Cycling Trip Grading - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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    • 16+ yrs

    • 12-15 yrs

    • 2-11 yrs

    • 0-23 mnth

Check your cycling holiday is the correct one for you by looking at our grading guide...Guided and self-guided trips available. Contact us for more information or our Cycling brochure.



Cycling Holiday with Exodus

Since 1994, Exodus have developed the widest range of cycling trips available in the UK. So whether you're an occasional cyclist wishing to amble through the Loire valley, or a hardened singletrack mountain biker wanting to test your cycling skills in Morocco's Atlas Mountains' then the chances are Exodus will have a trip to suit.

Cycling Trip Style

Would you like to cycle independently or in a group? Do you prefer a nice smooth road or a technically challenging trail?
To help you choose your ideal holiday, we have divided our trips into three simple categories. Trips are ordered through the brochure according to style and grade. First identify your preferred riding style and grade and then choose from the range of holidays that suit your specific requirements.

Self Guided - The perfect choice for those who like to cycle independently, we have added support to minimise the hard work and planning. We arrange your accommodation and provide you with maps and route notes, so you can cycle at your own pace from one hotel to the next. Your bags are transported for you, so all you carry is what you need for the days ride.

Road - Itineraries are based at least 70% on tarmac, which may be in good condition or pot-holed. Some routes also include occasional sections on
unsurfaced tracks, but these will not require any specific technical riding skills. We design our routes to avoid overly busy roads, but you should be comfortable occasionally riding in traffic. The terrain varies from flat to hilly. 

Off Road -  These trips follow a mixture of dirt roads, paths, and trails. These may be smooth and hard-packed, or loose, rutted, steep and rocky, and are often in hilly or mountainous terrain. On some trips, the tracks are mostly vehicle-width, but on others we aim for a higher proportion of singletrack riding. For trips graded C and above, some off road experience is essential.

Conditions that may affect grading

Please remember that it is impossible to be absolutely precise about how hard a bike ride may be, as there are many contributory factors. The main benefit of grading is to provide you with an overall indicator to compare one cycling trip against another. We therefore look at the following:

  • Length of ride and length of cycling day
  • Level of vehicle support
  • Average altitude and height gain and loss
  • Temperature range and likely weather conditions
  • Road/trail conditions
  • Remoteness of services and general level of comfort

Clearly conditions for a particular cycling holiday may vary from one month to the next. It is not practical for us to give grades for each individual departure, but you may like to take this into account before choosing a specific departure date.


These are active holidays and it is very important you choose an itinerary that is right for you. To help you do this we give each of our cycling holidays a grade, and supply information on the number of days cycling, average distance and the level of vehicle support available etc, in the ride profile. When deciding which cycling trip is for you consider both the level of physical fitness and the technical bike riding skill required. Please make sure that you have understood the activity you are undertaking and the requirements of the cycling holiday.

If you are in any doubt, please give us a call on 01-8047153, or email us.

Leisurely (Grade A) Leisurely (Grade 1)

If you can ride a bike and enjoy gentle exercise then these are an ideal introduction to a cycling holiday. Unfortunately no routes are entirely flat, so expect some short climbs and descents. Maximum daily height gain is approximately 250 metres and daily distances rarely exceed 50 kms (32 miles), often any longer days are optional.

Moderate (Grade B) Moderate (Grade 2)

Most people who enjoy a weekend riding on either trails or roads at home will enjoy a B-grade trip. You need to be in good health and reasonably fit. Ideal for occasional cyclists, or as a more relaxed trip for fitter riders. B-grade off-road trips require no previous experience. Distances on road trips rarely exceed 70 kms (43 miles) per day.



Challenging (Grade C) Challenging (Grade 3)

For any ride at this level, fitness is important. C-grade trips require confidence in your own ability and physical condition. They are equivalent to an extended period of cycling at home. Previous mountain biking experience is preferable, but not essential, for C-grade off-road trips as they will involve some technical riding.


Tough (Grade D) Tough (Grade 4)

At this level previous experience of the cycling style or surface is a must. These routes have long cycling days and tougher terrain on both road and off-road trips. You need complete confidence in your fitness and technical ability to cope with difficult or steep terrain, rough surfaces and longer distances. Ideal for those seeking a challenge!


Split and Optional Grades

In order to provide a more accurate cycle holiday grading system, where a cycling trip falls between two grades we use an intermediate or split grade, for example 1/2. Clearly, conditions may differ from region-to-region or month-to-month and as such the information given on these pages is designed to act as a guide to your cycling holiday only. In all cases you should refer to the Trip Notes for further details.


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