Irish Cycling Safaris with Johnny Daly
At first I doubted that my body could do a second bike tour, cold and wet while fighting strong winds and pedaling downhill. When I saw the itinerary—fifteen miles from Glencolumbkille to Maghera Beach, passing through Glengesh Pass—I was prepared to accept the helpful van rides along the bike route. But it was probably our guide Johnny Daly's infectious laugh that brought the sun out the morning of our first meeting in Glencolumbkille. For the first time during my week-long trip to Ireland, I thought that the sun would stay out, and it actually did!
From Millstone B&B [see separate accommodation entry], I biked on concrete and dirt tracks, passed by flocks of sheep, and had an amazing view of open bog, dotted only by a handful of small houses and miles and miles of dry stone walls. At times, I stopped to take photographs or to stay out of the way of some of the most aggressive sheep I've ever encountered. (I still laugh every time I think about how they tried to scare me off track!) Only once did I have to walk my bike, and that was uphill near Maghera Beach.
We walked the rest of the way to the dunes and the caves of Maghera. The slabs of quartzite rocks were spectacular—a testament to the power of erosion—and the water was calm enough to let us walk on rippled sand.
Irish Cycling Safaris is unlike any other bike tour because you're not forced to bike with a group. I was handed a map with directions to follow, and I was free to bike on my own and at my pace. It was during this bike tour that I was able to experience quiet time, allowing myself to appreciate and take in Ireland the way I never expected after the first few days of mist and rain.