Category Archives: Irish Posts

Ireland, see also NI

Cyclist.ie Presents at Oireachtas Committee on Electric Vehicles

Earlier today, Tuesday 30 November 2021, Dr. Damien Ó Tuama, National Cycling Coordinator with Cyclist.ie and An Taisce presented at the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Environment and Climate Action on the topic of electric vehicles. 

Also presenting were Dr. Colm Byrne from Irish Doctors for the Environment, Brian Cooke, Director General of SIMI (Society of the Irish Motor Industry), and Marguerite Sayers and John Byrne from ESB’s ECars Division.

The main point Damien made at the session was that the discourse around e-mobility and electric vehicles has largely if not almost exclusively been dominated by e-cars. What we hear much less about is the role of e-bikes, e-trikes and e-cycling in decarbonising transport.

The Irish Times’ coverage of the session can be read here while The Journal.ie’s coverage can be read here

The full video recording of the (3 hour) session can be found here.

The video of Damien’s opening statement can be found directly below (with the text of it further down this page). 

Opening Statement:

Good afternoon Chairperson and members of the Committee. My name is Dr. Damien Ó Tuama. I am the National Cycling Coordinator with Cyclist.ie – the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network and An Taisce – the National Trust for Ireland. Cyclist.ie is the member for Ireland of the European Cyclists’ Federation. My own background is in mobilities research. 

E-mobility is not just about E-cars

The discourse around e-mobility and electric vehicles in Ireland has largely if not almost exclusively been dominated by e-cars. What we hear much less about is the role of e-bikes, e-trikes and e-cycling in decarbonising transport. 

And this mirrors what we hear internationally. At the COP Climate talks in Glasgow, there was a near-exclusive focus on electric cars and total absence of active mobility discussions during the official Transport Day. However in the end, the following text was included in the declaration:

We recognise that alongside the shift to zero emission vehicles, a sustainable future for road transport will require wider system transformation, including support for active travel, public and shared transport, as well as addressing the full value chain impacts from vehicle production, use and disposal. [1]

In thinking about increasing the use of e-bikes, it is worth noting here that the highest proportion of trips nationally are between 1-3km, as per the most recent NTA National Household Travel Survey. [2] 

Electric Assist Bikes and E-bikes – Broadening the use of Active Travel

E-bikes or Electric Assist bikes work by assisting the person on bike with a compact electric motor. Their pluses are many:

  • They enable users with quite basic levels of fitness to cover longer distances than on everyday bicycles, and this is particularly important in rural Ireland where distances between home and work/shops/GAA grounds other destinations are often longer than in cities. 
  • They make life much easier in hillier towns and cities – I’m thinking in particular here of Cork City, Kinsale, Drogheda, County Wicklow or plenty of other places. And this has a relevance for low carbon tourism as well. 
  • For parents wishing to ferry children around by bike, cargo bikes and e-cargo bikes make life much easier. We know that in Copenhagen there is approx 40,000 cargo bikes – used by many families there. [3] 
  • For cycle logistics in town and city centres, e-cargo bikes and trikes allow for smaller goods to be transported easily thus taking many heavy goods vehicles out of town centres – and we are all aware on this Committee of how difficult it is to electrify large HGVs. Research commissioned by the European Union concludes that 25% of all goods and 50% of all light deliveries in urban settings could be serviced by cargo bikes. 
  • For the mobility impaired, electric assist cycles open up and even transform their independent mobility opportunities. And older people. 

E-bikes are not just about decarbonising transport 

E-bikes provide the opportunity to:

  • Decongest towns and cities because of the much smaller space required for moving and parked vehicles, hence improve the economic vitality of smaller towns
  • Improve the liveability of towns with more space opened up for public space and businesses
  • Improve public health through being active travel vehicles
  • E-bikes use minimal resources compared to electric cars which are certainly not zero-carbon –  in terms of the mining the raw materials and rare earth elements in particular and energy used in manufacturing and disposal.

Policy Interventions

Amongst the policy interventions which will assist in the transition we are seeking are the following:

  • As for everyday bikes, the most important intervention is the creation of safe cycle routes in all of our towns and cities and rural areas – and that means dedicated infrastructure and lower / safer speed limits – especially in rural Ireland (see Cyclist.ie Rural Vision doc [5]). 
  • We need to think much more seriously about inter-modality – combining public transport with bikes or e-bikes for the same journey. This is particularly important in rural Ireland where the distances to public transport are much greater. We need high quality cycle parking and e-charging points at all PT stops/stations, public buildings and apartments etc.
  • Increase the subsidies for e-bikes on a par with e-cars. SEAI grants [6] are needed for e-bikes / e-cargo bikes.
  • Introduce a scrappage / trade-in scheme similar to France where old cars can be scrapped with a grant provided for an E-bike / cargo bike purchase [7].

