Kildare cyclists urged not to cycle alone via popular West Wicklow route

Another incident reported along Sally Gap

Rose B O'Donoghue

Reporter:

Rose B O'Donoghue

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editor@kildarepost.com

An experienced cyclist from the UK was badly shook after an incident on Monday, September 16 as he was cycling via the Sally Gap towards Ballymore Eustace to visit friends. Mike Amiss had arrived from Dublin Port that day and set off on his journey via the scenic West Wicklow route.

Circa 4 to 4.05pm, as he cycled in thick fog along the Sally Gap, he noticed a car travelling slowly behind him for up to two minutes.

“At first I thought it was just the driver being careful, as it is a windy road and there was heavy fog. But then the car appeared to overtake me but pulled alongside me, dangerously close and then the passenger door was swiftly pushed open.

“There is no doubt in my mind the intention was to knock me off my bike. But miraculously, I held onto the bike. I quickly jumped off and got a good look at the car, and rang the emergency number and reported the car reg and vehicle description.”

Mr Amiss, who has cycled across the world, is currently in Co Cork and hoping to head North next, “when the weather improves!”

The scenic Sally Gap route is a popular route for cyclists and pedestrians

“I can't say for sure if their intention was to knock me off my bicycle and steal the bike; it's a Giant Defy model, and would cost me £4,000 sterling to replace it. I was seriously worried they would turn around and come back again. There appeared to be two to three people in the vehicle.”

Last month, Dublin Live reported a similar incident, in which a cyclist claims he was deliberately knocked off his bike on August 24, also at the Sally Gap. The bike was then stolen, a Trik valued at €2,000 and the cyclist left stranded.

Subsequently, solo cyclists taking the Sally Gap route across the Wicklow mountains have been warned to be vigilant, and urged not to cycle cycling alone.

Dublin Cycling shared a post on Twitter on June 19, of another cyclist who claimed he was attacked by three men in a white Ford transit van. His attackers, he claimed, tried to steal his bike and phone. “Don't go up the Sally Gap or via Kippure or Laragh way on your own” warned the cyclist “ as they are targeting that road because they know cyclists are using good carbon bikes”.

Sinead Burke of Ballymore Eustace, a friend of Mr Amiss, stated: “As we are very close to the Sally Gap and Wicklow Mountains, it is common for me and my friends to direct overseas visitors to the area as a must-see beauty spot (as I did when Mike said he was doing a cycling tour). It appears that this route is becoming increasingly unsafe - not to mention the fact that someone could get seriously injured or killed. In this context, I have let a number of cycling groups know so they can be vigilant (including Ballymore Mountain Peddlers and Blessington’s Reservoir Cogs)."

Gardaí confirmed they received reports of an incident involving a cyclist on the Sally Gap on September 16 albeit no complaint was made. Gardaí are investigating the theft of a bicycle that took place on August 24, also at the Sally Gap junction.