I feel its
important to show you the equipment you will be using and the vehicles
we have at our disposal to support the tour.The maintenance, upkeep
and replacement of this equipment accounts for a large proportion
of the tour cost.
Trek 4300 Disc
the most important piece of equipment is the bike you will be riding
for the duration of the tour. Its all very well rattling on about
lovely countryside and idyllic country roads, but its equally important
to have the right bike for the job. Starting with the basics you
will need a bike that is the appropriate size. To facilitate this
we have chosen a bike that comes in 7 different frame sizes.
The Trek 4300
comes in 13" 16" 18" 19.5" 21" 22.5"
and 24" frames. We keep a stock of over 40 bikes so there's
always a good selection of the various sizes to choose from. Do
not underestimate the importance of an appropriately fitted bike.
While there are various ways of adjusting handlebars and saddle
to imitate the appropriate size there is no substitute for having
the proper size and using handlebar and saddle adjustment to optimize
that perfect fit.
The bikes are
fitted with disc brakes. The disc brakes give you a positive and
consistent braking action. You will find very little variation in
breaking pressure requited to stop in wet or dry conditions.
Alivio shifters ensure first time gear selection across the entire
24 gear range. We replace the original gear and break cabling with
Jagwire stainless steel cabling to ensure perfect break and gear
operation. Much of the tour is based on the Atlantic coastline.
Its a salty environment and plays havoc with regular cabling, hence
the refitting with stainless steel cables.
The bikes are
also equipped with adjustable suspension forks. While you wont be
going off road during the tour you will appreciate the cushioning
effect the suspension forks will afford your wrists and shoulders
during the week. The handlebar stems are also adjustable, so you
can achieve an upright sitting position or a lowered position if
you wish. The bikes are refitted with Schwalbe Marathon plus puncture
proof tires which run at 90 psi. This substantially reduces rolling
resistance and virtually eliminates flats.
We stock a
large selection of saddles of various shapes and sizes. However
if you have a particular saddle that works well for you I would
suggest bringing it with you for the tour. We also have tons of
gender specific gel seat covers. Remember to bring a good quality
pair of cycling shorts.
The tours are
supported with two Ford transit mini busses. Each bus is capable
of accommodation 14 passengers and up to 20 bikes can be securely
fitted to the custom designed roof racks in a few minutes. We never
have to use the full capacity available as we limit group sizes.
However it is comforting to know if bad weather threatened to disrupt
a days cycling we can just load up the busses and head off to visit
a few castles. The countryside is dotted with some fine examples
of Norman castles and Tower houses.
in the background of the photo on the right is Ashford Castle in
Cong County Mayo. We were due to ride from Clifden to Maaum Cross
that morning. Unfortunately it was a particularly windy morning
so the group elected to visit this fine castle that morning. After
a 40 minute sightseeing ride in the busses we had lunch in the castle
and then proceeded to cycle a good 25 miles that afternoon when
calmer conditions prevailed. We rarely loose even half a day to
bad weather but its nice to know we have sufficient capacity to
transport the entire group if necessary. We also have a luggage
trailer with lots of capacity, so bring the kitchen sink if you
think you may need it.
the group with a motorcycle allows us to have lots of contact with
everyone, even though the group spreads throughout the day. This
is particularly reassuring on the first day of the tour, as you
are coming to terms with cycling in a different country, and getting
accustomed to looking for the arrows painted at the junctions to
We've tried supporting
the group with a guide on a bicycle (as all guided tours do) and
found we just couldn't provide a similar level of contact for everyone
in the group.
The chap could ride
a century in just over 5 hours, and would cycle back and forth all
day, he was still unable to achieve quarter of the contact with
all of the participants as we now can with the motorcycle. You are
also provided with a cell phone which allows you to contact the
guides at any time.