Bike Week 2023 – Highlights

Bike Week was, once again, another action-packed week of events for Our local groups organised a wonderful array of events for all ages and abilities countrywide. A credit to everyone involved for all of their brilliant volunteering work in running events. 

Below is just a sample of some of the events that’s groups ran over the course of the week in May. 

Ideally we would like to see Bike Week replaced by Bike Month so that we avoid having so many totally amazing events clashing – we would like to be able to visit and support our cycle campaigning comrades in adjacent counties. This is something will be working on over the coming months. 

If you have ideas for future Bike Week events, do please get in touch. / National Level Focus events
Starting with an event organised by the Executive Committee (and thanks, in particular to our Vice-Chairperson, Dave Tobin here!) and run in collaboration with the Oireachtas All Party Cycling Group, we were delighted to facilitate the annual Bike Week Cycle with Oireachtas staff, TDs and Senators on Tuesday 16 May 2023. Following photos at Leinster House, the group took part in an easy going group cycle on the streets encircling the Oireachtas Buildings.

Full details at 

Dublin Cycling Campaign
Dublin Cycling Campaign volunteers helped at a host of events all across the four Dublin local authorities, as well as organising a couple of events themselves. Here are just a few highlights: 

  • A lovely Sunset Cycle in Phoenix Park on the evening of Wednesday 17 May, organised by Dublin City Council, Fingal County Council, and the OPW. With the route closed to traffic, and fabulous tunes from I Bike Dublin, cyclists of all ages enjoyed a safe and relaxing spin around the Park. 
  • Sandymount Community Cycle Bus cycle on Sunday 21 May, organised by Dublin Cycling Campaign and Educate Together Cycle Bus. About 120-150 people gathered in Sandymount Green after the event.
  • Pedalpalooza Parade on Sunday 21 May, a joyous parade through Dublin out to Ringsend Park for Pedalpalooza. 
  • Clontarf History Tour by bike on Friday 19 May:
  • Bicycle Kicks 2.0’ on Saturday 20 May in association with Bohemians FC: 

Also, Dublin City Council made a series of videos called ‘Why We Cycle’, one of which featured Chair of the Board of Dublin Cycling Campaign CLG, Mairéad Forsythe. The series is a vivid illustration of the diversity of people who cycle, and of the type of journeys they make. Watch here: 

A full list of events organised can be read here – and see also the Community Gardens Cycle info below.

Fingal – Skerries Cycling Initiative (SCI) / 

Skerries is now without a local bike shop, so as part of Bike Week 2023 this year SCI held its first pop-up bike repair session on 13 May at our Bike Shed (behind The Little Theatre), where we carried out repairs on eight bikes brought in by their owners on the day. We have also been working on bikes previously donated by Skerries residents which will be passed on to new owners. We want to develop a community bike workshop as a place to share bike repair and maintenance skills with those eager to learn such essentials as how to repair a puncture, fix the brakes and replace a worn-out chain.

On Saturday 20 May we had our community cycle, starting at Skerries Mills and finishing at the Seapole on Red Island. We were delighted that Stephen and Emma from Fingal Active Travel team could join us.

The Skerries Cycling Without Age trishaw was launched in early May and was  operating during Bike Week. Bookings can be made through the Fingal County Council website

Several members of SCI have been trained as pilots for the trishaw and report that bookings are increasing as people get to know about this great free service.

Galway Cycling Campaign 
Galway Cycling Campaign organised several well attended and very innovative events over the course of Bike Week. Here is but a flavour of them!

We organised a Family Cargo Bike Festival in Claude Toft Park, Salthill on Sunday 14th May. The sun shone on everyone, and we had huge interest from young and not so young. There was face painting and lots of refreshments on offer.

Most importantly we had lots and lots of different types of cargo bikes for people to try and to admire.

Biking to the match to support the Tribesmen

On Sunday 21st May we organised a bike valet at Pearse Stadium for the Leinster Senior Hurling Championship clash between Galway and Antrim. Working closely with Galway GAA County Board and Galway City Council, racks for 50 bikes were installed within the stadium for supporters to use. There were volunteers on hand to guide spectators arriving by bike to the racks and to supervise bikes during the match.

By half-time the racks were overflowing – showing the huge demand among local hurling fans for secure, convenient cycle-parking at games. We distributed loads of prizes and treats to kids arriving by bike, the star of the show being “hurling clips” which enable kids to attach their hurls to bikes securely while cycling to training. Everyone had a great day, and the Galway hurlers  won too!

Leitrim Cycling Festival – Ballinamore : 19th – 21st May 2023 / 

Every year Leitrim Cycling Festival seeks to showcase the cycling potential and talented community of a different town or village in the county. But this year was a little different because, for the first time, a community has invited our roving festival to take over their town for a weekend of celebrations and cycling. And the community couldn’t have been more welcoming! We were so excited to share all of this with our festival goers.

L-R: Siobhán McNamara, Jo Sachs Eldridge and Dave Tobin 

The weekend celebrations started on Friday 19th May with a lap of the town, followed by the official launch by Cathaoirleach Ita Reynolds and Sean O’Suillebhain in the Island Theatre. Following the launch everyone joined the feast and the screening of the film ‘Women Don’t Cycle’ documenting what it’s like to cycle in different countries as a woman. After the film there was an opportunity to enjoy the exhibition launch in Solas Art Gallery and a trad session in Shortts pub. 

