launch of the vision for cycling in rural ireland

Thursday 30 July 2020

A Vision for Cycling in Rural Ireland
Launched by’s Rural Cycling Collective

During the lock-down period of restricted travel, one widely remarked phenomenon was the large increase countrywide in the numbers of people of all ages out walking and cycling. 

A desire to retain that peace and freedom, together with the promise by the new coalition government of an annual €360 million spend on walking and cycling infrastructure has led to the formation of a new Rural Cycling Collective. Comprising an array of groups and individuals under the umbrella of the wider national advocacy network, the group is focused on making rural communities (towns, villages, and rural roads) cycle-friendly for all ages and abilities. It aims to re-balance the debate on active travel so that everyday journeys by bike across rural Ireland are enabled and supported.


Launching the manifesto, Joan Swift, speaking on behalf of Sligo Cycling Campaign – a member group of – said 

Today, we launch our vision document which aims to promote and celebrate everyday cycling in towns, villages and their surrounding areas.  We are launching the Rural Cycling Collective to highlight the needs of areas outside of the major cities. We are campaigning for a fair distribution of transport funding to regional parts of the country to make cycling for all ages and abilities a reality.   Our 8 identified priorities have the potential to completely transform our communities.


The collective is calling on Local and National Government to: 

  1. Create an environment in our towns, villages, and rural roads where cyclists are expected and respected.
  2. Create and map useful, connected cycle routes throughout Local Authority areas.
  3. Implement best practice design so that routes are safe and comfortable for all ages and abilities.
  4. Prioritise safe cycle routes to schools and car-free zones at school gates.
  5. Lower Speed Limits to make our roads and streets safer and more accessible for everyone, and to reduce casualties.
  6. Ensure clear and timely access to funding by improving capacity at all levels of local and national government.
  7. Collaborate with all stakeholders – including cycling and community groups – at all stages of planning and design.
  8. Provide cycle training for all ages especially children

Taken together, these measures would transform active travel throughout Ireland. The co-benefits would include improvements to health, safety, congestion, air-quality, noise levels, and the public realm. More cycling will also help us to meet our climate change obligations. Speaking ahead of the launch, Anluan Dunne from Kerry Cycling Campaign said:

We can be a voice for areas of Ireland that have not yet realised the potential of cycling for everyday activities – cycling to school for children, to work, to the post office for your pension, to shops to buy a litre of milk – or to cycle around to your neighbours for a catch-up. We need to change how we develop our towns, villages and rural roads and we need our collective voice to be heard 

At a recent family fun cycle in Clonakilty as part of the multi-location launch of the Vision for Cycling in Rural Ireland, there was an overwhelming feeling that both children and adults love exploring their local neighbourhoods and areas on their bicycles, and that cycling needs to become an everyday part of life in Ireland again. 

Jo Sachs-Eldridge, from Leitrim Cycling Festival, who led the creation of the vision, invites everyone – people who cycle, people who don’t cycle, want-to-be cyclists, mums, dads, planners, councillors, Ministers and An Taoiseach – to get involved in shaping this vision and helping to make it a reality. 

To find out more, add your support, share your feedback go to




The Rural Cycling Collective plans to foster collaboration amongst cycling groups across Ireland and to jointly lobby local authorities and public representatives for the changes which will entice more people to choose the bicycle for everyday activities. It will also work towards a cycle-friendly Ireland by collaborating with all stakeholders, organising regular events, fun-cycles and campaign actions.

MORE INFO – the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network is the umbrella body of cycle campaigning and advocacy groups in Ireland – It is the member for Ireland of the European Cyclists’ Federation –

Further information on’s Rural Cycling Collective is available here:

Our vision can be found here:

You might also like to check out the blog of the Leitrim Cycling Festival and their article on The Rural Cycling Collective and why its worth shouting about it!


Joan Swift, Sligo Cycling Campaign, a member group of
Phone: 087-9622234
Email: [email protected]

Anluan Dunne, Kerry Cycling Campaign, a member group of
Phone: 085-703-6888
Email:  [email protected]

Dr. Damien Ó Tuama, National Cycling Coordinator, and An Taisce
Phone: 087-2840799
Email: [email protected] 


High-Resolution photos to use in Media from one of the launch event held in Clonakilty, Co Cork (event hosted by the Clonakilty Bicycle Festival)

1 – Mum & Daughter ‘ A vision for cycling is a vision for the future’ credit Anna Groniecka

2- Father & Son – safe routes to school – credit –  Anna Groniecka

3 – Ari Grounds – I want to cycle more – credit Anna Groniecka

4- Young girl – lower speeds credit Anna Groniecka

5 – Street scene in Clonakilty – no credit needed

Please include credit where included in the .jpeg name.’s Rural Collective

Last week a Zoom meeting was called for any interested groups, to discuss creating a new sub-collective of in order to build a mutual support network to promote and celebrate cycling in towns, villages and in between.  Cyclist groups introduced themselves and discussed their strengths, challenges and the vision for the collective. As smaller ‘rural’ groups often struggle with fewer volunteer resources, expertise, and energy than larger city-based initiatives, by banding together the idea is that they will be able to move forward more efficiently and effectively, with mutual support (and with less-burnout!).

