The Route

Join us for The Grass Routes Gran Fondo on the 19th of September 2021

Boreen roads

The vast majority of this cycle takes place on boreen/rural roads. Most of these have a pretty good surface but can be in poor repair. As a rule of thumb if we’ve rated it as a “Sector” your in for a bumpy ride.

Boreen or bohereen (Irish: bóithrín, meaning “a little road”, pronounced [bɔːr’hiːn, bɔːh’ri:n, bɔː’ri:n]) is a country lane, or narrow, frequently unpaved, rural road in Ireland


Our beloved sectors (19 in total), these range from particularly scenic stretches of grass routes to the more thrilling limestone, concrete, gravel and dirt (new for 2021). The distance is typically 1 – 2 kilometers.

Our most famous in the “famine road” or more commonly known as “the lime stone sector”. This is about as extreme as it gets,  our Trouée d’Arenberg and possible jewel of the 2020 route. A 1.5 km classic sector on mixed gravel/boreen with a section on cut limestone, try avoid the horse poop!


Short punchy and they just keep coming! These total 2153 meters by the time you role into the finish. Don’t worry though the best is saved for the start, the feared water tanks hill. I’d go easy on the porridge in the morning as there is a good chance you may see it again.


This is where you relax grab a cup of coffee and share your stories about the day. Boreen roads create the best tales, here’s a yarn from Pat McQuaid about the 1986 Nissan Classic taken from Barry Ryans book The Ascent.

“Now this boreen was about four or five kilometres long and only the width of a car. The bunch was halfway along it when Kelly puts his hand up. This was the days before radios and all that, so word goes back to the team car and the assistant manager, Christian Rumeau, starts passing cars, and his taking trees with him and bushes and everything with him while he’s trying to get up to Kelly. He finally gets to the back of the bunch and he calls out, ‘what’s wrong?’ And Kelly just leans over and says to him: ‘This is a f*cking narrow road, isn’t it?”


Here’s a short list of some common questions we get

This questions come up quite a bit and we try answer it as best we can but ultimately it comes down to riders choice. This is designed as a “classics” style road bike event, so some mixed surfaces are to be expected but all just about passable for a roadie (think Roubaix). The vast majority is paved rural roads and boreen (grass routes) which have pretty good surfaces, the boreens can be in mixed repair. The Bike Place will be riding road bikes with 25c standard tyres, some people will prefer to use a CX/Gravel bike with 28c+ road tyres for these types of roads and keep the S-Works in the garage, that’s cool too! There is a fair bit of short sharp kicker climbs in the 140km stage, so balance between comfort, weight and speed as appropriate

This event is not like a race or any other sportive for that matter. We have a staggered start window, so there is always a steady flow of riders setting off on course. This helps reduce the “traffic or volume” of riders on these smaller roads. It is a “do it your own pace” event. Stop, take a breather, enjoy the scenery refuel at a local shop and back on your bike, last year we had riders finishing times from around the 5hrs to 7hrs.

It’s all about making it a day out and enjoying the views while you twist and turn in maze of roads. Even better it’s all within a 20km radius so at any point you feel you can’t go on, just take a look at the map and you shouldn’t be too far from the start line

The cycle is “self guided” but the course is superbly marked with signage and navigational arrows so you shouldn’t get lost too easy. As a back up we recommend downloading the Strava or .GPX file to your Gramin (which we will share with you on successful entry). 

People have done the cycle on 23c to 42c; we recommend somewhere in between 25c to 32c depending on style of rider. Bigger tyres will be more comfortable but ultimately slower, the balance between speed and comfort, again riders choice.

We feel money shouldn’t be a limiting factor, this cycle is ran to invite people into our locality, buy a sweet treat in a local village shop on way around, go for a meal after the cycle in one of the towns many restaurants, stay the night before and support our local campsites/hotels/dare I say pubs. We do sell event T-shirts and merchandise which help make the event self-sustainable if you would like to purchase one.