In Conclusion

Worldwide, the transport sector is responsible for 24% [8] of direct CO₂ emissions from fuel combustion with the vast majority coming from cars, and these numbers are not decreasing [9]. We simply cannot afford to wait decades for fossil-fuel cars and trucks to be fully replaced by electric vehicles – a solution that will not in any case help solve other problems such as traffic congestion and sedentary lifestyles.

I’ll finish with a quote from Frans Timmermanns, the Executive Vice President of the European Commission with special responsibility for leading the Commission’s work on the European Green Deal. At the Velo-city 2021 conference in Lisbon in September 2021, he stated that

The Bicycle is the most important instrument in meeting climate change targets.”

Our policies need to reflect that truth.

Footnotes

[1] https://ukcop26.org/cop26-declaration-on-accelerating-the-transition-to-100-zero-emission-cars-and-vans/  

[2] https://www.nationaltransport.ie/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/National_Household_Travel_Survey_2017_Report_-_December_2018.pdf  

[3] https://cyclingindustry.news/cargo-bike-market-by-2030/ 

[4]  https://ecf.com/news-and-events/news/cargo-bike-crazy-potential-delivering-goods-bike-0 

[5] https://cyclist.ie/ruralvision/  

[6] https://www.seai.ie/grants/electric-vehicle-grants/  

[7] https://ecf.com/news-and-events/news/electric-bikes-replace-polluting-cars-france-introduces-innovative-scrappage  

[8] https://www.iea.org/reports/tracking-transport-2020 

[9] https://ec.europa.eu/clima/eu-action/transport-emissions_en 

Additional References

https://ecf.com/news-and-events/news/cop26-pro-cycling-campaign-backed-coalition-350-organisations-helps-achieve

https://www.interregeurope.eu/policylearning/good-practices/item/2867/last-mile-delivery-by-electric-cars-and-cargo-bikes-in-urban-areas/

Note

Image above from the ECF website – https://ecf.com/users/niccol%C3%B2-panozzo/trusted-content/webinar-cargo-bikes-cities. Used with thanks to ECF.  

Contact

Dr. Damien Ó Tuama
National Cycling Coordinator, 
Cyclist.ie http://cyclist.ie/ and An Taisce https://www.antaisce.org/
Vice-President, European Cyclists’ Federation (2016 – 2021) https://ecf.com/
E:  [email protected]

Dublin Cycling Campaign CLG AGM

Tuesday, 14 December 2021 – 8pm online

The Dublin Cycling Campaign CLG Annual General Meeting will be held on Tuesday, 14 December 2021 at 8pm. The Dublin Cycling Campaign CLG is the legal entity under which Cyclist.ie and Dublin Cycling Campaign operate.

The AGM is open to fully paid-up members of the Dublin Cycling Campaign and Cyclist.ie. You can register for the event here:

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_XNoO4A3CTLmO9lLVBzjcqQ

Agenda:

  • Approve Minutes of 2020 AGM
  • Review Financial Accounts
  • Provide an update on Governance Issues
  • Vote on any motions
  • Elections – there are no open positions on the board therefore there will be no elections
  • Submitting and voting on Motions

Member motions can be submitted by paid-up members and must be submitted to the Secretary ([email protected]) by 10th December 2021. Motions will be proposed and seconded by members. We will not accept any amendments to motions on the day so please make sure they are written as clear, actionable items for the board.

Key dates:

  • Final date of registration – 12th December 2021. Only fully paid-up members of Dublin Cycling Campaign and Cyclist.ie as at 5pm on 10th December 2021 can attend and vote at the AGM.
  • Send member motions to [email protected] by 10th December 2021
  • Final agenda including motions will be sent – 12th December 2021
  • Annual General Meeting – 14th December 2021 at 8pm

Streets 4 All NI – Webinar #2 – 25 Nov 2021

Streets 4 All NI’s second webinar will take place on Thursday 25th November 2021 from 8pm to 9pm.

In this webinar you’ll hear perspectives from Germany on the cycling industry, cycling advocacy, and progress in liveability, and from Northern Ireland on issues around transport and infrastructure development that affect the mobility of disabled people and older people.

Burkhard Stork is the Managing Director / CEO of Zweirad-Industrie-Verband (the German Bicycle Industry Association), and former Director of Allgemeiner Deutscher Fahrrad-Club (ADFC, the German National Cyclists’ Association).

Michael Lorimer is the Executive Secretary of IMTAC (the Inclusive Mobility and Transport Advisory Committee) which advises the Government and others in Northern Ireland.

You are very welcome to join this one hour webinar hosted by Cyclist.ie. Attendance is free, and registration is required – see here.

Limerick Greenway Inaugurated

The Great Southern Trail is Reborn as the Limerick Greenway

On Friday 5th November there was an official opening of the ‘Limerick Greenway’, formerly known as The Great Southern Trail (GST).  This refurbished old railway line has a long history of community activism and participation under the name of the GST, a Cyclist.ie member group, which ensured that the line of the railway remained in public ownership from Rathkeale to the Kerry border after the closing of the rail services in 1972.