On Saturday 20th May there was a Dr. Bike Session and a Bicycle Haiku Workshop in the morning, followed by the 5km Integrated Community Cycle for All along the Greenway with a stop for a picnic and Jay Ryan’s amazing Flea Circus on the way. There was also free ice-cream at the end thanks to the Leitrim-West Cavan Branch of DSI. 

On the Saturday afternoon a balance bike workshop was held, along with the sharing of inspiring cycle touring stories in Oman and fat-biking in Finland, plus art workshops, the annual slow bicycle race, woodfired Italian pizza, a games night for all the family and music in McGirls pub. 

On Sunday 21st May there was another cycle for all with the Intergenerational Cycle along the Blueway to Aghoo. For those who continued on to Fenagh Visitor Centre there was free tea and scones. And for the closing tea there was Ukrainian sweet treats for all to share. 

All events were free thanks to the generous sponsorship of Bike Week, Leitrim Sports Partnership, Leitrim County Council and Leitrim Tourism. 

Leitrim Cycling Festival wishes to pay a special thanks to everyone who attended and enjoyed the events! 

Meath – Navan Cycling Initiative
Navan was full of cyclists of all ages on Sunday 14th when Navan Cycling Initiative held an ‘Intro to the Boyne Valley Lakelands County (BVLC) Greenway’ community cycle, showcasing Navan’s fantastic new greenway – see HERE. Organised as part of Bike Week 2023, over 70 participants cycled from Market Square in Navan town centre to the new BVLC Greenway, located on Ratholdren Road. 

Assisted by Community Garda Frank Scully and the Navan Order of Malta (all on bikes), the cyclists made their way to the greenway and out to the old Gibbstown Station, with some venturing further to Wilkinstown. The group included young children, teenagers, families and pensioners on a mix of bicycles, e-bikes, trailers, cargo-bikes and hand-cycles, and a great day was had by all.

The Navan section of the new greenway was recently opened and is already proving to be extremely popular, with lots of walkers, cyclists, joggers and families all out enjoying it. When completed later this year, it will run for over 30km as far as Kingscourt.

Navan Cycling Initiative Chairperson Ed Moynihan said “it was great to see such a fantastic turnout for the cycle, as well as a huge number of Bike Week events happening all throughout the week. It really shows how popular cycling has become and we are seeing more and more people use the bike not only for recreation but also to beat the traffic and get around town. The past year has shown us that residents of all ages wish to use their bike to get to school or work, to shop or go to the gym, but to do this we need a safe and integrated cycle network, starting with safe access to the new greenway.”

We also held a Boyne Road/Greenway Loop evening cycle on Wednesday the 17th, which was a leisurely cycle along by the beautiful River Boyne and soon to be Boyne Greenway.

Cycling Without Age / 

Monday, 15th May
Clara Clark spoke about Cycling Without Age at the Pedal Vintage symposium “The Future of Cycling in Rural Ireland”, at Castle Durrow in Co. Laois. An impressive line-up of speakers from Co. Laois, including Laois Council, Laois Tourism, Active Travel, Portarlington Cycling Campaign, Durrow Community Family Bike Hub, and others. Cycling Ireland and Cycle Ireland Community Bike Rides, as well as Joan Swift of on Rural Cyclist Collective.  Laois seems very committed to making active travel meaningful in the county.

Clara speaking at the Durrow Pedal Vintage Symposium, 15th May 

Tuesday, 16th May:
Cycling Without Age participated in a flotilla of bikes for a photo call and short cycle with politicians of all persuasions at the Dáil to promote Bike Week and Climate Change. This event was organised by and Limerick Cycling Campaign’s Dave Tobin, and was very well attended and promoted on social media by the politicians. See story above. Fingal Council, Dublin City Council, Dodder Valley Cycling and many other places with trishaws also participated in Bike Week events. 

CWA joining with politicians for a Dáil cycle on 16th May 

Sligo Cycling Campaign
Sligo Cycling Campaign organised three events for Bike Week. On Sunday 14th May we kicked off Bike Week with a Pedal Parade along the bike route from Doorly Park to Clevergh Park where pedallers were able to join in the skills and drills activities organised by Sligo Sports Partnership.

On Wednesday 14th we held two events, each of which was a first for us. At lunchtime we took fifty 1st and 2nd class pupils from Scoil Ursula along with 18 parents on a school cycle, cycle bus style! There was wild excitement in the school yard and at the ice-cream stop in the park! The event was deemed a great success and a harbinger of what could happen when work on  the Safe Routes to School / #SRTS has been carried out! 

On Wednesday evening we did a biodiversity cycle, visiting Cranmore Community Garden to hear about and see gardening for biodiversity in action and then we took part in a foraging experience with Gaby Wieland of Neantóg Kitchen Garden. Cranmore made us very welcome as usual and it was lovely to hear new participants say “Oh, I often passed by here but never knew what goes on!” The foraging was a revelation! Who knew so many edible plants were growing on our doorstep or that wild herb pesto and hawthorn lemonade would be so delicious!

Dublin Community Garden Cycle 2023
Dublin Cycling Campaign and Dublin Community Growers hosted a leisurely cycle tour of some of Dublin’s wonderful community gardens.

