Cycling Ireland (CI), the national governing body for sports cycling in Ireland, has just launched its new strategy for the upcoming four years to 2024. It is a concise and well presented high level overview of what they plan to do, and sets tough targets to meet in all sectors that it operates in. It is a document well worth checking out for anyone interested in the development of cycling in Ireland, and we in Cyclist.ie commend CI on its targets and aspirations.
It is divided into three main pillars: Participation, Performance, and Enabling. Of particular interest to us, as cycling advocates, is the Enabling section which relates to the development of cycling overall and includes advocacy. CI does envisage a role for itself directly in cycling advocacy, but it is not yet clear exactly what that means in detail, and this will need to be teased out between CI and Cyclist.ie as we work together over the coming years. The ‘Participation Pillar’ also includes some aspirational targets in relation to ‘audit of facilities’, and ‘participation for all ages and abilities’.
As you may be aware, CI runs some really progressive cycle training programmes that are funded directly and indirectly by the state. The main training program is the national Cycle Right bike training initiative, but there are a variety of other often innovative programmes geared towards getting more people on bikes. It is good that there is a professional funded body helping to support these activities.
While naturally CI concentrates on competitive and sports cycling, as befits its national brief, it also places greater emphasis in this new strategy on ‘fun’ and ‘non competitive’ events. It recognises that there is a wider potential membership who wish to simply cycle for utility or leisure reasons. And like Cyclist.ie, CI has a strong volunteering culture which it proposes to develop further. CI and Cyclist.ie will, we hope, continue to work together as part of CI’s proposed ‘advocacy partner framework’, as this will be critical in the development of a deeper and broader cycling culture, and Cyclist.ie already has a basic Memo of Understanding with CI. The work that we do in Cyclist.ie is supportive and complementary in helping to build the foundations for the growth of cycling countrywide.
CI will continue to work with many of the same ‘actors’ or agencies as Cyclist.ie. We in Cyclist.ie look forward to enhancing cooperation across those links. All in all, the CI strategy is a challenging and worthwhile four year strategy doc with the different actors responsible clearly nominated, and timelines set. We in Cyclist.ie wish Cycling Ireland the very best with this new strategy and we look forward to increased and productive cooperation into the future.
Note: image above comes from the Axa Community Bike Rides.