Towns and cities represented at the meeting were Thurles, Bandon, Skiberreen, Clonakilty, Kilkenny, Leitrim, Sligo, Navan, Bandon, Kerry and Wexford.

While the mission and manifesto of the collective are currently being worked on with a launch expected later this month, the aim is to work alongside one another to better engage and work with relevant authorities and stakeholders, and to help bring forth a national transition towards a cyclist-friendly Ireland. To spread the love of bikes and work towards their manifesto goals, the collective will propose regular actions, fun-cycles and campaigns that member groups can host in their own communities. By joining forces to gain momentum, allies, and media attention the sum of their local actions will be greater than the sum of the parts.

If you, as a  group or individual  would like more information, or to get involved, please contact Allison Roberts ( Executive Member/Clonakilty Bicycle Festival)

Clonakilty Bicycle Festival

The team at the Clonakilty Bicycle Festival started a podcast!  Now on it’s 7th episode it was started to spread the news about their festival and have decided to keep it going on a weekly basis year round!   Already on the podcast at are interviews with Tahverlee, Mairead Forsythe (Love30), a cycle-history of West Cork, an episode with Cycle Bus leaders from around the country and more!

You can find the Clon Bike Cast most places you get your podcasts, or here. Please share and subscribe!

The Clonakilty Bicycle Festival had it’s 9th year in June at it was a roaring success, by branching out and re-envisioning what was possible in the lock-down organizers put together a programme of ‘anywhere in the world’ events, live streaming talks, film screening with director Q&A and more. Thank you to all who joined in, especially for our Global Scavenger Hunt which had 28 teams and over 100 participants from all corners of the globe. We are so looking forward to next year – our 10th Clon Bike Fest – we are already hatching plans to take over Clon with bikes… will you join us?

Get in touch with us at [email protected]  or

North West Greenway Network – survey

Survey published regarding Buncrana greenway in Donegal – win a commuter bike worth €500

In Donegal, as part of the Council’s work for the Environmental Impact Assessment Report (required as part of the planning process), the local Council has published a survey soliciting feedback from the general public regarding their cycling and walking preferences, particularly if a greenway linked Derry and Buncrana.

There is a section on the requirements of tourists, so feedback from outside the area is also sought.

The survey can be found here:

The deadline for completing the survey is Tuesday 14 July 2020.

Ronan Gallagher
Communications Officer
North West Greenway Network
Roads & Transportation
Donegal County Council at ecf AGM 2020 was delighted to be part of the AGM of the European Cyclists’ Federation on Thursday last 25 June 2020. is the member for Ireland of ECF. 

Irish cycling campaigners have been engaged with the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) for over 20 years, while ECF itself goes back to 1983 when some of the larger national associations came together to form a federation of cycling bodies. The aim was to pool advocacy expertise and to affect change at a European level and especially through the European institutions. 

Some of the earliest ECF campaigns focused on the development of long-distance (EuroVelo) cycling routes and on the carriage of bikes on trains, both of which are still current issues – see EuroVelo and TEN-T network: a tandem to fight for and More than half of all major train connections in Europe are not suitable for cyclists

For the last 10 years, has been increasingly plugged into the ECF, and from 2013 to 2016 was part of the ECF’s Leadership Training Programme for ECF member organisations ‘punching above their weight’ in changing mobility policy at a domestic level – see Cycling and Bonding in Sofia with our Continental Colleagues

One of the pleasures of taking part in the AGM – albeit an online version over Zoom this year – is to connect with campaigners from ECF’s member organisations (74 in 47 countries representing 210,000 individual members). ECF now has new leadership in the form of two co-CEOs, Jill Warren and Morten Kabel (see Staff), and an eight-member board spanning the four corners of Europe. The current ECF President is Christophe Najdovski, Deputy Mayor of Paris for Transportation, Mobility, Roadway and Public Space, while Damien Ó Tuama from is a board member since 2016. All in all, there is a strong team working on behalf of cyclists’ interests at an EU level and supporting member organisations at a national level. 

This year’s AGM approved the 2019 ECF Annual Report which includes a section on the hugely successful 2019 Velo-city International Conference which took place in Dublin – see ECF_Annual_Report_2019.pdf. Two new member organisations joined ECF – the Hungarian Cycling Tourism Association (as a full member) and Funbici from Spain (as an associate member). The membership also approved a new 2030 strategy for ECF which will be developed into a public document over the coming period. 

The year ahead is looking particularly intriguing with ECF advancing work on multiple fronts including collecting detailed information about the measures taken by local and national authorities for the recovery after COVID-19 quarantine (see European COVID-19 Cycling Measures Tracker Released Today), and advocating for a significant slice of the COVID-19 Recovery Package to be spent on cycling (as per the graphic immediately below). A related focus is around the The European Green Deal – A huge opportunity for cycling

In summary,’s membership of ECF is valuable to us in being part of a broader European movement to create a low carbon mobility system and more liveable communities, and learning from our colleagues. 

Please Contact us in if you would like to be kept abreast of what is happening at the European level in cycling advocacy.