This is my favourite ride out, only I ride it the other way from Portrush to Larne. Leaving Portrush you are riding tight on the coast to Bushmills - the home of Irelands oldest whiskey distillery 1608, well worth a visit and I reccomend The Black Bush, very smooth. from the centre of the village take left and head for Giants Causeway, worth a visit too.. and the road sweeps off to Ballintoy, I can recommend Fullerton Arms for food and drink. nearby is Carrick A Rede Rope Bridge. here you climb up a steep hill with a few sweeping corners, at top of the hill is a layby, pull in and check where you have come from. the big island closest is Rathlin, the island in the distance is Mull of Kintyre. Next town you hit is Ballycastle, most bikers pull in on the Promenade for a breather, i can recommend harbour cafe, great fry up etc. from here head on round the coast and you hit cushendun and cushendall, you are deep in the Glens of Antrim, breath taking scenery and some tight corners. Carnlough is a lovely wee village to also stop off in and carnfunnock country park is also worth a visit.
While the scenic beauty of this road is beyond question, I would caution those unfamiliar with this road to take it easy and enjoy the views. As you can see in my attached photo, much of the route is lined with unforgiving stone walls. I was there to attend the North West 200 and came upon an accident in which a motorbike collided head on with an oncoming car.
Good Sunday breakfast run (Ballycastle), very little traffic on the road as most shops etc don't open until the afternoon. Hills, valleys, views of Scotland, Northern Ireland's rugged natural beauty at its best, with the odd hair-pin thrown in!
we took Sampans advice and took this route to the North West 200 last week.
It is a beautiful run the scenery is fantastic.
The harbour cafe in Port Ballintoy was fantastic, we had never seen as many home made sweets in such a small place before, and after trying four different ones we had to stop otherwise the ride back to the digs would have been interesting to say the least.
Thanks Sampan for the recommendation.
I particularly like the stretch between Ballycastle and Portrush for scenery and the overall sense of freedom you can only get from riding a motorcycle. By the way, you can get a nice cup of tea and a cake from the cafe at Balintoy harbour.
i would,nt say its the best road i,ve ridden , but its up there with them
The locals claim that Northern Ireland is Gods own country. That may indeed be true, I cannot sat. But God is definitely biker and on the 7th day he created the A2 from Larne to Portrush. In fact I think he may have set up home there because this road is as close to biking Heaven as you are going to get. its got everything, starting with a better than average surface. Its got sweeping bends, tight bends, straight straights, uphills, down hills. It has the most beautiful, amazing and breath taking scenery found anywhere. You cannot die until you have ridden this road.
My recommendation would be to ride it and do all the touristy stuff, take photograph do the Giants Causway, Carrick-a-Rede, Dunluce Castle, do the lovely towns and villages. take your time. Once you done all that. Do it again, no stops. Experience the most orgasmic hour of biking around. Then prepare to be disappointed by every other road you ever ride.
This is a stunning road to ride. A MUST for anyone coming to the NW200 racing. It must be one of the BEST biking roads in the UK and Ireland. Whats even better I get to blast it several times everyday.
Legend has it that Irish Giant Finn McCool built
'Giant's Causeway' to walk to Scotland to fight his
Scottish counterpart Benandonner. The 'Organ Pipes'
an excellent excursion from this road, itself a stunning
marvel of 19th century civil engineering mostly blasted
from rock along the rugged coastline. Also nearby is
the Joey Dunlop memorial at Ballymoney.
Not too sure about being a technical route. After all, a road is simply a road, whether straight or twisty. In saying that, the A2 from Larne to Portrush is a brilliant ride. Doesnt take long, a few of hours... with a stop at the Giant Causeway - it isnt the Grand Canyon, but the organ pipes is pretty damn good.
Theres a fair amount of traffic, so the North West 200 isnt happening as a rider. Still, there is plenty of good riding, especially off the beaten track. Take any road to the west off the A2 and couple it with country road and the world is your oyster.
Take care on these roads - they are covered in cowshit, slippery in the wet. Joey Dunlop country = you can see why he was the fastest because if you are second fastest in the wet, you will be covered in it!
