Getting back on my bike for an afternoon cycle

Mary Cody and Luke Mandie on their bikes for the North Kilkenny Cycle Loop
With the extended warm spell there has never been a better time to get on your bike and explore the county.

With the extended warm spell there has never been a better time to get on your bike and explore the county.

Armed with my map from Trail Kilkenny and a bottle of water I decided to try out one of the many suggested cycle routes.

The first obstacle that presented itself is the fact I no longer own a bicycle. This was easily overcome and thanks to Charlie Parsons and Jason Morrissey of Kilkenny Cycling Tours I was sorted out in no time. Bicycles are for rent daily at the Old Tea House on Bateman Quay.

There are four cycle routes around the county but with the hot sun and I decided to go for the sensible option and take the shortest route - the North Kilkenny Cycle Loop - some 27 kilometres. I headed out the Bleach Road where there was a hive of activity with people bathing and swimming in the River Nore and onto the Castlecomer Road before turning in towards Jenkinstown Woods

There were markers and plenty of them but it took a good ten kilometres to twig that we had inadvertently left the North Kilkenny Cycle Loop and wandered onto the North Kilkenny Cycle Route. This route is 82 kilometres in length and there was no realistic option but to turn at Castlecomer and go back onto our planned original route at the turn off to Dunmore. A quick detour to Dunmore Cave where a lovely member of staff refilled our water bottle and shared the history of the caves with us and we were back on track.There were a few steep hills as we meandered back into the city but it was worth it for the wonderful views.All in all a splendid afternoon but next time I will be referring a bit more to the map and less to the scenery and hopefully will manage to stay on the right path!