Their activism and persistence over the years, often in the face of official neglect, has now seen the opening of a fully refurbished greenway that is getting great media and tourism coverage.  The present refurbishment will soon be complemented by a further section from the Kerry border to Listowel, and will eventually link all the way to Tralee and Fenit.  Funding has also been provided to begin the development of a link from Limerick City to Rathkeale.  Various other links out of Limerick northwards and Westwards are being planned, and no doubt the pioneering work of this local GST Group will soon see a necklace of greenways passing through Limerick!

I think we need to salute the great work of this model of community activism by the Great Southern Trail group, which has kept alive the memory of the steam railway age, and also a vision of a new active travel future!  Check out the 10 minute launch video here.

Open Letter to World Leaders at COP26

Cyclist.ie and ECF call on governments at COP26 to boost cycling levels to reduce carbon emissions and reach climate goals quickly and effectively

The European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) and a global coalition of 80 pro-cycling organisations, including Irish member Cyclist.ie, have issued an open letter calling on governments attending COP26 in Glasgow to commit to significantly increasing the number of people who cycle in their countries in order to reach global climate goals quickly and effectively.

The world needs much more cycling if we are to combat climate change. Without quicker and more determined action by governments worldwide to cut transport carbon emissions, we will be dooming present and future generations to a world that is more hostile and much less inhabitable.  Frans Timmermans, the Director of the EU Green Deal, says that ‘the bicycle is the most important instrument in meeting climate change targets’.

CO₂ emissions from the transport sector continue to increase. Meanwhile, the transition to zero-emission cars and trucks will take decades to complete and will not solve other problems like traffic congestion and sedentary lifestyles. Despite this, COP26 Transport Day on 10 November is set to focus exclusively on the electrification of road vehicles as a solution to the climate crisis we are facing today.  This proposal is too narrow focussed and will only lead to further road congestion, and continued inappropriate travel methods.  The bicycle and in particular Electric Bicycles has a major part to play.

ECF and its allies believe cycling represents one of humanity’s greatest hopes for a shift towards a zero-carbon future. Bicycle use produces zero emissions, delivers wide ranging positive societal impacts and – most importantly – is a technology that is already widely available today. The world cannot afford to wait decades for fossil-fuel cars to be fully phased out and replaced by electric vehicles. We must urgently leverage the solutions that cycling offers by radically scaling up its use, including the potential that electric bicycles offer to extend journey lengths, and support lifetime cycling.

The signatories to this open letter call on governments and leaders, including the Irish Government, attending COP26 to declare commitments to significantly boost cycling levels at home and collectively commit to achieving a global target of higher cycling levels. The letter was sent to governments and transport ministers ahead of COP26. 

Colm Ryder, Chairperson of Cyclist.ie, the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network: ‘Cycling development is a vital key to unlocking the transport potential of our island, and to tackling climate change.  Irish citizens must be given a real transport choice through the provision of a countrywide network of safe and segregated infrastructure.

Jill Warren, CEO of the European Cyclists’ Federation: “There is no conceivable way for governments to reduce CO₂ emissions quickly enough to avoid the worst of the climate crisis without significantly more cycling. The devastating effects of accelerating global warming should be clear to everyone, and boosting cycling levels is the best way to quickly cut carbon emissions from transport on a massive scale.”

Henk Swarttouw, President of European Cyclists’ Federation and of the World Cycling Alliance: “Cycling should be a cornerstone of global, national and local strategies to meet net-zero carbon targets. At COP26, governments must commit to providing the financing and legislation for safe and equitable space for cycling everywhere. Citizens are ready for the 

About the European Cyclists’ Federation: With over 60 member organisations across more than 40 countries, the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) is the world’s largest and best-known cyclists’ advocacy organisation. Our aim is to improve and increase cycling by influencing policy and harnessing the power of the European cycling movements.

Contacts: 
Colm Ryder, Chairperson, Cyclist.ie
    Tel: 087-2376130, Email: [email protected]

Dr Damien Ó Tuama, Cyclist.ie National Cycling Coordinator,
    Tel:  087-2840799 Email:  [email protected]

Monaghan County Council Talks the Talk!

Is Monaghan County Council the first Local Authority in Ireland to publish an up-to-date Walking & Cycling Strategy? We think so, and we commend the Council on doing so, and in leading the way for other rural Local Authorities to follow. 

Like many small counties, Monaghan has very low active travel numbers as shown in this graphic (from page 22 of the strategy):

The strategy, adopted by the Council earlier this month, is wide ranging and innovative in many aspects. However, we feel it is let down by the adoption of unambitious mode share targets for active travel which we discuss further below.

