The Great Dublin Bike Ride is taking place with many of the city’s roads temporarily closed as 5,000 cyclists of all abilities travel across either 60km or 100km routes around the capital. See video
On Saturday 27th August the Great Southern Trail (GST) Greenway organised a large group of over forty people to spend a most pleasant day in Waterford City and on the Greenway from Kilmeaden.
The visitors from West Limerick & North Kerry were making their second visit to the Déise. In May they had walked the Dungarvan to Durrow section and on Saturday they took the narrow gauge train from Kilmeaden to Mount Congreve and walked from there to Waterford. The late afternoon was spent exploring the city and enjoying the Summerval festival attractions.
Before returning home they had a wonderful meal at L’ Atmosphere Restaurant in Henrietta Street. In the morning an excellent breakfast had been provided at Brazil’s in Tipperary Town. Transport was provided by Coach House Travel, Newcastle West and the Waterford & Suir Valley Railway.
When the Déise Greenway is completed a third visit is planned to include a cycle from Dungarvan to Waterford.
Visitors from Waterford would be much appreciated in West Limerick where the 40km Greenway is also along an old railway from Rathkeale to Abbeyfeale. This year it has already hosted visiting groups from Spain, Germany and the McAuliffe Diaspora Gathering. The development of the GST, spearheaded by volunteers, was successful in County Limerick but was obstructed in County Kerry. The volunteers also managed the Limerick Greenway until November 2015 when Limerick City & County Council took charge.
A planned further 50km along the former railway from Abbeyfeale to Fenit in County Kerry has been awaiting development since 1988. The fact that this State owned route has been languishing for almost a generation is surely an issue long overdue to be addressed by local and national authorities and politicians.
Photo: GST Greenway visitors from West Limerick/North Kerry with the Thomas Francis Meagher Bridge (N25) in the visits Déise Greenwaybackground
Sligo Cycling Campaign’s Bike Week Buffet an outstanding success!
On Thursday 19th June over one hundred people assembled in Clevreagh Park ready to set off on Sligo Cycling Campaign’s inaugural Bike Buffet. Chairperson Gemma Woods told the Weekender that cycling campaign members were looking for an interesting idea to mark Bike Week and became aware that their neighbours in Westport have hosted several successful Bike Buffets. Gemma floated the idea to Emer Concannon of Sligo County Council and received enthusiastic support.
The idea of the buffet is that participants cycle from venue to venue and have one course of their meal in each venue. The participating venues were the Riverside Hotel for “Mocktails”, Café Fleur for Starters, the Radisson hotel for a Barbecue and finally the Glasshouse hotel for coffee and dessert.
When booking opened for the buffet, some would-be participants sadly echoed Judy Garland’s lines from the song “We’re a couple of swells” “We would ride on a bicycle, but we haven’t got a bike”. However, Jarlath Gantly of Wild Atlantic Ways rode to the rescue as it were and provided hire bikes at a nominal fee.
In fact not only did Jarlath provide standard bikes but also tandems and even an electric tandem, which of course to those of us of a certain age brings to mind the lines of another song, “Daisy” , “But you’ll look neat going down the street of a bicycle made for two”. Traffic management of such a large number of participants was greatly assisted by support from Sligo Garda, from experienced Innisfree Wheelers marshals and from vehicle support by Jarlath Gantly and Mickey Scanlon.
Sligo Cycling Campaign aims to be a voice for Sligo’s everyday cyclist as well as for people who would like to start cycling but may not feel confident enough to do so. It seeks to lobby local and national government to bring about improved conditions for cyclists. The campaign is affiliated to ‘Cyclist.ie – The Irish Cycling Advocacy Network’ and would love to have new members. The National Cycling Policy Framework published by Government in 2009 has as a target that 10% of all trips should be made by bike by 2020. However, for this to become a reality changes need to happen and Sligo Cycling Campaign is adding its voice to the call for change. The campaign can be contacted on Sligo Cycling Campaign (Facebook), twitter @SligoCycling or email
The bike buffet was a leisure activity with the simple objective of providing a fun experience by bike. However, Sligo Cycling Campaign has also received funding from Sligo County Council to make Safe Cycling Ireland’s 1.5 metres please, Share the Road windscreen stickers available throughout Sligo town. The stickers are an initiative of Phil Skelton, a Wexford cyclist, who became concerned at the risk to cyclists from dangerous overtaking.
Many European countries, for example Spain, Germany, France and Portugal as well as several US States have legislated for a minimum overtaking distance of 1.5 metres. Ireland currently has no legislation to this effect but the windscreen stickers can remind motorists to be considerate when overtaking a cyclist. The stickers are available from all Sligo bike shops as well as City Hall, County Council Office at Riverside and the library.
Sligo Cycling Campaign also supports the www.love30.ie campaign for lower speed limits in urban areas. There is overwhelming evidence that lower limits make streets safer and more pleasant for pedestrians and cyclists.
The cycling campaign supports cyclist education, driver education, restricted speed, improved infrastructure, a minimum overtaking distance of 1.5 metres and enforcement of existing road traffic legislation re for e.g. speed limits and parking in cycle lanes.
Cyclist.ie keeps a close eye on developments across the water in how British cities are changing to accommodate more cycling. As Irish campaigners we regularly travel across to cycling planning / advocacy events and enjoy meeting our cycle campaigning colleagues and swapping notes.
