Fáilte Ireland has announced that it is teaming up with cycling specialists Ride Wild (www.ridewild.ie ) to launch the Wild Atlantic Way Cycle Sportif.
This will be a series of bi-annual cycling events along the coastal route (from Kinsale in West Cork to Muff in Donegal) which will promote the Wild Atlantic Way as a cycling destination internationally and domestically as well as attract visitors across the full length of the route during off-season months.
An inaugural ride will take place along the route this September and a further two events per year will take place from 2018 to 2020. The Wild Atlantic Way Cycle Sportif route map is attached and can also be viewed in Note to Editor. The route map has been developed by Ride Wild but will be subject to change as the event grows.
Fáilte Ireland are planning to invest €650,000 in the initiative between now and 2020, with the ambition to grow the average number of cyclists per day from 400 in 2018 to 1,000 per day in 2020. It is hoped that, if the initiative becomes popular, it will become self-financing.
Fáilte Ireland CEO Paul Kelly said: “If we can meet our visitor targets, we estimate that the Cycle Sportif could generate over €13m and up to 50,000 bed nights. Importantly, we will also be generating significant visitor activity in off-season months which will help businesses stay open longer. This is a real bonus for areas that are outside the traditional tourist hot spots.”
Participants in the Sportif will have the option of covering the full distance (over 2,000 km) over a set number of days, completing a stage of the Sportif over a multi-day section of the route or joining the event for a single day.
Organisers Ride Wild will provide all logistics for participating cyclists and entry to the multi-day events will include accommodation, meals, official cycling kit including cycling jersey and shower jacket, kit laundry service, and bag transfers as well as paramedic and mechanical support during the cycle. The costs for these services will be included in cyclists’ registration fee.
The Wild Atlantic Way Cycle Sportif will take place bi-annually every April and September from 2018 to 2020. However, this September 13-29th, Ride Wild are organising a pilot event and all interested cyclists and clubs are invited to saddle up and be the first to embark on what will soon be Europe’s signature cycling event.