We consider here, first of all, some of the many strengths and good points with the strategy:

  • The strategy is not just about transport – it also highlights the health, environmental, climate and economic benefits that can arise from the development of walking and cycling cultures.
  • The Council has set up an Active Travel Unit that will work within the Roads Division and will liaise with a broad inter-departmental team
  • A Walking and Cycling Forum is to be established in early 2022 with stakeholder representatives included. 
  • County Monaghan, with a population of just over 61,000, has a road network of nearly 2,500km, the vast majority of which are local L roads, which the Council want to prioritise as ‘Rothar Roads’, Cyclist.ie’s concept as set out in our Vision for Cycling in Rural Ireland
  • The strategy references Cyclist.ie’s Rural Vision and includes the main points of the Vision in Section 2.1.3 of the strategy.
  • The strategy has been developed through a broad consultation process – see the graphic below – and it links into a variety of international, national, and local plans, to place it in a clear broad context.



  • The strategy also references Green Schools’ #whyshecycles project, and the Dublin Bike Life study.
  • It shows awareness of the gender gap in cycling, citing the reasons why fewer women and girls cycle and promises to address this.
  • The strategy undertakes to take the needs of older citizens into account and to ensure that cycling is inclusive.



  • The strategy includes a detailed SWOT analysis (an assessment of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the current situation) that pulls no punches on the challenges that lie ahead.
  • The strategy includes a detailed action plan and a section on monitoring how it is working and measure success.
  • The strategy ‘embraces’ the 10 minute town concept as policy, and proposes to reduce town centre speed limits to 30kph as well as limiting heavy goods vehicle (HGV) access.
  • The strategy commits to identifying a detailed cycle network of both on and off-road routes.
  • The strategy commits to working with stakeholders, and name-checks Cyclist.ie as one of the organisations to liaise with on a regular basis .

The following are points that, we feel, require further thought and attention:

  • The less than ambitious mode share targets need to be upgraded and timebound.  For instance cycling, as can be seen in the graphic above, has a present mode share of only 0.45%.  It is proposed (in page 51 of the strategy) that an increase of 20% be the active travel target over the 5 years of the strategy. This would mean that the mode share would only rise to just over 0.5%. This is an unacceptably low target mode share for a strategy which is otherwise ambitious in its wording!
  • In the Action Plans pages, some of the supporting organisations are referenced, but particular bodies such as the National Transport Authority, SEUPB (Special EU Programs Body), Green Schools, Road Safety Authority are noticeable by their absence at critical junctures.
  • While it is clear that the strategy embraces inclusion we could not find any reference to providing for non-standard bikes such as people with disabilities or older people might need. These range from adult trikes, to handcycles to e-bikes that need specialised parking and wider cycle lanes.
  • The idea of edge of town parking and encouraging people to walk or cycle in is excellent. Lockers or other provision for storing items until  one is ready to go home would be a useful addition. One of the main advantages of a car in town is to store shopping. 

But overall this new strategy from Monaghan County Council is to be commended.  So why not check out the full strategy yourself here?   

It is now mainly up to the new Active Travel team in the Council to get the ball rolling and to avail of the many opportunities arising for funding, advice and general support, to ensure the success of the strategy. Cyclist.ie will be happy to play our part in making this a success!

Active Travel Coalition calls for Faster Rollout of Cycle Routes

Press Release – for Immediate Use

In the lead-up to COP26, and the World Health Organisation’s call for more cycling to improve health through increased physical activity and improved air quality [1], a newly-formed Active Travel Coalition is today seeking urgent action on the rollout of safe cycle routes nationwide.

The Active Travel Coalition is bringing together health, medical, environmental and cycling campaigners to call on the Irish government to show leadership on cycle infrastructure to enable families make the switch from the car to active travel modes of walking & cycling.

The coalition says that many people want to make the switch to cycling but are put off by the lack of safe, segregated cycle routes.

The Active Travel Coalition is seeking:

●        Faster rollout of the proposed high-quality ‘Safe Routes to School’ cycle path network.

●        Trial infrastructural change legislation & re-allocation of road space for walking & cycling.

●        Commitment from local and national politicians to lead the move to greater Active Travel.

●        Continued strong funding coupled with rigorous oversight for safe cycle route development.

●        Creation of networks of cycle routes, not just one-off routes that don’t interconnect.

Between 1991 and 2016 walking and cycling to school in Dublin fell from 64% to 46% while the percentage being driven to school increased from 17% to 41% [2]. Dr. Una May, Director of Participation and Ethics at Sport Ireland said “Sport Ireland research [3] shows that only 1 in 3 adults and 1 in 5 children meet recommended daily physical activity levels. Reaching the physical activity guidelines will require a mix of sport, recreational physical activity and regular active travel. Investments in active travel infrastructure can increase cycling to school and work, helping increase the number of children and adults meeting the recommended daily physical activity levels.”

According to Mark Murphy, advocacy officer with the Irish Heart Foundation, “30 minutes of moderate intensity activity, such as walking or cycling, five days a week, reduces your risk of developing heart disease and stroke, and contributes to overall improved levels of health. However, we know that if we want more people cycling, particularly school children, we need a major expansion of safe cycling tracks”.

