Minister Michael Ring officially launched the Westportif cycle, at Monaghan’s Skoda Castlebar, Co . Mayo. The West of Ireland’s most spectacular leisure cycle takes place on Saturday 18th July 2015 and is part of the ŠKODA Cycle Series in association with Independent News & Media. Nicknamed “Ring of the Reek” the Westportif routes circumnavigate Croagh Patrick, which is known locally as “The Reek”. Two distances are on offer – 80km to suit novices and 160km for more seasoned cyclists.
Speaking at the launch, Mr Michael Ring TD, Minister for Tourism and Sport, welcomed the event saying, “I wish to compliment both the Western Lakes CC and the Westport Covey Wheelers on organising the Westportif cycle which will be held in July. This event has proved extremely popular over the last number of years and I have no doubt it will be a tremendous success again this year. Westport is the ideal location for an event such as this I am sure that it will be hugely enjoyable for everybody who attends and participates in the event”.
This is the third year of the hugely successful Westportif which attracted over 800 cyclists last year and is confidently expected to top the 1,200 mark this year. Race Director Padraig Marry on behalf of Western Lakes CC and Westport Covey Wheelers sees huge growth potential for the event, saying, “From the very first year Westportif proved to have a winning formula of a perfect town base and an incredible selection of superb cycling routes for different levels. Entries are increasing each year, with enquiries pouring in from all over Ireland and further afield. The level of support from organisations in the town has been exceptional.” The charity partners are Mayo-Roscommon Hospice and the media partners are The Mayo News.
Festival of Cycling
The Westportif starts and finishes in the lovely heritage town of Westport, an ideal location for visiting cyclists with ample accommodation and support facilities. The event is just part of a weekend cycling festival which includes a family-friendly Bike Buffet on Friday, the ultra exciting Criterium Race around the closed streets of Westport Town Centre on Saturday evening, and a novel Garden Cycle on Sunday. Hundreds of tourists from around Ireland and the UK are expected to flock into the popular town for the family cycling festival.
Choice of Spectacular Routes
The shorter 80km route is reasonably flat and is very suitable for novice and family cyclists. It hugs the scenic Clew Bay coastline to Louisburgh and continues straight on to Killeen village. With views of Clare and Inishturk Islands and the famous beaches of Silver and White Strands this is panoramic cycling at its best. Cyclists then turn inland through spectacular Doo Lough Valley to Delphi and the lovely Aashleigh Falls. The return to Westport is via the Erriff Valley on the main road.
The 160km cyclists will begin with the others, but turn right at Aashleigh towards Leenane village, along Killary Fjord then inland through the Inagh Valley to Recess and Maam Cross before heading back to Westport via Lough Mask and Tourmakeady. Just as the final 30km begins, Lally’s Mountain provides a testing sting in the tail. This is a much hillier route with 6 categorised climbs. It is also a magnificently scenic route which is particularly attractive to cyclists from abroad. Both routes are fully supported with water and food stops along the way.
The Westportif is welcomed by the Destination Westport hotel marketing group who are expecting a bumper weekend with packed hotels. It is supported by Westport Smarter Travel who organise the novel Bike Buffet and Garden Cycle. Dermott Langan said “Westportif is a great fit for Brand Westport, with our cycling routes, attractive greenways, spectacular scenery and a bank of quality accommodation.
Westport Smarter Travel and Mayo County Council are delighted to be associated with an event of such national and international appeal.”
For further information on this outstanding leisure cycle see the webpage www.westportif.ie or find Westportif on Facebook. Entries are through Fit Magazine, www.fitmagazine.ie.