National Bike Week kicks off Saturday 22nd, marking a week of events and ideas to encourage you to get out there on a bike. But I have a more straight forward way to encourage you... the promise of a great feed and the assurance that you won’t need to get kitted out in lycra or need any sort of special equipment.
These routes are all very achievable, even for novice cyclists, and for the most part, are planned around the food stop offs and taking in some of the prettier parts of town rather than anything too challenging. Just grab your bike and go.
The Phoenix Park and Phoenix Cafe
Did you know we have one of the largest urban parks in Europe right here on our doorstep? The Phoenix Park, stretching 11km round on the edge of town, is a stunning parkland full of quiet corners and unexplored patches. The easiest way to get around is most definitely by bicycle. You can hire these in the park or simply get the Luas and grab a Dublin bike from Heuston Station. There are bike trails to follow where you can take in the historical sights and explore the quiet corners. When you need refuelling there are a few spots but none better than The Phoenix Café, an award-winning eco-aware café that toils away all summer long-serving everything homemade. Think organic eggs for breakfast, tasty baking and bright café classics of salads, quiches and sandwiches.
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St. Annes Park and Dollymount Strand
This whole area is a very cyclable pocket of town. It is easily accessible from the city centre or by DART (bikes are welcome on the DART Saturday and Sunday and Monday to Friday between 10:00 and 15:30). There are bike lanes galore too which makes it all a bit easier but best of all is that there’s plenty to eat.
St. Annes Park is a great spot to explore and is home to a wonderful cafe Olive’s Room. On Saturdays, the park hosts a tasty farmers market. Heading towards the seaside I’d recommend a fish feast at Fishbone. Then trundle across the delightful Bull Island wooden bridge that reaches out to Dollymount Strand and you can’t believe you're only a stone throw from the city centre. And here’s where you’ll find Happy Out, a funky shipping container serving excellent coffees, a tasty toastie menu and a few treats along with smiley, happy service. Nab a seat out the front and drink in the views, it’s Instagram heaven.
Sandymount to Sandycove
This is another route that’s easy to get to by DART. I’d usually plan to start at Sandymount somewhere and then head along the coast to finish with a Sandycove swim if weather and bravery allow for it. From one end to the other it’s simply a case of following along the coast so no navigation is really needed. If you'd like to begin with a burger, Sandymount is home to the marvellous Bujo Burger. In Blackrock village, you can grab excellent coffee in Bear Market or if the market itself is open (Saturday and Sunday) seek out Ciamei Cafe.
You could also plan pitstops in Monkstown for Avoca treats and a Poulet Bonne Femme roast chicken sandwich. Seapoint is a great swim stop off too. In Dun Laoghaire, look out for newly opened Ink cafe and the Peoples Market on a Sunday. A Teddy's ice-cream, a celebratory dip at the Forty Foot and a visit to Hatch coffee finish off an easy, food-filled cycle.
Perhaps the easiest of all is to simply plan a route up and down the Grand Canal which braces the cities Southside. It also has a host of very worthy eating and drinking stop-off points. In fact, I’ll be honest, this is more an eating plan with a bit of cycling in between.
I’d start around Rialto simply for the fact that The Bakery by The Cupcake Bloke is here. A coffee and jambon or scone is the perfect fodder for planning the rest of the stop-offs. And there are many. Clanbrassil Street for MVP and the Taco Truck (although check the times) and the divine Clanbrassil Coffee shop. Portobello Bridge is home to Grove Road, the nearby First Draft coffee and Eatyard. Just by Lesson Street bridge, you’ll find 3FE Sussex Terrace where they have espresso soft serve.
Further along, you’ll also find 3FE Grand Canal. Then you hit Grand Canal dock where there’s plenty of lunch options - Il Valentino for sandwiches, Charlotte Quay or the Marker if you want more of a sit-down lunch and Osteria Lucia for pizza. Then I’d cycle all the way back down the canal for a congratulatory beer at Rascals HQ in Inchicore.
Image via Unsplash.com
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