Ireland’s policy is to reduce carbon emissions in 2050 by 80% on 1990 levels. Oisín Coghlan from Friends of the Earth says “transport accounts for 20% of emissions in Ireland. Given our carbon reduction targets in transport, a modal shift away from the private car is needed towards sustainable modes. Segregated cycle tracks, particularly in Dublin, are urgently needed to support this”.

Research from the National Transport Authority shows that 11% of adults cycle daily in Dublin but 46% would like to cycle or cycle more if they felt safer [4]. Dublin Cycling Campaign’s David Timoney says that we know from research and from the cycle traffic on the Grand Canal and Dun Laoghaire & Seapoint cycle tracks that segregated routes enable people of all ages and abilities to cycle.”

Dr. Sean Owens from the Irish College of General Practitioners says “the strongest evidence for reduced incidence of diabetes, obesity & cardiovascular disease is lifestyle measures centred around physical activity and healthy diets. Getting our patients, our families and our staff on their bikes for pleasure, or for a commute, is a triple win; better health for patients and families, better for the environment and better value for the public purse”.

Only 1 in 4 adults and 1 in 10 teenagers who cycle in Dublin are female. Mairead Forsythe from ‘Women on Wheels’ says that “the figures show a major gender gap in cycling in Dublin and while the barriers to more women and girls cycling are varied, the number 1 barrier is fear of mixing with motor traffic.”

Colm Ryder from Cyclist.ie and the Rural Cycling Collective adds that “In many areas developing cycle infrastructure will require a re-allocation of road space from the motor vehicle to active travel. We need to adapt our private car use to achieve the critical goals of an improved and safer public realm and more efficient movement of people around our towns, cities and rural areas“.

*The Active Travel Coalition consist of the following organisations:

Irish Heart Foundation, Irish Cancer Society, Diabetes Ireland, Irish College of General Practitioners, Sport Ireland, Cyclist.ie, Dublin Cycling Campaign, Women on Wheels, Irish Pedestrian Network, Friends of the Earth, Irish Doctors for the Environment & Faculty of Sports & Exercise Medicine (RCPI & RCSI).

For further information contact:

Dublin Cycling Campaign: David Timoney (083.333.9283 & [email protected]).

Cyclist.ie: Colm Ryder (087.237.6130 & [email protected])

ENDS

[1] https://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/environment-and-health/Transport-and-health/news/news/2021/6/promoting-cycling-can-save-lives-and-advance-health-across-europe-through-improved-air-quality-and-increased-physical-activity

[2] https://www.cso.ie/en/index.html

[3] Sport Ireland 2018 CSPPA and 2019 ISM studies.

[4] https://www.nationaltransport.ie/bike-life-2019-dublin-metropolitan-area/

West Clare Railway Greenway – Cyclist.ie Submission

Clare County Council is currently progressing Section 1 of the West Clare Railway Greenway project. This aims to provide a recreational greenway between the towns of Kilrush and Kilkee, following the route of the former West Clare Railway where feasible. 

The West Clare Railway between Kilrush and Kilkee closed in 1961 and since then the main transport corridor between the two towns has been the N67 National Road. The West Clare Railway Greenway project aims to develop a new walking and cycling corridor between these two seaside towns, providing a high-quality attraction and amenity to locals and tourists alike, and building on the success of the Waterford Greenway and the Limerick Greenway.

The study area currently being examined the Council is shown here, with Kilkee lying to the North West and Kilrush to the South East. 

In response to the public consultation process, Cyclist.ie sent a submission to the Council on Monday 5th of October setting out our initial views on the proposals. 

At the broadest level, Cyclist.ie is delighted to see this proposed greenway project advancing, and we wish to support Clare County Council in this initiative. Cyclist.ie is strongly in favour of the creation of a high quality, safe and largely / entirely segregated cycle facility linking Kilkee to Kilrush. Such a facility will offer multiple benefits to many different age cohorts and different user groups – including children, older people, tourists, utility cyclists and recreational cyclists. If designed and built to high standard, and if it offers a safe environment for all ages and abilities, it can replicate and surpass the success of other greenways in Ireland and beyond. This represents a win-win for all concerned.

More specifically Cyclist.ie strongly advises that cycle facilities do not run along / alongside the N67 except where absolutely necessary. Even if proper segregation is provided alongside an N road, the noise from motorised traffic on an N road (both engine noise and tyre noise) diminishes the quality of the experience for users – it is difficult to have a conversation with another person on a bike alongside oneself when traffic noise is significant.

In our submission we also made the point that Kilrush has terrific potential to become a properly cycle friendly town, but it is currently utterly dominated by cars. Frances St, a wonderfully wide and beautiful street, is just waiting to be set free – there is a huge opportunity to improve the urban realm there. Furthermore, all schools, sports clubs/grounds and residential areas should be connected carefully to the greenway so that parents can feel comfortable having their children cycling to school on their own. Additionally, the route should link with all of the main tourist destinations, including the Vandeleur Gardens and forest trails.

