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.