There were two main routes: Northside from Santry to Mansion House or Raheny to Mansion House

Southside from the Stillgarden to Mansion House

Forty people took part in the cycle (we had to close registration early due to demand!). Both routes stopped off at four community gardens on the way where they were welcomed by the gardeners who showed them around and gave a talk on the garden itself.

These gardens are often on former building sites or waste ground, and to see the work these gardeners have put in over the years is truly inspiring.

The two routes converged at the Mansion House where the Lord Mayor, Caroline Conroy, who was also on the cycle, hosted us for refreshments.

Each route took approximately 2.5hrs (okay the Southside route was late – my bad) and was open to all cycling abilities.

Thanks to John O’Donoghue in Dublin Community Growers and the marshals from Dublin Cycling Campaign for a great day out

Here are some photos of the day:

Lord Mayor, Caroline Conroy and cyclists before heading off from the magical Santry Community Garden on Dublin’s northside

Cyclists getting ready for take-off from the recently established Raheny Community Garden on Dublin City’s northside 

StillGarden, Inchicore – part of the StillGarden distillery. They use herbs from the garden to flavour their gin!

Flanagan’s Field, Dublin 8

Taplin’s Field, Dublin 8

Meeting up at Donnycarney’s hidden gem, Mucky Lane community garden

The new polytunnel at Raheny Community Garden

Another Donnycarney Mucky Lane photo

Participants in the Mansion House Garden. Tired but well fed and happy 

Bikes And Bugs Parade (Dublin)
Eamonn Ceannt Park, Crumlin, Dublin 12
2pm, Saturday 20th May 2023 (International Bee Day)

Celebrating the joys of cycling and the richness of biodiversity by dressing bicycles and riders up as bumble bees, grasshoppers, ladybirds and more, and cycling and walking all around Eamonn Ceannt Park. 

There was a great buzz and every one of all ages from 12 months old to those young at heart, had a wheelie great time on the parade which was accompanied by I Bike Dublin’s sound system. 

Thanks to The Bike Hub for hosting the making of many of the costumes and to volunteers from The Bike Hub, Cycling Without Age, I Bike Dublin, and Dublin Cycling Campaign.

The bugs and bikes in Sundrive Park!

Claire Anne Tobin,
Organiser extraordinare 
The Green Roots Project

Links to some posts on social media

Naas Cycling Campaign
The Naas Biodiversity Cycle was a fantastic event held in partnership with Naas Biodiversity Group. It comprised a leisurely cycle around the various projects that the Naas Biodiversity Group has been working on over the last few years. 

The group ready to head off from Monread Park 

After a pleasant park cycle, the group took to the Naas streets to reach the canal, before checking out a pocket forest and learning all about native hedge laying and a local community garden. 

Areas visited included:
– Monread Park, which is being managed for Biodiversity, by encouraging wildflower meadows with mown paths and fringes 🌸🌼
– 🌿A recently planted native Hedgerow in Monread
– 🌿Naas Harbour with potential for biodiversity spaces, fruit trees and community growing

Checking out the pocket biodiversity spaces in Naas Harbour 

🌿One of the Biodiversity Group’s Pocket Forests, planted at K-Leisure earlier this year, which was in need of a bit of weeding! 😉

🌿Community garden at Jigginstown Green

An amazing evening of fun, learning, community, connection and meitheal 💚💪🏻🌱

Katie Smirnova explains about managed meadows and no-mow May

Many thanks to Katie Smirnova for leading the cycle and providing information on the work being done by the Biodiversity Group.

Cork Cycling Campaign
Cork Cycling Campaign delivered an ambitious programme of ten events across eight days, while catering for a wide variety of audiences. 

Vice-Chairperson, Kevin Long, kicked off Bike Week in Cork with Wheel of Time: Cork A Cycling Cities Initiative. The photo exhibit took us back in time with a selection of images of Cork (& bikes!) down through the years. 

Cycle to Zumba and Cycle to Yoga were enormous successes. With the support of Cork Sports Partnership and TFI Bikes in Cork, we hosted two wellness events for women with opportunities for people to pick up cycling for the first time in decades!

Cork Cycling Campaign focused on bringing the campaign, music and biking accessories to communities where cycling is re-emerging as a form of transport. Northside Cork City celebrated Bike Week with the campaign in Hollyhill and Mayfield and later in the week we were graciously hosted by Togher Community Garden.

On Wednesday, we visited the historic VQ where we hosted local business owners and, with thanks to City View Wheels, allowed people to take on the hills with eBikes! Over lunch, we discussed making bikes a key part of MacCurtain St. redevelopment.

On #5KFriday, Cork Cycling Campaign soaked in the sun with a musical cycle around Blackrock, concluding for coffee at the Marina Market. 

On Saturday, we held the Wobbly Bike Show with Cork’s The Circus Factory – a wonderful hour of entertainment and picnic with bells for all! 

Bike Week ended with a screening of Manon Brullard’s Women Don’t Cycle and Croatian delicacies and coffee to celebrate an extraordinary programme. 

Throughout, we engaged with hundreds of Corkonians – novice cyclists and long-term members and plenty of people considering the shift to cycling! We were graced with wonderful weather, a willing group of volunteers and excellent support from Cork Sports Partnership and Cork City Council. 

