Saddle Bag Essentials

In association with Cycle Superstore

You have reached the start line of the Wicklow 200, but what should you pack in your saddle bag?

Spare Tubes X 2

Always check the condition of your spare tubes. There is nothing worse than picking up a puncture only to discover the replacement tube has a tear or rip. Remember rubber perishes over time so make sure the spare tubes are fit for purpose. Do not forget your tyre levers and a mini pump. In recent years, CO2 mini pumps have become increasingly popular especially in competitive events. Their big advantage over traditional pumps is they inflate the tyre a lot quicker, meaning you get going again a lot faster. Learn how to use a CO2 cannister before you are on the roadside with a puncture.

The CO2 cannister is a must if you are using tubeless tyres and need to seat the bead of the tyre. To seat the bead properly, you’ll need compressed air to fill the area quickly. This is something a traditional pump cannot do. However, there is a downside to the CO2 cannisters. If lady luck is not on your side and you encounter multiple punctures or don’t employ the cannisters properly, you may end up running out of cannisters.

Range of tubes at Cycle Superstore

Range of Pumps and CO2 Pumps at Cycle Superstore


Another essential item for your saddle bag is a multi-tool. Try to have one which contains a chain breaker. This coupled with a chain connector/Powerlink/quick link will ensure you can continue even if you snap your chain. When purchasing a chain connector, make sure it is suitable for your group-set speed.

Chain Connectors at Cycle Superstore

Multitools at Cycle Superstore

A Rear Derailleur Hanger

Not the device you hang your clothes on but a bicycle part! This part is vital and if it breaks will spell the end of your event. The hanger is a sacrificial part located at the rear mech and costs in the region of €20-€40. It is designed to deliberately break to limit or prevent damage to the bike frame or other components. Each bike model has its own unique hanger, so the likelihood of mechanical support having your model of hanger is very remote. Your local bike shop will be able to supply you with one.

Other Tips

Always make sure you bring enough food and water for the event and make sure you refill your bottle when able to. Do not try anything new on the day, such as a new type of energy gel, a pair of cycling shorts or decide to use the event to break in new cleats. Also don’t forget the chamois cream.

All these items will be available plus loads more during number collection in Cycle Superstore. Number collection in Cycle Superstore will take place during the following times:

Friday 10th June between 16.00-19.30

Saturday 11th June between 10.00-15.00

To help you complete this year’s Wicklow 200, Cycle Superstore are offering 10% off any of their service options. The offer is valid from the 1st – 31st of May. You will need to present the barcode below as well as providing confirmation of your entry.

Bike Maintenance for Event Day

In association with Cycle Superstore

You’ve clocked up all those training kilometres only to be let down on the day by a mechanical failure. Most mechanical failures are easily preventable by some simple bicycle maintenance.

To help you complete this year’s Wicklow 200, Cycle Superstore are offering 10% off any of their service options. The offer is valid from the 1st – 31st of May. You will need to present the barcode below as well as providing confirmation of your entry.

7 things you should be doing now to prepare for Wicklow 200 in June

Former pro-cyclist Ronan McLaughlin of Panache Coaching gives us some expert advice on how to get ready for Wicklow 200

It can be very helpful to have some structure and guidance leading towards an event like the Wicklow 200. A training plan takes the guesswork out of your training – you can be assured that you are increasing your workload in a realistic and achievable manner, without fear of getting burnt out.

As important as it is to get some hard training sessions in, it is equally important to have easy rides, keeping your heart rate low and enjoying riding your bike. It is a mistake made all too often that people go out with their group ride on the weekend and go full gas for a few hours! Sometimes, chilling out and stopping for coffee and cake is what the body needs. It can also improve your fitness. Plus, who doesn’t like a coffee stop?!

This may seem counter-productive, but if you are pushing your body hard in training, it will need days to recover as well. You can’t expect yourself to be ready to train hard every single day! You can incorporate yoga, pilates or swimming into your schedule if you don’t want to take complete rest days, but they are an important part of a training plan. In fact, an activity like yoga that includes stretching can actually help you get through your preparation for the event injury-free.

In an endurance event such as the Wicklow 200 or the Wicklow 100 Challenge, you can be on the bike for over 8 hours. It will be important to be able to take on some fuel in that time. Although there will be food stops, it is a useful skill to be able to take a gel or energy bar on the bike. You never know when you might ‘hit the wall’. It is a good idea to try out the gels on training rides in the run up to the event – you don’t want to take something for the first time on the day in case it doesn’t agree with your stomach.