You can read Cyclist.ie’s full submission here.   

To give a little bit more context on the overall consultation process for this section of the West Clare Railway Greenway, you can check out this graphic taken from the official material (a link to which can be found below). 

Further information can be gleaned from this Clare County Council webpage.   

Finally, if you are particularly interested in cycle campaigning issues in County Clare and would like to connect into Cyclist.ie’s advocacy work to improve cycling conditions in the County, please contact us here.

Our Report on Bike Week 2021

Bike Week 2021 ran from Sunday 12th to Saturday 18th September and Cyclist.ie’s member groups ran a wonderfully diverse array of events countrywide. We highlight a selection of these events here – it is certainly not exhaustive!

Well done to all of our amazing groups and active members for running these events and enabling a lot more people to try out the bike – for the first time for many people.

Cyclist.ie hopes that these events will help to grow the cycling advocacy movement at a local level, which in turn will help to grow strong cycling cultures countrywide.  

Skerries

Skerries Cycling Initiative’s first cycling festival took place on 22 August – a little in advance of the formal Bike Week! It was a lot of fun and definitely something to build on it, going forward. We started off the day – a lovely one weatherwise – with a 5km and a 25 km cycle from Skerries Mills car park. People of all ages and abilities, just as we hoped for, took part. This was to be a day for celebrating cycling as a healthy, normal way of getting around, whether you chose a simple one speed bicycle or something sleeker (as shown below).  

For more information on Skerries Cycling Initiative, visit their website here https://www.skerriesca.com/cycling/ 


Wexford

WexBUG (Wexford Bicycle User Group) held two events for Bike Week 2021.

First of all, the Norman Way taster route saw a group of cyclists led by WexBUG given the opportunity to sample a section of The Norman Way. This included a fascinating talk with Wexford Co Co Heritage Officer, Catherine McLoughlin at St. Mary’s Church in Bannow Ba.y

And secondly, the Get Back on your Bike spin focused on those who hadn’t ridden a bicycle for a while. WexBUG delivered some basic Cycle Right training combined with defensive cycling tips. This was followed by a coffee spin through Wexford Town and surrounding area to put these skills into practice in the real world environment.

More information on WexBUG and its campaigns can be found at http://wexbug.org/.  

Kilkenny

Kilkenny Cycling and Walking Campaign organised the first Slow Roll in Kilkenny in conjunction with Kilkenny County Council. Sunday 19th saw cyclists take to the streets of Kilkenny in a parade of wonderful bikes. The smallest participants were transported in cargo bikes and trailers, while younger children travelled through the streets with stabilisers and balance bikes.  Adult wheels varied from vintage bikes, to fold-up bikes to electric bikes. 

This colourful troupe was led off by Charlie Parsons and the community Gardaí, with local club members from Marble City Cyclers escorting the group safely through the streets. Charlie, one of Kilkenny’s Axa Community Bike Ride leaders, had a gorgeous route picked for the day that brought the group through the medieval centre with a picturesque finish along by the canal. Cllr. Maria Dollard, who assisted in the organisation of the event, said:

“Events such as these highlight the benefits of a cycle-friendly city centre. If our children and people can move independently through the streets, the reduction in congestion and emissions benefit everyone. Cycling for journeys also allows people to experience a sense of connection with their community and their neighbours, building strong, resilient communities.”   

Well said Cllr. Dollard!

For more information on the KilkennyCycling and Walking Campaign, visit: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1521646008055500

Slow Roll led off by the Community Guards and Charlie Parsons, local Axa Community Bike Rides Leader


Príomhoide of Gaelscoil Osraí, Seán o hArgáin captures the cyclists on High St.

Sligo

Thirty participants of all ages took part in Sligo Cycling Campaign’s Culture Night Community Cycle. First stop was Cranmore Community Garden. Host, Connie Nell was thrilled that one third of the Culture Night visitors to the garden arrived by bicycle. The richness of our biodiverse environment was evident with displays of beekeeping, a wormery and a myriad of colourful flowers and vegetables including, we are told, a very sweet cherry tomato! Sligo Cycling Campaign hopes that this event will be the beginning of a fruitful collaboration with Cranmore CoOp. The area is part of Sligo County Council’ss decarbonisation zone and so is ripe for active travel initiatives. We were delighted to be accompanied by Nick Doran on his Development Perspectives cargo-bike to promote the Global Goals – as shown below. Nick took time out to admire Lough Gill.