Athenry, Co.Galway – The Wheels of Athenry
Athenry CycleFest took place on Saturday on the 13th of May in Athenry Town Park. There was bike bubbles and face painting for the younger kids, and a safe cycle around the park on their balance bikes and trikes on our Wee Wheelers cycle loop.

For bikes that have been in the back of the shed for too long, we had our experienced mechanic on hand to give it a Bike to Basics health check.

In the afternoon we had the 9th annual Athenry Pedal Parade – a leisurely spin around the streets of our historic town. There were prizes for the best dressed, decorated bike (winner of the much sought after Golden Tricycle!), and youngest participant. 

For folk that didn’t have time to decorate their bikes beforehand, we had a Glam Your Bike station to make sure it looked the part for the parade!

We also had vintage bikes, the launch of the new Athenry Geo-Caching Cycling Hunt (located on our scenic cycle trails), A giant bike wheel, an information stand about a new Athenry Cycle Bus, cargo bikes, and specially commission cycle floats, banners, and wheel wind catchers hanging from the trees!

Over the last three years Athenry CycleFest has grown from 50, to 200, to nearly 500 people coming along!  We hope it’s a sign of change for Athenry. We’ve lots of challenges… but even more opportunities.

More further information on and photos of events, see:

Facebook event page:

Athenry CycleFest 2023 Video:





Poetry in Motion was a poetic pedal around the streets of Athenry – poetry to move you, with poems of love and nature and, of course, bikes!

For just over an hour, this group cycle took us on a journey around the streets of Athenry stopping along the way to read poems and verses that capture and heighten the spaces and places of our journey.

This cycle was designed to be suitable for an occasional or inexperienced cyclist.

For anyone who was inexperienced or had mobility issues, we had a six person ‘Spider Bike’ on hand to share the cycle.

We finished up with a provided picnic in the Town Park.

More further information on and photos of events, see:

Facebook event page:

Poetry in Motion Video:





Kinsale Loves Bikes
Kinsale Loves Bikes held a community Kinsale Railway Hidden History cycle on Wednesday May 17th exploring local infrastructure relating to the Kinsale Railway which was decommissioned in the 1930s. Over 20 enthusiastic participants turned up on their bikes and cycled to various sites to learn about Kinsale’s railway history from local history enthusiast, Brian McCarthy. The cycle concluded with a social chat with tea and cakes.

More images viewable at

Clonakilty Bike Circus
With funding support from Cork County Sports Partnership, we kept Xmas Yard busy for all seven days of Bike Week. We offered free safety checks & minor maintenance on a walk-in basis all week long as well as trishaw spins on the Silver Bullet. Additionally, we offered a daily special event, typically a lunchtime chat, about subjects of current interest.  This year we highlighted assistive cycling and our plan to offer free assistive cycling tutelage and equipment for use at the new Silver Bullet Depot at the Model Railway Village.  

Special thanks are due to Yard Dogz Anthony, Bridget, Gonzalo, Graeme, Janet, Mick, Oscar, and Stephen all of whom lent a hand. Isaac and Bridget’s participation with their assistive tandem helped us highlight Clonakilty as autism friendly and underscored the Circus’s inclusiveness mission.

A more detailed report on the week’s events can be read here. 

All Week:   
We offered free bike safety checks, free Silver Bullet lifts, and information about upcoming events all week long. We cleaned, adjusted, and serviced approximately forty bikes during the week, mostly children’s, but had one or two rambling cyclists who stopped in to top up their tyres and check their gear while passing through Clon. The Silver Bullet was out and running every day. I touted our courses and pressed printed literature into all open hands. Non cyclists stopped to admire our gardens and offer their thoughts on the state of cycling in Ireland today.  We happily engaged these people and told them of our everyday cycling mission.  I played my favourite role, cyclevangelist. 

Saturday, 13/05 Family Picnic Group Cycle: 
This opening event was surprisingly successful. We had about twenty-four participants, at least one-third of whom were young children. We cycled out the Inchydoney Marsh Road and returned to Clonakilty’s Sensory Park at the Model Railway Village to eat and talk about family cycling. While there we walked around the site of our future Silver Bullet Depot discussing how best to present it to the public. 

Monday, 15/05 – Wind In Your Hair – Assistive Cycling: 
Like all of the themed talks, this morphed into a day-long subject chat as people came and went into the Yard as they pleased, ignoring my well-planned schedule. Over the day, about two dozen people expressed interest and were given talking tours of the assistive cycles on display.  There was considerable interest in the assistive tandem and in the hand cycle lent to us by their users. All six of the displayed bikes generated discussion of the right to ride a bike and use the public roads by everyone, even those who cannot ride a simple push-bike. 

Tuesday, 16/05 – Randonnée, Born to Ramble: 
This was our least successful topic, perhaps because the true long-riders are a quiet kind of elite. Three or four people drifted in during the day and we talked about panniers, one-by gearing, and stealth camping. The topics were fun and the discussion lively, but we never achieved a group of more than one or two at a time. If we do this event in future it would need better promotion, perhaps by spotlighting a particular adventure cyclist, Isabell or Graeme. We have long riders in Clonakilty, but they’re shy.

