15 year old and BMX bike

My grandson and I are going to Ireland August 5th. We are taking my husband's ashes back to his family's home. That part is easy (sort of).
My 15 year old grandson will have just returned from BMX bike camp and wants to bring his bike with us to practice!

I am looking for BMX race tracks near Dingle or most anywhere in the west of Ireland and if that is not enough would it be easier to buy a bike there and give it away when we leave?
I have not been very successful finding any web sites that are helpful - these guys don't update their web sites often!
He is also interested in go-karting (gas engine), so if you have any ideas about where to go that would be great.
Susan

Posted by Dave
Ventura, CA, USA
765 posts

season-now that's a tough question! A few thoughts-will you be in the same area for the whole time you are there? How long is that?
If he absolutely must ride while he's in Ireland with his Grandmother, and the logistics as far as being in one place the whole time, or an easy way to transport a bike around in your travels, then it could be a nice idea to simply buy a bike and then donate it to a charity/BMX club/thrift when you leave.
On the other hand, and this is of course up to you, but have you explained to him the impracticality of his wish and told him "no" we're not going to do that?
I did find a page that lists BMX clubs in Ireland. Perhaps you can make contact and get some courtesy practice time with some of the club members? They may be willing to spot him with a loaner bike. If you donate one to a club they'll have one the next time somebody asks ;-))

http://bmxireland.ie/clubs/

I was in my early teens when BMX came along in the early 70's, and am very sympathetic, we had a blast; it is really a question of how impractical and for how long.
As for your primary reason for your trip, I wish you the best, and I hope that goes well. Any other questions post back here.
Have a great trip.

Posted by Sara
104 posts

Hello Susan,

I am so sorry for your loss. Traveling can be stressful with out such a mission as that.

For go carts I would ask the Ireland tourism board http://www.discoverireland.ie/

So my concerns with biking in Ireland: It can be very expensive to take a bike on the plane and I have heard a lot of horror stories about bikes being broken and different airlines or shipping companies pointing the fingers at the other and refusing to pay for damages. Your next problem is how to secure the bike. I recommend U locks which are heavy (add to general weight of luggage/bike) but require a machine shop to cut them off the frame (without a key). You could also run into trouble trying to take the bike into your B&B or hotel room. Not to mention that your grandson will have to take the wheel off to get it to fit in the rental car and the chances of staining the rental seats with dirt goes up. Some trains forbid, restrict or charge a lot to bring a bike on as luggage, FYI.

I am not sure what kind of practice he wants to do, but if it is the stunts I have seen on TV then there is likely no place to do this safely in most of the places you will visit. If there is such a location it is likely to be away from tourist areas and located more in areas that local teens spend time(farther away than is reasonable to go in a day and still sightsee). Some other concerns about biking in Ireland is that they drive on the other side of the road which many foreigners forget when walking, let alone trying to bike. It is really common for people to look the wrong direction, start to cross the street and get hit by a car that came from the other way. There are fewer if any sidewalks/shoulders on the road in the countryside. The ground can be very wet, muddy and difficult to navigate on a bike. Should you still decide to take his bike check out this link: http://www.offroadcyclingireland.ie/wordpress/. Perhaps this organization can give you some good advice.

However, my biggest concern (beyond all the hassle above, which is a lot) is that this bike will interfere with you doing any sightseeing while there. I am not sure if this is only a family trip or if you want to do some tourist stuff while there; but it could be a waste of travel time if you wait for your grandson to finish his practice and ride back to met you. Time is at a premium when on vacation or traveling with family. You have paid a lot to bring the two of you to Ireland. There will be many opportunities to practice BMX, there will be very few if any chances in life to travel to Europe; especially with such a generous, thoughtful and loving grandmother. I hope this helps you plan a lovely visit to Ireland with your grandson