Dublin

Dublin Cycling Campaign held a virtual public meeting called ‘Why We Cycle: Dublin Stories’ featuring ten short presentations from people who get around Dublin by bike or trike. We heard from people who live in various parts of Dublin and use their bike or trike for a range of purposes, such as travelling to work or school, bringing children to school, keeping pets entertained, making deliveries, or boosting physical and mental health. Thank you to all our speakers and attendees, and a special thanks to our guest chair, Joanna Donnelly of Met Éireann. You can listen back on YouTube here

Dublin Cycling Campaign also joined Crumlin Community Cycles and Bloomin’ Crumlin to cycle to PedalPalooza in Fairview Park on Sunday 12 September. We had people of all ages join us for the 16km round trip, which took in some of Dublin’s best cycling infrastructure such as the Grand Canal Way Premium Cycle Route, and the Royal Canal Greenway between the Docklands and North Strand – as shown below. At PedalPalooza we enjoyed trying out unusual bikes, meeting other fans of cycling, and taking part in interactive workshops and in the Cycle Bus drop-in session.     

Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin – Cycling Without Age 

Meanwhile, in DLR, Cycling Without Age took part in the DLR Family Cycle of inclusive bikes: tandems, cargo bikes, trishaws, handcycles – we love them all!

See https://twitter.com/dlrcc/status/1439137159433310208?s=09 for more information. 

Cycle Sense – West Cork, Skibbereen 

Cycle Sense had a busy and fun week. A few highlights included: 

  • Working with the children and adults on the Learn to Cycle Taster as they cycled for the first time. What a privilege it was to witness their sense of surprise and accomplishment. 
  • Fixing bikes with inhabitants in Clonakilty Refugee Centre was chaotic and satisfying. Good to know they have roadworthy bikes now! 
  • Meeting women for the Women on Wheels taster session. Congregating in our workshop was a highlight for us as it was our first event to be held from our own workshop. Working with women is always great and after the introduction we enjoyed a small cycle round the lanes of Skibbereen.   
  • The Mystery Cycle Buffett is always a highlight. Booked out straight away this event always manages to have great weather. Participants were taken on a mystery tour feasting on West Cork delights, scenery and accompanied by live music. What could be better ?!
  • The Skibbereen Cycle Bus kids all received a bike pump and puncture repair kit. Hooray for them!
  • Our workshop was the base for a family day of obstacles, bike doctor and bike Art. A multiple range of things were made from discarded bike parts! 

Skibbereen Cycle Bus 

Family day 

Start of Cycle Buffet 

On the Cycle Buffet 

Gort Cycle Trails – West of Ireland, Burren Lowlands 

Katleen from Gort Cycle Trails set up an event to get people on their bikes and to show them a very quiet road from Gort into Coole Park. The total loop is just over 9 km. It’s called Glenbrack, but Katleeen has renamed it the Gort Mini-Greenway, as it’s only about 2.5 km long. Almost 40 people turned up, the youngest person being 5, the oldest 71 and with five people coming by train from Galway, and a further five arriving by train from Ennis. It turned out to be a great day. 

The hot drinks and cake from the Coole Park Tea rooms went down a treat, and people were keen to find out when the next cycle will be organized! Check out https://workinglivingtravellinginireland.com/gort-cycle-trails with a number of loops in the Burren Lowlands and join the FB Group here to find out when the next event will take place.


Leitrim Cycling Festival

What I learnt in Kilty

Leitrim Cycling Festival 2021

I learnt that I will never win a slow bicycle race

Or ride a penny farthing

And that cycling round and round

a village roundabout is mesmerising

I learnt that a colourful friend

is the key to colourful gear

And that for some, moving clouds

is something you can hear

I learnt you can take a line for a cycle

And that bikes are instruments too

And cycling up hill is not easy

after two platefuls of stew

I learnt you can fit six people on a single bicycle

(according to the Rock)

And that wise men like Ken

know how to take a knock

I learnt that the Tottenham Estate

cleverly grew within their grounds

pineapples and lemons

while famine raged all around

I learnt that the ‘nuachta’ of old was always the ‘buamai’ in Belfast

I learnt that the fiercest streets of Dublin

are learning to care

and that within every community  

there are gardens to share

I learnt that when the measurements are wrong

a curry feast can go on

and on and on..

I learnt that ‘Kilty Live’

brought life to the street

and watched with glee as the Wandering Bandstand

brought people to their feet

I learnt that the pub has only 24 pint glasses

I learnt that you can dance in the rain

with the Cosmos in an awning

and that sticks for the fire

can be delivered at two in the morning

I learnt that Leitrim

 is even more beautiful than I knew

And that Kilty can definitely

teach me a thing or two

So thank you Kilty

From all of us cycling crew

Jo Sachs-Eldridge

A poem inspired by a  wonderful weekend of playing, listening and gathering stories inspired by the Human-on-a-Bicycle Library project.

Tents and bikes of all shapes and sizes at the Leitrim Cycling Festival!

Note also that the featured image at the top of this webpage is another photo from the Leitrim Cycling Festival. More lovely photos available at https://www.facebook.com/leitrimcyclingfestival 

To find out more about the Leitrim Cycling Festival and all that is happening on the cycling front in Leitrim, visit https://leitrimcyclingfestival.com/

Cork

The Cycling Community in Cork organised two events – the Cultural City Cycle on the Friday night which happened to be Culture Night and on Saturday there was the cycle to Cobh. We were very pleased with the running of each event.