Also on our topic plate on Tuesday was how to ‘pre-flight children’s bikes’ for safety.  This, as previously mentioned, was a week-long task for our mechanics. However, about five groups drifted in with bikes to look at. Not-surprisingly, most of the safety issues identified were created by incompetent assembly of new bikes. This gave our mechanics an opportunity to grouse about cut-rate bike sellers. 

Wednesday, 17 May – Bike Fabrication & Modification: 
This event brought out Brian, a local creative artist who works in bikes. Oscar and Graeme, our own mad welders, created a kind of critical mass with Brian and the day was dominated by spins on silly bikes, including two which appeared spontaneously, and our own toy penny-farthing. 

Thursday, 18 May –  Ebikes Explained & Critiqued: 
Power bikes aren’t the hot topic they were last year, but there is still plenty of interest.  Of all our proposed topics, this one was the most diffused. However, over the Bike Week celebration, we had many engagements and, we hope, some of these helped increase understanding of the factors to consider in approaching an eBike purchase.

Literature of Cycling:
Our afternoon foray into armchair wanderlust was great fun. In attendance was our local long-riding adventuress, Isabell, who has cycled the Wild Atlantic Way and, just to get here, cycled from Switzerland to Clonakilty. 

Friday, 19 May – Keep on Bikin’:
The event drew no takers on the scheduled hour but was popular all week drawing casual visitors including a few older people from Clon who have never before joined us.  This pleased me as the senior demographic is notably lacking in the Bike Circus and in Clonakilty cycling.

Saturday, 20 May – Tour de Ville:
To my surprise and delight this little event was very well attended.  We had toddlers on draisines and even an old person (me) in the Silver Bullet.  Cycling for everybody was a reality.

By my rough count, we had one hundred-fifty engagements over the week with a significant number of mothers with children and older people. Cargo bikes were of interest to the families and eBikes attracted the older people.  The interest in bike fabrication, modification, and power-fitting was perhaps our strongest shop draw. 

We serviced more bikes than anticipated, nearly exhausting our stores of cables, housing, and brake blocks. The Yard Dogzs were heads down and working most days. Thanks, gang. People were, of course, delighted to have consumable parts/supplies paid for by Cork Bike Week.

Notwithstanding my own default setting for shop-based events, the group cycles were clearly the most popular of our offerings. People enjoy getting on their bikes and riding as a group, being silly, blowing bubbles, and waiving at pedestrians.

We used the Bike Week festivities to advertise for Clonality’s own Bike Festival and the Circus’s educational ventures. This will prolong Bike Week into Bike Summer, we hope.

Finally, the events and buzz helped raise the funding necessary to move forward on the Silver Bullet Depot project. It should be in place and beginning to function this summer. sends a sincere thanks to all of our groups who ran so many brilliant events during Bike Week 2023 – and who sent the reports above! All of these events are helping to make cycling more inclusive and part of our normal everyday lives. Maith sibh!

Velo-city 2023 Leipzig – Report from Cycling Solutions Ireland

Cillian O Boyle, Business Development Manager with Cycling Solutions Ireland, recently returned from Leipzig in Germany after attending the Velo-city conference. In his report below, he shares his experiences with of the latest edition of ECF’s Velo-city conference. As always, we encourage supporters of’s work to join up or make a donation so as to enable us to ramp up our cycling advocacy programme.

Velo-city Conference
Velo-city is the world cycling summit, where advocates, cities, decision and policy makers, researchers and industry leaders meet to shape the future of cycling. As the annual flagship event of the European Cyclists’ Federation, Velo-city plays a valuable part in promoting cycling as a sustainable and healthy means of transport for all.

Like no other event, the conference offers a knowledge-exchange and policy-transfer platform to the more than 1400 Velo-citizens from over 60 countries attending, involved in the policy, promotion and provision for cycling, active mobility and sustainable urban development. Taking place under the theme #LeadingTheTransition, Velo-city 2023 Leipzig asked the inevitable question: What future do we want to live in? 

Cycle Friendly Employer Scheme
Cycling Solutions Ireland (CSI), Ireland’s European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) certified cycle-friendly employer accreditors, were one of a number of Irish organisations represented at Velo-city in Leipzig. CSI were joined by the Department of Transport (DoT) in a programme discussion about the importance of cycle-friendly employer certification in the public sector. Carol Lodola of DoT gave a presentation on behalf of the Department. 

A group of people posing for a photo

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L to R: Froso Christofides (European Cyclists’​ Federation), Michael O’Boyle (CEO Cycling Solutions Ireland), Carol Lodola (Department of Transport)

Leipzig, Host City
Known for its rich history, vibrant culture, and state-of-the-art transport infrastructure, Leipzig was an ideal host city for Velo-city 2023. Attendees were provided with the use of Nextbikes from the TIER bike sharing scheme in Leipzig during the conference 

Coming from a country that is still very car-centric, a few days spent in Leipzig opens up the mind to the possibilities available to cities that commit to shared mobility; or as Leipzig refers to it, the Environmental Alliance: walking, cycling and local public transport. The goal is to reach a 70% modal share of the environmental alliance (23% public transport, 23% cycling and 24% walking). In order to achieve this milestone, the city will invest more than 1.5 billion Euro in cycling, walking and public transport by 2030.