An important part of the Wicklow 200 prep will be getting used to riding in a group. At the start of the event, it can be daunting even to an experienced rider to ride in a group of people. A good way to alleviate that stress on the day is to practice riding in a group before the event. Most local clubs will meet on a Saturday or Sunday for an endurance ride together. If you are finding the endurance rides tough or boring, a group ride can be a great solution – the camaraderie, the coffee stops, the fact that you don’t have to be on the front fighting the elements alone all the time, can make training mikes go by a lot faster!

If you are trying to balance preparing for this event with work and family life, chances are you are pretty caught for time on your weekdays. During the winter and spring months, it might not be possible to get out for a ride midweek, but it is important to try to keep active in some way from Monday to Friday. If you have a turbo trainer at home, you can easily hook up your bike and get some quality training done without being on the bike for hours. If the thought of being stuck indoors on a bike for an hour reduces you to tears, there are computer programs like Zwift to help with that!

If you are going to be spending upwards up of 7 hours on a bike, you need to make sure you are comfortable. Small things like adjusting saddle height, changing your saddle or altering the angle of your handlebars can make a huge difference to how you feel on the bike. You can also get your bike fitted by a professional, in case you’re afraid to make those adjustments yourself. Be sure to keep on top of your bike maintenance too! Little things like washing off your bike after a ride and applying some oil to the chain can make your cycling experience so much more enjoyable

Event Update February 2022

We are delighted to announce that Wicklow 200 will be going ahead on 12th June 2022.

Registered participants will be automatically transferred to Wicklow 200 2022.

The 2022 event is now sold out, but you can sign up to our waiting list via the link on our home page or here.

We’d like to thank our entire Wicklow 200 community for their patience, encouragement and ongoing support.
Keep safe and keep pedalling


Spring Bike Maintenance

If your bike has been locked away in the shed for the winter or has only been out for a few winter spins, it’s time to give it a little TLC and a spring clean.

Cleaning Your Bike
A lot of dirt can be collected on a bike after the winter weather. Give your bike a wash down and dry. Remove the wheels and get into all the hard to reach places. After every cycle your bike should be cleaned to avoid rusting.

Clean your brake pads
Small pieces of metal can become embedded in them, which cause a grating noise and impairs the braking performance of your bike, give them a clean to avoid this happening.

Lubricate your chain
Just a few drops is all that is required. If you can see the oil after a couple of revolutions you have too much on. A silver chain should look silver.

Tyre pressure
Pump your tyres before every ride to a minimum of 100psi and a maximum of 120psi. If you are unsure of the tyre pressure it is written on the sidewall of every tyre. Check the condition of tyres for wear and tear. It is important to replace worn tyres to ensure safe riding. Keep everything pointing inwards. The front skewer should always point towards the bottom bracket.

Saddle bag
A saddle bag is a small bag which attaches under your saddle. This bag should contain a repair kit, spare tube, emergency foil blanket and emergency cash, just in case.

The evenings are beginning to get longer. However, it is a good idea to place a light in the front and at the back of your bike. Wear clothing that maximises your visibility to drivers on the road.

6 Signs You Love Your Bike More Than Your Partner

The bond between a bike and its owner is a truly unique one. And it is something that only a fellow bike owner will ever understand. But is there a point where you start to love your bike a little too much? We’d be willing to bet that your non-bike-loving partner certainly thinks so. Here are seven signs that certainly prove that your bike ranks higher in priority than your partner. How many are you guilty of?!

1.The cheapest component on your bike cost more than any present you have ever purchased your partner.

You don’t bat an eyelid about forking out a substantial amount on a new groupset, wheels or anything else when it comes to your beloved steed. After all it’s important to get your loved one the best of the best. €20 is a more than generous amount to spend on your partner’s birthday present though, isn’t it?!

2. You’d rather be out in the lashing rain on a Saturday morning than cosied up in bed with your loved one.

While your partner might think you have a screw loose for rising at dawn in the middle of summer they will be utterly baffled at your enthusiasm to leave the warm and cosy confines of your shared bed in mid-winter to head out for a ride in the pouring rain.

3. Cleaning your bike is more important than any other household chore.

It doesn’t matter how many times your partner has begged you to bring out the bins, unload the dishwasher or put on the washing, no household task is more important than cleaning your bike. Your partner will never understand how you manage to get such a shine off your bike when you can’t even manage to give the table a cursory wipe down after dinner.

4. When somebody asks how your better half is, you immediately assume they are talking about your bike.

It’s always a touch awkward when somebody asks about your better half or the love of your life and you reply that they are cycling beautifully.

5. Your screensaver on every device you own is dedicated to your bike.

You and your bike on top of a glorious ascent, you and your bike whizzing down a scenic descent, your bike enjoying a well-earned break at your favourite coffee shop…all of these options seem like better screensaver choices than a romantic photo with your other half.

