We decided to visit The Waterford Greenway. This is a dedicated 46km cycling & walking route between Waterford City & Dungarvan in County Waterford, Ireland. It was previously the railway line between Waterford & Dungarvan which closed in the 1980s & lay disused until the Greenway opened in 2017.
What did we want to do?
I have been looking forward to trying The Waterford Greenway since it opened in 2017. We decided to take a day trip down to the greenway with the 3 kids currently ages 4-7. We wanted to let them cycle their own bicycles & as little legs got tired we envisaged them taking a rest in the cargo bike & we could carry their bicycles in the meantime on top of the cargo bike.
Getting there with a cargo bike
We are based in Bray on the east coast of Ireland which is 175km away from The Waterford Greenway so we needed to figure out how we can get the cargo bike & people there. Ultimately the only feasible way to do this was by using two cars. One for people & the other for the bicycles. The only challenge was figuring out how we could fit the cargo bike into our car!
We are fortunate enough to have a 2008 Citroen C4 Picasso car which is a long enough car with 3 rows of seats, an atypical people carrier style vehicle. With the two rear rows folded down, the bicycle fitted in, with the wheel going in between the two front row seats of the car, but not in a way that impedes driving safely.
A little surgery was needed to allow the cargo bike fit into the car from a height perspective. I needed to remove the handlebar stem which does require the removal of several nuts along the top & bottom of the wooden cargo bike box. The task in itself is not too difficult but a bit fiddly in that you have lots of nuts, bolts & washers to take care of! It took approximately 20-30 minutes to prepare the cargo bike once we arrived at the greenway.
Cycling The Waterford Greenway
The Waterford Greenway has several locations along its route with free car parking so we decided to start at Kilmacthomas & cycle in the direction of Dungarvan. We had no specific distance in mind to travel.
Once ready to go, all of us, five in total, set off on our bicycles for a cycle. As any parent of toddlers or young children will know, a day out of this sort requires patience & herding skills! The first 2-3km seemed to take an eternity as the kids adjusted to all the distractions around them.
The surface of the greenway itself was fantastic. It was very smooth & wide enough to cater for cyclists & walkers alike. While there were gradients at points along our journey, as it was an old railway line it is not actually too hilly. We were completely segregated from motor traffic with the exception of some crossings across relatively quiet small rural roads.
We stopped off for a picnic along our journey. At that point after 5km we did not come across any picnic tables or adequate places to sit down. However as we moved onto a wider area of the greenway, there were picnic tables available, our kids were too hungry to get that far!
The Durrow Tunnel
One of the features of The Waterford Greenway is the Durrow Tunnel. This was an old railway tunnel built in the 1800s & was restored as part of the greenway project. The kids loved this part of the tunnel. Before heading into the tunnel, there are loads of fairy house doors. I am not sure of the history behind this but it looks like people are leaving momentos along this part of the greenway.
The kids then loved going into the Durrow Tunnel itself. It was discreetly lit up so you could see where you are going.
Once out the other end of the tunnel, you arrive into a luscious green scene which looks a bit like a tropical forest!
Shortly after this point we decided to make our way back after travelling 15km. We were taking our time with the kids trying their bicycles for a while then heading back into the cargo bike for a rest & a natter.
As mentioned previously, the surface of the greenway itself was very smooth. The section of the greenway we took is travelling through relatively flat landscape. There were some gradients & I had the help of the e-bike battery to get me up those hills but there were only two areas I needed that assistance for.
Before heading on this trip, earlier in the year I contacted Waterford City & County Council to ask if there were any potential obstacles in bringing a cargo bike such as our Babboe Big bike along the greenway e.g. kissing gates, narrow sections on the journey etc. I was put in touch with a very helpful official who assured me it would be fine to take the bike. Indeed that was the case. there are some kissing gates at sections where the greenway approaches roads but these were very wide & easy to navigate with our cargo bike which would be a bulky sort of cargo bike.
Carrying the Kids’ Bicycles
Apart from getting the cargo bike down to the greenway, we had to give consideration to how we transported the 3 kids’ bicycles once they decided to take their rest time in the cargo bike. Thankfully the Babboe Big cargo bike is quite a sturdy construction.
With a piece of rope, it was possible to carry the three bicycles on top of the cargo bike. Typically I got the two larger bicycles on top of the cabin roof & the smaller bicycle on the rear pannier rack. It was possible to carry two bicycles easily enough on the pannier. The greenway surface was very smooth so there was no risk of the bicycles falling off once secured down with rope or the pannier elastic strap. It looks clunky but it was fine to control the cargo bike & was completely stable.
Overall we enjoyed our day out & managed to take in a 30km round trip cycle. Personally I would love to do a trip from start to finish but with three little kids at their respective ages makes it a bit trickier at the moment to do this with the entire family.
I was glad we brought the cargo bike along as it did afford the kids the ability to cycle themselves when they were up for it & then take a rest. Logistically it was a good thing to try as it was the first time we brought the cargo bike any distance & fit it into the car! All-in-all, we had a great day out!
After a lovely day cycling, we decided to have some dinner at the cafe in the Kilmacthomas Greenway car park. You can also rent bicycles, e-bikes, bicycle trailers to carry young children along.