The city administration intends to create new cycling facilities on its main roads, expand bicycle parking facilities, build a bicycle parking garage at the main railway station and improve road maintenance on important cycle routes during the winter. A new last-mile logistic concept will also be implemented. This will see all deliveries destined for the city bundled outside the city centre and delivered with low-emission vehicles, such as cargo bikes. 

New opportunities to capitalise on Leipzig’s week in the cycling spotlight were not wasted. Decision makers in Leipzig’s local government teamed up with STADTRADELN, a climate alliance organisation, who gathered data on the most used cycling routes by attendees throughout the conference. The resulting data will be used by urban planners to propose new cycle lanes in the city. At the time of writing, over 1,700 kilometres of cycling data had been gathered by STATDRADELN. 

A map of a city

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Screenshot of STATDRADELN data gathering of cycling journeys

The Netherlands: Lessons from a cycling Mecca
The Netherlands wasn’t always a fietsparadijs (“bicycle paradise”). As with their counterparts, post-war planners were carving out space for the car in their cities; demolishing buildings and filling in canals. Converging (road safety and oil supply) crises in the 1970s set them off in a different direction, but it required a great deal of experimentation, as well as a few high-profile failures. It wasn’t until the mid-1990s that best practices were codified in national street design and road safety policies. The resulting principles have been a “game changer”, resulting in 20,000 kilometres of separated cycle paths—over half the existing network—in the past 25 years.

With fifty years of experience resulting in the highest levels of cycling on the planet, the Dutch are far from resting on their laurels. In fact, this success creates new pressures around space and speed in the city, with recent developments offering opportunities to build on it. 

A group of people on stage

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The five key learnings from Dutch experts at Velo-city 2023 were:

1) Start with a link, plan for a network: To provide for a maximum diversity of users, Dutch planners have learned to look beyond individual lanes, and think more holistically at the network level.

2) Don’t give up at the intersection: Knowing a network is only as good as its weakest link, and most collisions occur at these points, the Dutch-style “protected intersection” is a staple throughout the country.

3) The most important part of a bike plan is the car plan: As Dutch planners have discovered, measures that offer an attractive alternative to driving (“the carrot”) must be complemented with efforts to make driving indirect and inconvenient (“the stick”).

4) Design for the speed you want: When it comes to calming traffic, the reality is that engineering—not education or enforcement—is the biggest influence on the success of that scheme.

5) Use cycle tracks to feed mass transit (and vice versa): Rather than view cycling and mass transit as competitors, Dutch planners have learned to embrace them as allies, capturing their synergy in a virtuous circle of sustainable travel.

Velo-city Handover
Velo-city Leipzig wound down with a flag hand-over to next year’s hosts – the Belgian city of Ghent. The final sign off for an excellent week was a post-event party at Leipzig’s Moritzbastei, one of the city’s oldest fortifications, which now doubles as a performance and cultural centre. 

You would be forgiven for thinking Leipzig is an established city on the global conference scene, but this German city never had it easy – after German reunification, the Eastern city tumbled into decline, its population dropping to 437,000 in the mid-1990s. Since then, Leipzig has been reinventing itself at a rapid pace. The turn of the century, a pivotal period for the German city, saw Leipzig’s economy gather momentum, and the implementation of ambitious urban development policies saw people flooding back into the city. Today, its creative buzz and vibrant street life shape the image of a healthy, happy city. 

A large Irish cohort could be found around the Moritzbastei on closing night – an encouraging sign that our own country is becoming increasingly alert to the benefits that cycling can bring, when urban development policies allow for it. If Leipzig can do it, anyone can. 

Velo City 2024
For anyone interested in discovering the future of sustainable mobility in Europe, make sure to check out the plans for Velo-city Ghent 2024! sends its thanks to Cillian for his report above. We also refer our readers to the excellent report from Katleen Bell Bonjean from’s Executive Committee on her experiences at Velo-city. 

Velo-city 2023 Leipzig – Report – Katleen Bell-Bonjean

In the following article, Katleen Bell-Bonjean from’s Executive Committee (and Gort Cycle Trails) shares her reflections on the 2023 Velo-city International Cycle Planning conference that was held in Leipzig in Germany. The event was co-organised by the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF), of which is the member for Ireland, and the City of Leipzig.  As always, we encourage supporters of’s work to join up or make a donation so as to enable us to ramp up our cycling advocacy programme.

Mary Sinnott from Waterford and I were the two Executive Committee members that represented at this year’s Velo-city conference in Leipzig. With 1500 participants attending from around the world, it was the biggest Velo-city event yet. 

It was also a special event for me, as I was taking part in an international panel discussion about Pushing for Action – Leadership in Cycling. Keep on reading to find out more!

Mary and myself getting drenched at the Bike Parade

Check out this video compilation of the bicycle parade. I am glad to say that by the time we finished, the sun was shining 🙂

My main areas of interest are around cycle tourism, rural cycling routes / cycle safety, bike-sharing, cycling data about gender, and questions around how do you best design the public realm?

Giving the thumbs up at Velo-city!

Trends in Cycle tourism globally and various EuroVelo Routes
I found this session particularly interesting, with speakers from Canada, The Netherlands and  the ECF giving a detailed overview of usage stats on the various EuroVelo routes around Europe. As I live a short distance from Adrahan/Kinvara, one of the access points of EuroVelo #1 in the west of Ireland, I was keen to learn about the usage stats. Cycling tourism is becoming more popular in Ireland, and data shared showed that, even in winter, there are 52 cyclists using EuroVelo1, trebling in the summertime to 159.

