Family Cycling in Offaly and its surrounds


Where can you go?

There has never been a better time for families to get out, about and enjoy cycling than now. Most children learn to ride their bikes during primary school; it’s a rite of passage which opens up a sense of independence and freedom. National Bike Week takes place every year in June; and through funding from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, Offaly Sports Partnership coordinates cycle training for school children every year.

Bike Week 2016, takes place from the 11th to the 19th June; and Offaly Sports Partnership in conjunction with cycling clubs, local organisations and schools will be offering cycling events countywide. For more information on what’s available, follow Offaly Sports Partnership on Facebook or check out www.bikeweek.ie.

Once children have learned to ride their bikes, they are keen to perfect their skills; however parents may feel it is too dangerous to let them out and about on their bikes on their own. A dilemma many families face, but one which can be solved by bringing the family and their bikes to locations where cars are restricted. In Offaly and its surrounds, there are a number of venues which fit this bill...

Our first fabulous venue is Lough Boora Discovery Park. For those that have not visited Lough Boora Discovery Park, it’s well worth the trip. Offering miles of safe cycling on marked trails in a unique environment, there are three routes available: -

  1. 9.3km Mesolithic trail,
  2. 6km Farmlands trail, and
  3. 15.8km Turraun trail

Each trail explores a different habitat within the park and provides plenty of opportunities to catch a glimpse of the grey partridge, corncrake or any other number of birds, animals, flora and fauna of the park. Families can bring their own bikes, or rent them from Lough Boora Bike Rental which can be found beside the cafe in the park. Route maps and more information can be found by visiting www.loughboora.com.

The Old Rail Trail is a purpose built off-road shared pedestrian and cycleway trail, along a disused railway track from Garrycastle to Mullingar. Generally flat with a smooth surface and some gentle slopes, this trail is ideal for family groups of all ages, and all types of bikes; and is our second family friendly cycling venue. Approximately 40km in length, there are a number of access points on to the Old Rail Trail. Route maps and more information can be found by visiting
http://www.westmeathcoco.ie/en/ourservices/tourismlibraryartsrecreation/greenway/oldrailtrail-routemap/.

Our third and final cycling destination is Bike Park Ireland at Fairymount Farm, Ballingarry, Roscrea. Looking for a bit of an adrenaline rush, then Bike Park Ireland is for you! With six mountain bike trails, an uplift service on certain days, a 2km enduro climb, and the largest pump / bmx track in the country; Bike Park Ireland is suitable for those aged six years plus. Bike hire (eight years plus) and safety equipment is available on site. Route maps and more information can be found by visiting www.bikeparkireland.ie.

So why not strap on the bikes, strap in the kids, pack the helmets, etc and ride your bicycle this National Bike Week!