Fáilte Ireland has announced that it is teaming up with cycling specialists Ride Wild to launch the Wild Atlantic Way Cycle Sportif – a series of bi-annual cycling events along the coastal route which will help promote the Atlantic Way as a cycling destination.
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 initiative is aimed at increasing off-season tourism.
The route map has been developed by Ride Wild as the most suitable along the coast for cyclists but will be subject to change as the event grows.
Fáilte Ireland is 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 by 2020. It is hoped that, if the initiative becomes popular, it will become self-financing.
Minister of State for Tourism and Sports Brendan Griffin T.D. said: “The Wild Atlantic Way is ideal for initiatives like this and the additional tourism activity generated will benefit many small rural communities all along the west coast. I am particularly pleased to welcome an event which will attract visitors and increase bed-nights across the full length of the Wild Atlantic Way during off-peak times of the year.”
Research indicates that the average cycling tourist spends an average of five nights attending a sportif event. Nearly 400 official cycling sportifs take place in Ireland each year - along with many more local events - and the number of events is growing each year. In the UK alone, over two million adults cycle at least once a week and sales of high-quality road bikes have grown 24% on last year.