Dublin to Athlone cycle via Royal Canal

I intended to cycle to Galway last Thursday, the route was the canal towpaths out of town as far as Moyvalley bridge, then along the old N4 to Galway, hopefully getting as far as Ballinasloe, Oranmore or even Galway city. Instead of starting at 6am like I intended, I actually started at 8am, which really hurt on the far end. I made it as far as Athlone before I ran out of time (I was getting a lift at the far end). Realistically, I could have made it to Ballinasloe, but not Galway city itself. (Lesson: go to bed before 3am the night before.)

My Surly Crosscheck at the 12th Lock
The canal route was pleasant, and I don’t regret cycling it, but now that I’ve done it, I think I’ll stick to a road route in future – the canal section was just too slow and wasted a lot of time early in the day. If I was on my hardtail my average speed would have been a lot better on the canal section (but not on the road ) I did take quite a few photos, but had the camera in my bar bag so that didn’t slow me up much at all. Will post all 4 videos I took while moving onto YouTube, first here: Royal Canal

Flickr set with all pictures is here

Fuel strategy was good. I made an enormous pasta bake the evening before (enough for 6 people ), ate it for dinner that night, and for breakfast, lunch and dinner on the cycle. Had 1.5l of DIY sports drink (oj/water/salt/sugar), and a camelbak of plain water. Bought some sweets (see pics) towards the 100km mark when I thought it might prevent bonk, though I was still going strong – increasing speed in fact!

The route was along the towpaths from Croke Park as far as Kilcock, then after that I was on the old N4 for most of the way. I’ve thought a lot about the next route that I’ll do, Dublin-Mayo, I’ll write up a new post for that in a couple of weeks.

All videos will be here after YouTube processes them

By the numbers

Distance: 133km
Time: 7 hours 40 mins
Avg: 17.3 km/h (approximately 12-13 km/h on the canals, 21-22 on the road)
Mechanical: 1 (broken front fender after going over a branch)
KCals (according to HRM): 6557
Average HR: 126
Max HR: 163


  1. Hi,
    just read about your ride and we are doing something similar in July.
    Any chance you can give me more info about the route you took?
    Cheers, Chris

    1. Hey Chris,

      This was the route I took.

      As you can see I left the canal towpath at Kilcock, although I intended to go further originally (MoyValley). The reason for that was the slow progress I was making on the soft grass parts of the towpath. If I was doing it again I’d go with fatter mountain bike style tyres rather than the thinner touring ones I had on the bike.

      What type of bike are you using for your trip?


  2. Cheers Alastair!
    Thats awesome. Were hiring the bikes and I believe that they are hybrid style bikes (Giant’s I think) so we may try to avoid the soft grass.
    I’ll let you know how we get on.
    Cheers again for the advice.

  3. Just got back from doing the Liffey to Kellys Bridge -24k short of the Shannon- on Saturday. Its an easy enough ride but took 9 hours. Lots of gates over which bikes have to be lifted but the scenery and setting compensate. Killcock to Moyvalley is hard work but its easy after that. I could certainly have done the Liffey to the Shannon in one day (12hrs) had I started a little earlier, but my destination was allways Kellys bridge just beyond Ballynacargy. Contact me if you need details.

  4. looking to do Dublin to Galway on a Giant road Bike in May of 17. Need help with track. Yours is the best info I have seen. Any suggestions? Would like to get it done in two days max.

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