6. Your house is broken into and your first question is whether or not your bike is OK.

You receive a call to say that you’ve been burgled in the middle of the night and your first worry is whether your beloved bike is still there. Be warned, this reaction really doesn’t go down well with your other half, especially if they were in the house at the time of the break-in!

5 mistakes to avoid on your bike

Ronan McLaughlin and Philip Deignan are back with some more advice in advance of the Wicklow 200, this time on common mistakes and how to avoid them!

If you are doing some group rides as part of your training towards the Wicklow 200, it is important to make sure you are following the basic rules of training in a group. These include yelling or gesturing when there is a hazard on the route, like a pothole or a rock, signalling an upcoming left or right with plenty of advance notice, letting riders know of surrounding vehicles with a simple ‘car up’ or ‘car back’ and holding your line in the bunch. Don’t be afraid to train in a group, as it can really break up the high mileage you’ll be putting in for the Wicklow 200. Just make sure you are doing so safely!

If you are heading out for an endurance ride in preparation for the Wicklow 200, it is crucial to bring enough food and drink to get through it. Ask any experienced cyclist and they will be able to tell you their story of ‘hitting the wall’ – running out of energy to the extent that pushing the pedals another kilometre seems impossible! The feeling can often come on quite quickly so it is important to keep on top of fuelling and hydrating throughout the ride. It can help to set intervals at which you will eat or drink – for example, a drink every 20 mins and something small to eat every 45 mins. Find something you enjoy eating and it shouldn’t feel like a chore. Some good examples are wine gums or dried fruit.

Is there anything worse than getting a puncture halfway through your endurance ride, only to realise that you haven’t brought everything you need to change your tube with you?! Holding out hope that a fellow cyclist will pass by and help so you can avoid making the shameful call home to ask someone to come and collect you… Making sure that you always have the necessary tools to change a puncture is easy, with the addition of a saddle bag to your bike. The saddle bag, which you attach with velcro straps to your saddle, can hold all the essential equipment for a tube-change. It also gets rid of any fear that you’ll be stuck waiting at the side of the road for that lift home!

If you are aiming towards an endurance event, like the Wicklow 200 or the Wicklow 100 Challenge, it is important to have a training plan in the lead up to the event. This can be something simple like a rough outline of mileage each week, or a highly personalised plan from a coach like Panache Coaching, with intervals in specific power zones and tailored endurance-building rides, accompanied by frequent feedback. Whatever you choose, it is vital to have a guideline to help you reach your end goal in an achievable manner. This can help you avoid doing too much, too soon and burning out, or not doing enough and panic-training in the weeks before the event!

Going out for a bike ride during winter can be tough. It is difficult to know what layers to wear, gloves or no gloves, how can you keep your feet warm, the list goes on! Investing in a good pair of overshoes is key in Irish winter weather. Once your feet get cold and wet it is difficult to fight the urge to turn home. A good base layer can make all the difference, and stop you having to wear multiple layers that can really restrict your movement on the bike. Another tip is to buy either clear or orange-tinted lenses for your glasses. Often, the winter days in Ireland are too dreary for dark lenses; the clear or orange lens can brighten things up and also protect your eyes. And always, ALWAYS, wear a helmet.

Training plans for the Wicklow 200 (200km and 100km) routes can be downloaded here. The event takes place on Sunday June 7th and you can register here.

Discovering Wicklow 200 – Anna Stanton

We recently caught up with veteran Wicklow 200 cyclist and inspiration to us all Anna Stanton who is preparing for her fifth event! Anna reveals how she got into cycling, how it has transformed her life after retirement and how she is preparing for the Wicklow 200 on June 7th.

“My name is Anna Stanton and on June 7th 2020 I will be participating in the Wicklow 200 challenge for the fifth time, all going well. The training at the gym has started. The bike is cleaned, oiled and all ready to hit the high roads of Mayo where I am now living.  For me the Wicklow 200 is a goal, a benchmark and a highlight on the cycling calendar.                                       

A native of Donegal I’ve lived in Burriscarra in Mayo since 1970, had five children and a full time career as a primary school teacher. Ten years ago, when I retired from teaching I moved to Dublin to look after my grandchildren. Life in the city was a complete change from forty years living in beautiful rural Mayo. How to make a life for myself? I joined the Dublin Ramblers, discovered the beauty of the Dublin and Wicklow mountains, did a course in UCD, joined a writing group and embraced the cultural life of the city, cinema, music and theatre. A new life.  I loved it.

In the summer of 2014 a cyclist friend invited me to go on a cycling holiday. In all innocence I said yes. Remember, I didn’t own a bike and hadn’t been on one for many years, my only experience was on the family pushbike as a child. It was a baptism of fire, the only advantage I had was that I was fit, strong and could endure. The après spin was fun though. On returning home my competitive streak surfaced and bitten by the cycling bug I bought a road bike, my first bicycle ever. I was delighted with myself.

