Saturday 24 March 2018

A ride on the wild side

Left to right: Sean, Roisin, Sarah, Jarlath, Fionn and Mary Gantly at the Wild Atlantic Wheels store in Drumcliffe.
Left to right: Sean, Roisin, Sarah, Jarlath, Fionn and Mary Gantly at the Wild Atlantic Wheels store in Drumcliffe.

It started out as an electric bicycle business and has since diversified into catering for tourists in picturesque Drumcliffe.

New company Wild Atlantic Wheels is offering both visitors and locals a wonderway way to explore the North Sligo countryside.

Established by Jarlath Gantly the business is based in a log cabin in the car-park beside the Drumcliffe Tea Rooms.

Jarlath is originally from Dublin and is living in the area with his Riverstown-born wife Mary and three children for some time.

He said: "I have been selling electric bikes for two years. Since the Wild Atlantic Way is coming, we decided to get on board from a rental point of view to target new tourism.

"We have 50 bikes in our fleet. There is a mixture of electric, traditional road bikes for ladies and men, electric off-road and electric tandems.

"So far, the reaction has been really positive, and we will officially launch the business this week," he added.

Sligo Leader provided support for the growing business.

Jarlath continued: "Cycling is very chic at the moment. Both my wife and I are team cyclists. We travelled over to France last year for a cycling trip.

"When we bought the first of our electric bikes, we were overwhelmed by how fantastic they were.

"We want to educate people on the differences and benefits of electric bikes.

"They still need pedal assistance, so you are getting exercise.

"It takes the pain out of hills. We are the only dedicated electric bike retail contractor in the Northwest.

"That gives us an edge to break into a new market. Sligo is not the flattest county," he chuckled.

The company also operates a handy mini-bus service to collect and drop off bikes.

"We are able to drive to a person's B&B with the bikes and they can cycle off for the day. We'll come back and collect them in the evening.

"Our routes includes the Gleniff Horseshoe and the Mullaghmore loop.

"We will bring the bikes to the bottom of the horseshoe, it keeps the people in the area. We are about keeping tourism in the county, getting people to spend money in the locality."

A lot of local people too are renting bikes. "Say a father and son tandem, it is a bit of craic for a day."

Jarlath and his wife Mary, a nurse, have both travelled extensively.

"We find that here in Sligo there is plenty of tourism potential.

"If our business complements others, then happy days, that is what we set out to do."

Sligo Champion