IrishCycle.com was able to cycle the newly opened Castlebar to Turlough greenway over the weekend — which is not currently linked to the Great Western Greeenway but is for some reason already counted as part of that route.
One of the most notable features on the new route is a mini version of a similar but much larger fun steep slope feature on the Great Western Greenway proper at Mulranny.
In the case of Castlebar to Turlough, there’s is a warning sign which makes the potential danger clear — although, on the way up, the sign pictured above is small and only visible on the hairpin turn where the slope starts.
We have some understanding that these routes are constructed on a shoestring budget and with restrictive permission access arrangements which require landowner agreement. But advance warning signs don’t cost the world… and if these inclines are required the gradients could be better.
If the slope is 15% of the incline overall, the worst section at the start of the slope which is pictured in the foreground above, is far greater than 15%. Warning signs should warn of the worst slope, as well as the overall incline.
Climbing this is maybe easy on a racer, but not so when you have a child on a seat on the back. Trailers are likely the same, while cargo bicycles would struggle even more. Dismounting and wheeling the bike with a child on board is no walk in the park. Forget about most people cycling it using trailers or cargo bicycles. Wheelchairs and mobility devices will likely have access-barring or access-limiting issues also.
If you get to the top it gets worse. At this point our chain was off and we were lugging a bicycle with a four-year-old on a rear seat — the path does not even level out fully before coming to this swing gate which you have to pull in while holding a bicycle.
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The issue with a trailer here would be as bad or worse, and with a cargo bicycle there’s little way you could safely hold the bike and open the gate. How a wheelchair user is supposed to operate this is beyond us.
This is the view from the roadside — if the route is busy on a sunny summer’s day and people enter the area behind the gate things would get even more messy for those making the climb up to the gate.
Note how the incline does not level off before the corner — we felt drag right up to the gate. Most of the others using the route while we held the gate and fixed our chain were walking with their bicycles.
Location: Leckneen, Co. Mayo
Local body/authority: Mayo County Council
Street View: Current view shows before greenway
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