Visit his memorial garden in Ballymoney, tastefull, simple and well done.
one of the best roads in Ireland in not the World...
As Panhandle says there were two bikes fitted with cameras that we used to show the ride over the Torr Head road. We were quite gentle, and behaved, more in an effort to show the difficulties that this type of road can throw up:
But it is the sort of road that if you tried to take it on in a more deliberate manner; would, and has bitten back!
You may also hear us talking, that is because most of our machines are equipped with Bike to Bike communications. I am just hoping that we didnt use naughty words.
Panhandle was also fitted with a camera, and I am sure if you ask him nicely he will add one of his Road Safety clips.
Just to explain the stills pictures. The line of bikes is just after our Torr Head run. We stopped in a quiet village for some great food.
The photo of the rustic cottages, is our very comfortable accomodation. All Mod cons and modern inside; Great for chilling-out after a long day riding the twistys.
The final 2 pics are the guys and girls getting ready to head out on another days blat. This time over into Southern Ireland, Donegal, Malin Head to be exact.
This area were the bikes are parked at night, is very secure with a large horse, and a couple of friendly dogs to protect them.
The other Pic is the guys and girls having a nice relaxing time, without their machinery. Taxiss were the order of the day for this evenings entertainment, and the talk was all about; Did you see that! and Good lord that was a hairy road, or your positioning could have been a bit better for that bend. (That one was usually for me!) ha! ha!
But over the 5 days in Northern Ireland, i think we all had a fantastic time, what with the good laughs, the friendship, the locals we met, and most importantly the challenges that all the roads threw up at us. Remember if you do go over, dont just ride the A.2. venture off onto the b roads that criss-cross the A.2..You wont get lost! Honest. There are roads that will suit all riders, all you have to do is find them, and thats part of the fun!
If you havent done it, forget about what you saw back in the 80s. Northern Ireland has, is changing, for the better i may add. Its vibrant, friendly, great biking roads, great people, and a big plus is that its BIKE FRIENDLY! A good time to go over is around the North West 200 Road Races. But book early for that one. Its the biggest Road Race outside the Isle of Man.
We have did it this year, some of us for the second time. I would hazard a guess, that it will not be our last either
I can vouch for SamPans assessment of this road - I had to lead the group he mentions!! As for the Torr Head segment, if you dare, there is a video clip attached to this route which was filmed by two riders, one of whom was SamPan.
As anyone who has ridden this road knows. Its extremely technical, and needs to be thought-out before you take off like a head-less chicken, thinking that you are Gods gift to motorcycling. It takes extremely good observation and positioning skills, and a lot of knowing your own limitations, and your machines.
If you ride with a group, it can be a rewarding blat, and there is definetly a feel-good factor at the end, especially if you have the confidence to go via the Torr head route, which is NOT! for the faint hearted! Ride the road that i believe is probably the most technical in the U.K. A good Enhanced Advanced ride: If you dare be that progressive.
This Antrim Coast Road or the A.2. does exist, as we took 21 people over it in the summer, and also the PSNI used to train their pursuit car and motorcyclists along it at; I know this, because thats were i got my instructors certificate..eventually! ha! ha! (So it is there.)
In Line for some food, outside a very acceptable eatery at the end of the Torr head blat.
Resting after a long return run from Ballymoney. We stopped at Carrickfergus for a break, and more Northern Irish refreshments, before heading to Belfast for the boat home.
Our very comfortable accomodation. It was here that 17 Bikers drank well, fed well, and recharged their batteries after they enjoyed the people and the roads of County Antrim.
The boys and girls getting ready for another testing day out along the twistys. This is the safe parking area next to the accomodation. At night, the bikes were guarded by a big horse and 2 lovely doggies, as well as being behind an Iron pad-locked gate. There was also a hose to wash down any dirt off the machines.
A group of our crew having some refreshments outside the Pub of the greatest Road Racer of all time: Joey Dunlop. (All these bikers were only drinking legal non alcoholic beverages of course!)