One interesting statistic presented was about when people start during the day and when they take a break. In warmer countries like Spain or Portugal, cyclists tend to start earlier and have a break shortly after lunch for a siesta.

In Ireland, thanks to our maritime climate – read, it’s not that hot – cyclists tend to start later in the morning, and don’t have a siesta :). Find out more in the ECF Data hub.

Note that EuroVelo #1 in Ireland was recently officially opened and members of were there too! Check out this article

Pushing for Cycling: Leadership in cycling Panel Discussion
I was very excited in January when my abstract for this year’s conference was successful to talk about the social media campaign I headed up, and how we as a group of volunteers campaigned in the depth of Covid to advocate for the Athlone to Galway Greenway to come via Gort by collaborating with local communities along the route.

There were two further panelists from France and one from Australia, and in our warm-up call prior to the conference, I learned how a traumatic event was a catalyst for change in cycle safety in Australia. Stuart Outhred explained how Amy Gillett died after a car crashed into her near Leipzig. The  Amy Gillett Foundation is Australia’s leading cycling safety charity. Their vision is for zero bike rider deaths on Australian roads. 

Find out more about what #redroute5 has to offer here and the website of the Galway to Athlone Cycleway here. Below is my presentation:

There were a few questions posed during the panel discussion and the one that stood out for me was as follows – Your campaigns are great, but shouldn’t that be done by the local policy makers? I think it’s a good point, but I believe that sometimes grassroots community activists lead the way on topics to show the opportunity, and how working together can lead to real change.

The little city that could – Bike-sharing policy in Tartu
With a population of less than 100,000 persons, Tartu in Estonia may not be on anyone’s radar, as most bike share schemes focus on much larger populations. However, bike-sharing is very successful in Tartu because it is integrated with public transport. Once the user has a public transport pass, use of the bikes is free (or a very small charge). The result is that high school students were the biggest users! I talked to the presenter afterwards to find out if there was a breakdown in gender. As it turns out, there was no significant difference between boys and girls. Typically there are more boys cycling than girls, however this study shows that both genders equally used bikes.

NextBike Bike-sharing Scheme 
On that note, we were all given free access to a Nextbike, Leipzig’s main public bike-sharing company. I picked up my bike near the accommodation we were staying at. I still have to get used to seeing bikes parked at random places and the amount of graffiti in Leipzig!  There is  QR code at the back of the bike, and scanning the QR codes enables you to unlock the bikes – simples!

It was those bike locks that proved the weakest link in their bike-sharing scheme. Social media can be tricky… a TikTok video became viral where someone showed how you could smash the lock with a hammer and, in the space of a few days, their stock of functioning bikes went from 3000 to just 600. Eventually, they developed an in-house lock that was indestructible. A video was then made to show that no matter how hard you knocked on the lock with a hammer, the lock would not break. I never knew that vandalism is a real issue when operating a bike-sharing scheme! 

Public Realm: Practical  Workshop about a Leipzig junction
I found this one of the most interesting sessions as it was hands-on with real-life situations where we are asked to add public realm to what I would call a spaghetti junction somewhere in Leipzig where you have pedestrians, cyclists, trams , buses and, oh yes, cars:) There were a few questions to ask yourself: how would this new public realm make you feel, what use will this public realm have? As I am not an engineer, I found the maps hard to read, and as we started to understand what we were dealing with, our initial reaction was to just think about the cyclists. As this exercise was about public realm, it made me realize that when designing public realm projects you really have to design for all users and the status quo of traffic flow/speeds needs to be questioned. 

Thank you to for giving me the opportunity to attend. As always it was an invigorating conference with much knowledge sharing and proof that we are leading the transition! 

All images above were taken by Katleen Bell Bonjean except for the featured image which is an ECF photo – used with thanks to ECF. in Corella 2023! is delighted to be part of a European Commission funded Erasmus+ project that involves seven partner organisations from Spain, Portugal, Poland and Ireland. Five of these are schools (two from Spain and one each from Portugal, Poland and Ireland), while the other two are bicycle advocacy groups – Biciclistas de Corella (based in Navarre in the North of Spain) and

Following a call out to our members back in January, we gathered together a delegation of four to take part in the inaugural project meeting in Corella. The delegation comprised Emily from Leitrim Cycling Festival, Reg from Galway Cycling Campaign, Hugh from Dublin Cycling Campaign and Damien (National Cycling Coordinator with and An Taisce) – all up for an adventure in the North of Spain!

L-R: Reg, Emily, Damien and Hugh – the (and An Taisce) delegation!

In this article, our four ambassadors offer some reflections on the trip with each of the crew focusing on one of the action packed days. 

Hugh’s reflections – on Friday (19 May)
Our day started in the local school, IES Alhama, the host partner of the trip. The school is named after the Alhama river which flows through the town. We had a series of presentations from representatives of each of the seven partners. It was great to see the creative talents of the various groups, particularly the pupils presenting in a foreign language. This was a lovely ice-breaker, giving us all an introduction to the other partners. Not too serious, and setting the tone for the following few days.