Stuck in a rut

On the downside the friendship with the cyclist didn’t last and there I was in the summer of 2015 with the expensive bike, no bike skills, nervous in the traffic and no possibility of venturing out in the city by myself.  With the help of Google, I discovered a big cycling club that was supportive of women members. I contacted Ann Horan, the women’s representative in the club at the time and much to her amusement asked her about the possibility of getting a personal trainer for the bike. She invited me to join a training course for new female members.  I joined and a whole new world opened up, a world of friendship, fun, new skills, support, confidence building and a whole new language, sprocket, cassette, derailleur and so on. Gradually the mystery of the bike began to unfold. At sixty eight years old I became a cyclist, lots to learn and still in runners, a cyclist.

The first sportive was The Great Dublin Bike Ride, I lost my group within five minutes but the camaraderie on the route swept me along. Next on the list was the Orwell Randonnée. The weather that day was awful; there was rain, snow, hail, sleet and fog. The rain started when going up Sally Gap, I couldn’t stop to put on the rain jacket in case I lost my group and by the time we got to the food stop I was shivering so much I couldn’t hold the cup of tea. My dad had a saying “Patience and Perseverance will get a snail to Jerusalem” and that’s what got me to the end along with my lovely group led by Leonard. We were the last, the burgers and sausages were finished but we had big smiles for the celebratory photo taken by Louise who waited for us.

With this ordeal under our belts the upcoming Wicklow 200 was going to be a doddle.

Prepare, prepare, prepare

Preparation is the key for success. For that first Wicklow 200 I started a training programme at the gym in January and participated in the club organised training every Saturday. In this way all sections of the route became familiar, the ascents, descents and I learned the importance of pace.I will always be grateful to the club leaders for their patience, kindness and encouragement, who gave their time and were generous in sharing their expertise.While I did the training, both physical and psychological I would never have had success without the strength of the club behind me.

Before I set off on my bike I always meditate and visualize myself being successful and safe. Safety on the bike is paramount. It was raining when we assembled for the start. The atmosphere was amazing, a bustling crowd all geared up, colourful in their club kits, all shapes and sizes rearing to go. The waiting around was difficult, I was filled with an excited nervous energy and just wanted to get going. Then we were off. Very soon we were climbing the long hill. The rain stopped and we had an amazing day. In my head I had all the big climbs lined up and was glad as one by one they were ticked off.

There was a terrific sense of achievement at the end of a long day, and with great pride I wore the medal to the celebration party. It’s a beautiful challenging route, well organised, marshalled and with lots of food. I would recommend it to all the young women cyclists out there. Prepare, prepare, prepare and there’s nothing to fear.

For the rest of that year, my first with the club I did lots of cycling, said yes to all challenges and loved every minute. In my five years with the cycling club l I grew in confidence and got more ambitious with the kilometres, joined an Audax group and discovered the beauty of a hidden Ireland.

Now at seventy three I’m really retired, back in lovely Mayo, signs of spring all around me. It’s time to get the cycling gear on and get on my bike.”

Wicklow 200 ( 200km and 100km routes) takes place on Sunday June 7th 2020, you can register for the event here

Wicklow 100km Route – What To Expect

Starting at Bray Emmets GAA Club the route takes the riders to Enniskerry, Old Long Hill, Roundwood, Laragh, the Wicklow Gap, Hollywood, Baltinglass, Aghavannagh, Slieve Maan,Glenmalure, Drumgoff, Rathdrum, south through Ballinaclash before turning north for Glenealy and Ashford when the route takes the riders through Newcastle, Kilcoole, Greystones, up the short climb at Windgates before cutting west to Enniskerry and on to the finish at Bray Emmets .

The Wicklow 100 will veer left in Laragh and head straight to Rathdrum before returning on the same route as the Wicklow 200.

View the route elevation here –

The I.V.C.A, supported by the Wicklow County Council and Irish Red Cross, will have approximately 200 volunteers helping out on the day providing first-aid cover, mechanical breakdown cover, route marshalling, car parking, changing rooms, showers and refreshment stops along the way and at the finish in Bray Emmets GAA Club. All finishers will be presented with a special Wicklow 200/100 medal.


Starting and finishing at the Bray Emmets GAA Club, the excellent facilities at the clubhouse are at your disposal. Along the way we have water, food and repair stops. Our roving repair vehicles will travel on the circuit and are always delighted to assist in the event of a mechanical problem. At the end of the day you will be rewarded with a medal, food, and tea/coffee when you can reflect on a great day on the bike with other finishers of Ireland’s toughest one-day bike ride.

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