The latest trip was to Leicester to attend the Cycle City Active City conference. Leicester is undergoing a rapid transformation in recent years. Not only does the city boast the largest area of pedestrianised streets of any UK city (with cycle access and no record of serious collisions!), it has also been dismantling some of its gigantic flyovers – classic symbols of 1960s motorised automobility – and promoting urban regeneration. The nurturing of an everyday cycling culture is very much part of this mix. All of this has been helped along by a directly elected Mayor of the City Council (Peter Soulsby) and one of the most dynamic Local Authority Cycling Officers in the UK (Andy Salkeld).
We also heard the latest news from New York (Jon Orcutt) in which cycling is growing through a combination of high quality (protected) bike lanes and a large bike-share scheme, and from London where top notch cycle campaigning (by London Cycling Campaign and others) has prompted a series of directly elected mayors to treat the bicycle as a serious mode to alleviate congestion and help turn London into a more people friendly city. LCC’s latest success is getting a commitment from London’s new Mayor Sadiq Khan to triple the cycle superhighways, enable ‘Mini-Hollands’ in every borough and take dangerous lorries off streets.
Other excellent contributions came from Rachel Aldred, Senior Lecturer in Transport at Westminster University, who is studying how exactly reducing the volumes as well as the speeds of motorised traffic improves the environment for those not wearing a full body metal shell (her blog) and Philip Darnton, Executive Director of the Bicycle Association. Philip’s main argument is that £20M will enable every single school child in the UK to be trained in how to cycle in trafficked environments and every child deserves this training. Meanwhile, cycling journalist and author Carlton Reid recommended that we treat every outrageous / irrational anti-cyclist comment from various celebrities / notice boxes (such as ex- UK Chancellor Nigel Lawson’s as an indication that we are winning the battle: cycling is growing.
All in all, the Leicester conference was excellent. There were over 500 delegates / speakers plus another 300 cycle training instructors in attendance, and the quality of the presentations was really very good. There is an undoubted buzz generated by the more radical interventions on the streets of London to create safe cycling conditions for all – the question and feeling on everyone’s lips was: why should it just be on a handful of London’s streets that safe cycling conditions are created!? Hear hear!
Dr. Damien Ó Tuama is the National Cycling Coordinator for Cyclist.ie. He presented at the Leicester conference on “The (Slow) Progress in Implementing Ireland’s National Cycle Policy Framework”.
Stockholm was the host city for this year’s AGM of the European Cyclists’ Federation – the annual gathering of the member groups of ECF. Colm Ryder and Damien Ó Tuama represented Cyclist.ie – the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network. Read more
Waterford City and County Council is currently developing the Waterford Greenway along a 45km section of the old disused railway line from Dungarvan to Waterford. It is anticipated that this amenity will officially open to the public in the second half of 2016. It is envisaged that the development and completion of the Greenway will have a hugely significant cultural, social and economic impact on the people of Waterford in the years to come. Read article
One year after the official launch of CokeZeroBikes (Cork), the Transport and Mobility Forum Cork (TMF) hosted a half-day seminar on 8th March 2016 on the scheme. The event saw a packed conference room in the Metropole Hotel with about 50 delegates with professional transport / bicycle planning backgrounds attending. Presentations were given on the public bike schemes by the NTA and a group of Master’s students from the UCC Centre for Planning, while the smaller scale Clonakilty Community Bike Scheme received lots of praise too. Planners for Cork City Council reported on their infrastructure improvement projects as did those from County Hall (i.e. Cork County Council) and Cork University Hospital. Delegates learned that there are a number of major employers yet not with the reach of the public bikes.
In the lively discussion, many attendees expressed the hope that the NTA would soon expand the scheme, building on its overwhelming success. This was echoed by the NTA’s Michael Aherne, although he had to try hard to keep expectations low. The NTA would first need to help the two other schemes (Limerick and Galway) up on their feet, although officials in Dublin were more than surprised about the rocket start of the Cork scheme. He pointed out that “in Dublin, we had to wait five years to see how the [Dublin Bikes] system developed and to understand usage patterns. In Cork, however, the emergence of a cycling culture appears to be happening on a fast track.“ Coordinated promotion from various sides and bodies, many of them part of the TMF, such as Cork Cycling Campaign, the Cork Councils, UCC and others, are making a valuable contribution to that success.
For more information visit: Transport & Mobility Forum (Cork) and Cork Cycling Campaign
Inspired by the words of John F. Kennedy: “Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike”
Presented by Cyclist.ie and Waterford Walk & Cycle Campaign
April 25th – May 7th, Index Gallery, Central Library, Waterford
For our February public meeting, we are delighted to be exploring a very different topic – the cycling adventures of Ciaran Hussey and Laura McMorrow through Mongolia and other exotic places as recounted by themselves! Below is a taster they have sent us. We look forward to welcoming a big crowd to this meeting on Monday 8th February.
Two years vying for elbow space in a densely populated Japanese city resulted in daydreams of vast open spaces and rolling hills. Last summer after months of planning we packed our panniers, oiled our chains and headed for Mongolia to begin our journey home by bike. Over the course of the next four and a half months we cycled through 12 countries. We pedaled past camels in Mongolia, Ladas in Russia, stray dogs in Romania and all the while we wondered what we would find around the next bend.
Ciaran Hussey is from Galway and is a mixed media artist. He studied art and design at Limerick School of Art and Design and received a Masters of Fine Art at the University of Ulster, Belfast. He lived and worked in Japan for a number of years where he developed a love for cycle touring. He considers himself a leisurely cyclist rather than a competitive cyclist and enjoys most aspects of bike culture.
Laura McMorrow is a visual artist from Leitrim. She studied art in Limerick School of Art and Design and holds an MA from the University of Ulster in Belfast. She doesn’t have a background in cycling but loves the outdoors and has a good sense of direction!
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