for years ended up having to walk both of our bikes up hill. At one point I considered laying down while he went back to our B&B to get the car. In hindsight, it might have actually been easier to go all the way around the Slea Head Loop. It certainly would have been easier to just turn around.
With all that said, this was my favorite day on Dingle! I kind of love our misadventures and all of the silly memories we make doing it.
What you’ll see
You will see beautiful views of the coast line, fields, Beehive Huts, and a famine cottage. Along the ride there are a multitude of opportunities to get off your bike and explore. Just be aware that some of the attractions (like the huts and famine cottage have an admission fee).
One of the things I like the most about hiking and biking is if you start to feel tired you can always turn around. So the distance is really up to you.
If you plan on being out all day, you want to bring ample food and water of course. However, there is also a great pub – Paídi Ó Sé’s Pub. If you are exhausted and starving or you really want a beer because you just toted two bicycles up the world’s steepest hill then this is the perfect pit stop for lunch or an early dinner! The food and service was great.
If you opt for the Slea Head cycle it is a steady uphill climb. At the time of our trip I was about 10 weeks pregnant and totally adverse to cardio (that’s always). I did opt to walk some of the uphill jaunts. For me these adventures are fun no matter how I complete them so I didn’t mind. However, I did opt to let my sister- and brother-in-law go separately so I didn’t have to embarrass myself in front of anyone other than my husband if I couldn’t hack it.
Where to Rent
There are quite a few bicycle rental shops in Dingle. We did not make a reservation before hand as the weather had been a bit iffy for our entire stay in Dingle. We decided to brave it on a misty morning and were rewarded with a perfect afternoon for biking.
Foxy John’s Pub, Hardware Store, and Bicycle Hire
Foxy John’s is where our B&B owner, Blandina from the Clonmara, recommended we rent our bikes. We rented four bikes the day off. The rental came with helmets and locks so you don’t have to travel prepared for a bike trip. Located in the heart of Dingle.
Rent a bike from Gorman’s for 10 euros a day!
Dingle Electric Bike Experience
Dingle isn’t a flat ride and electric bikes like the one at Dingle Electric Bike Experience is genius! You can also rent a regular bicycle if you are feeling up to the challenge. You can pre-book online and they will bring the bike to you. Talk about excellent service!