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Inish Times Feature April 23rd 2013

CYCLE YOUR WAY ROUND INISHOWEN

Cycle Inishowen opened for business this month offering a range of cycling services; from cycling holidays and bike hire to family fun rides and basic maintenance classes.

The starting point for Cycle Inishowen is a love of cycling and the largely untapped potential for cycling in the peninsula. The idea was born in the summer of 2011 when company founders Blaise Harvey and Michael Ogden were on their own bike tour of Ireland passing through Inishowen and Carndonagh, where Blaise is from. ‘I have cycled all over the world but was immediately taken with the area. It really does have everything you are looking for as a cyclist; a good mix of terrain, quiet back roads and most importantly the incredible backdrop. Our aim is to facilitate people getting out on the road on their bikes and enjoying all that Inishowen has to offer (Michael)’.  The area is already very popular with cycling clubs and

Malin Head is frequented by those cycling the whole length of the country. ‘We aren’t interested in the competitive side of cycling but rather advocate the bike as a way of getting around what is quite a small peninsula. It sounds a bit clichéd but there are a lot of things that you just don’t see from your car. I took a ride past Lagg and up Knockameny Bens the other day and it was like a new road to me even though I have driven it countless times’(Blaise). The saddle is the best seat in the house and gives you a great chance of creeping up on the wonderful wildlife that Inishowen has in abundance.

Cycle Inishowen offer fully inclusive cycling holidays with planned daily routes, hotel accommodation and meals, luggage transfer and much more besides. All you have to do is get here and complimentary transfer to and from Derry is included. Bookings have already been taken for the coming summer which is great for Inishowen as it is bringing in new visitors to the area who will be using local hotels and amenities. For those already in Inishowen Bike Hire is available at weekly, daily, half daily and hourly rates. We also provide helmets, cycling jackets, maps and everything else you need to get on the road included in the price of hire. This would be a great activity if you have guests visiting or if you are just looking for something to do with the family one day. Cycle Inishowen have discounts for groups of four or more and special family rates. They have equipment for all ages of children and delivery and collection of the bikes anywhere in the peninsula is included.

Blaise and Michael are also qualified to act as guides and can organise a day of cycling for groups large or small, and all ages. These tours can be tailored to specific interests such as nature trails or history and can include stops for lunch and sightseeing, and can be of any distance or duration. This would be a great activity for a club or organisation, group of friends or an office day out.

Cycle Inishowen would also like to help local residents get out on the road. If you have a bike that you never use because you’re not sure where to go, aren’t confident to use the roads or can’t get it working then Cycle Inishowen can offer advice on routes and road safety and Michael is a qualified mechanic who can examine your machine for roadworthiness, and make appropriate repairs. ‘While we are a commercial entity we also want to give back to the community here in Inishowen. We are running basic bike care and maintenance classes as part of Feel Good Fortnight which we hope to continue afterwards. We are also campaigning for an off road cycle route from Buncrana to Fahan which will be of benefit to all cyclists’(Michael).