The Mayor welcomes the Erasmus+ partners to Corella.

Next up, we cycled to the town-hall, where the Mayor welcomed us and presented us all with the town’s bandana. Viva!  

Now that we were suitably dressed, off we went for a cycle tour around the old narrow streets of Corella – perfect for bikes, and any cars on the route gave us plenty of time and space.

There were guides organised to show us around some of the old churches, beautifully adorned in gold.  Reg even got the keys to the castle, although they kept a close eye until he gave them back!

Once the tours were done, we were back on the road – there would be no rest on this trip! We had a bit of a bike-malfunction en route, but luckily we had plenty of experts on hand who were well used to such challenges. Well done Damien for coming to the rescue!

Team Erasmus+ on the case

Our next stop was to Erasmus Park, an area that was derelict ten years ago. The community came together and created a lake, and planted numerous trees – as also did participants on some of the subsequent Erasmus+ trips (including one of the trips that / An Taisce took part in back in early 2019 – see here). Wildlife returned and it is now a haven for biodiversity. 

There is a nursing home closeby, and the residents are brought out by the local Cycling Without Age pilots. Interestingly, they have a different name for the trishaws – they call them “Yayaclettas”, which translates as “Grannybikes” – as emblazoned on the side of Biciclistas de Corella’s support van! This is a much friendlier name and instantly understood.

Emily’s reflections – on Saturday (20 May)
Our itinerary on Saturday had us up and out early to get on a bus to Zaragoza – a city about an hour’s drive from Corella.

We arrived outside the city’s famous palace called the Aljafería where we were treated to a guided tour. The palace was home to the Muslims and then to the Christian Kings of the Kingdom of Aragon and is now where the parliament of the Region of Aragon is housed. It is an extremely beautiful and well preserved building.

Photo Credit: Biciclistas de Corella –

After that we were taken to La Ciclería which is an inspiring bike workshop/cafe where you can bring your bikes and either use the workshop space and tools to repair your own bike or get it repaired by the in-house mechanics. While you’re there you can enjoy a coffee and cake. We were also treated to a speedy bike tour of the city which took us along the city’s river.

Hugh passing over the River Ebro in Zaragoza on one of its new bicycle bridges

As Reg comments further below, I had no expectations of the trip and I had a fantastic time. The ease of cycling around Corella and Zaragoza was wonderful. The food that we were offered was delicious and the kindness which the local people showed us was heartwarming. Even though Corella looked like a small town it was brimming with culture and history.

Damien’s reflections – on Sunday (21 May)
It was lovely being back in Corella after spending time with the gang from Biciclistas de Corella and IES Alhama back in 2019. It feels like a very long time ago with a pandemic sitting between the two visits. On the other hand, it felt like just a few months since I spent time with Tono, Cristina and Chiefly and co, such was their hospitality, friendship and general sense of mischief!  

Photo Credit: Biciclistas de Corella –

Sunday was the hottest day of the trip and we headed off early on our 10-km Bike ride to Alfaro. The route taken was mainly on bone-try trails. We learned that the lack of rainfall in 2023 has been a real cause of concern to locals and is putting pressure on the irrigation systems needed for their allotments and wider food growing. 

Alfaro is well known for it storks, and especially the concentration of them nesting on the roof of the church. Directly across the road from the church is the stork interpretation centre where we learned that some of nests weigh close to 500kg. This puts serious pressure on the historic buildings. 

After cycling back to Corella and enjoying some fine outdoor dining and fresh produce, we had more little adventures later that evening visiting a cherry orchard and a vine-yard. 

Reg’s reflections – on Monday (22 May)
We were treated to a great intergenerational experience first thing Monday morning when we were met at Corella school by Santiago. He is 91 years young and he led us on the bicycle tour around the edge of the town to bring us to one of his two extremely well tended allotments. It was a lovely sight to see the students also on their bicycles following him. At the allotment he gave us a guided tour and we were able to pick some strawberries.

Reg holding the bespoke Insect Hotel

After this, we made our way to Villa Maria, the house and garden of local woman Maria, where we had spent some time earlier in the trip. Emily and Reg planted some pear trees.

Emily hard at work!

We then completed an operation to repair a broken limb on an almond tree.

Reg works for the national Ambulance Service in Ireland, but this was his first time repairing a tree limb. This turned out to be a bigger job than we thought, but together with the students we came up with a plan which was supervised by our Spanish host Maria. We had to utilise the materials on site – some bed sheets torn into strips being the main components but we also needed some long poles and lots of man and woman power to raise the branch to its original position. A local was passing and he remarked on how professional it looked. We also learned that almond trees produce a lot of sap.

The day was finished off with a trip to a local social enterprise who employ people with varying abilities.

I had no idea what to expect before I departed for the trip, but I really enjoyed my Erasmus+ experience. As an adult when you holiday or do trips it is difficult to meet locals and to get involved in the local community. However, from the first day to the final day of this trip, it was all about the local communities and engaging with them while doing different activities.

In Short
All four of the delegation really enjoyed the exchange and wish to pay a special thanks to our fabulous hosts for putting together such a diverse programme and making us so welcome. We look forward to meeting them in Waterford in June! 

Note that more photos on the trip can be seen on the Facebook page of Biciclistas de Corella –