The Cultural City Cycle

The Lord Mayor opened the festival with a few words and posed for photos.  He was very engaging and gave a very relevant speech – talking about combining bus travel with cycling. The Council were hoping to adapt buses to put a bike rack on the front. We then went to the City Hall where Councillor Kieran McCarthy gave a speech about the history of Cork City.  We then went down the Centre Park Road along the new cycle path to the Marina, around Páirc Uí Chaoimh and back via the new cycle path on Monaghan Road and the footbridge off Rockboro Road.  This led us to Casanova where we had a stop for ice cream – the ice cream here is really good!

We now went to UCC where we stopped at the Quad for music with Andrew Desmond and his band. We had food delivered from Tedo and Luigi Malones.  We then dispersed after the meal.

The Cycle to Cobh

We had two mechanics from Cork Community Bikes on hand at 10am at the Fountain in the Grand Parade. We stayed there until 10:30 so that participants could get their bikes checked and tires pumped. With that we started out via the new cycle lanes in the South Mall and along the quays to the Marina, Blackrock Castle, Rochestown and Passage. Here we took the ferry and cycled to Cobh. We pottered around Cobh for a while, had some nibbles along with free ice cream that we had arranged. We made the return journey again via the ferry and stopped in the Marina market for a complimentary meal. The feedback from the participants was very positive.

Galway

Four community groups held simultaneous Sunday family cycles before converging to make one supergroup to show support for the proposed temporary Salthill Cycleway.

Mayor Colette Connolly (Ind) and Cllr Owen Hanley (SocDems) led about 60 ‘passengers’ on the East of the Corrib Cycle-Bus with Galway Cycling Campaign through Terryland Forest Park on the cycle-bus’s first community cycle. 

Let’s Get Biking Together (LGBT) Galway, the city’s newest cycling group, started their route from University Park, opposite NUI Galway.

The Galway Urban Greenway Alliance departed from their usual monthly starting point at the Claddagh Hall.

About 270 children and adults of all ages and abilities joined in using bicycles, tricycles, cargo bikes, ebikes, and bike trailers, on what was a stunning autumnal morning of sunshine and blue skies in the city of the tribes.

Reg Turner, co-organiser of the East of the Corrib Cycle-Bus, said, “On Friday morning, we had our biggest numbers yet cycling to the five city centre schools. So to see dozens of people joining in on Sunday confirms to us the huge demand for safe routes to school using Galway’s beautiful woods, rivers, canals and coastal roads.”

Parent Roselyn Carroll said, “The smiles say it all. Our kids jump into the cargo bike to join in. I want my kids to cycle independently when they are bigger on safe segregated cycle routes.”

Participants chanted “Greenway for Galway”, led by enthusiastic children ringing their bells, as bystanders and onlookers in vehicles clapped and cheered as the supergroup cycled around the city centre.

At the end, the cyclers gathered for coffee and cake at Ground & Co on Salthill’s seafront. 

The campaign for the temporary Salthill Cycleway created a major buzz on social media, on local radio station Galway Bay FM, and in the city’s newspapers The City Tribune and Galway Advertiser, as well as being picked up by national media. 

On Monday 27 September, Councillors voted 17-1 for the motion for the Salthill Cycleway. This is a huge endorsement of the people of Galway’s desire for safe cycling routes of connected urban greenways.

Organisers would like to thank the Gardaí who joined by bike and patrol car, and to Deputy Mayor Martina O’Connor, Cllr Niall Murphy and Senator Pauline O’Reilly of the Green Party for participating. Cllrs Mike Cubbard (Ind) and Frank Fahy (FG) sent their apologies and best wishes for the Bike Week event.

Sunday family cycle in support of the temporary Salthill Cycleway. Credit: Galway Urban Greenway Alliance

See videos here:

Video of four Galway community cycles joining up into one supergroup to show support for the temporary Salthill Cycleway. Credit: Galway Urban Greenway Alliance https://twitter.com/GalwayUrban/status/1437496863154913280/video/1 

Video of Mayor Colette Connolly leading the East of the Corrib Cycle-Bus community cycle through the Terryland Forest Park https://twitter.com/RegJTurner/status/1437093745221046280?s=20 

Video of community cycle with Galway Urban Greenway Alliance, Galway Cycling Campaign, East of the Corrib Cycle-Bus and Let’s Get Biking Together (LGBT) Galway. Credit: Paul McSpaden

Navan

Navan Cycling Initiative were delighted to host Navan Bike Fest, a week-long series of events which took place during National Bike Week. Navan Bike Fest kicked off with a hugely successful half-day Family Day held at Coláiste na Mí on Sunday 12 September, the highlight of which was our Family Cycle around Navan with over 100 participants of all ages and abilities taking part. Other activities on the day included weird and wonderful bikes, a slow bike race and a junior cycle track and race area. We even had a special ice-cream bike!

Also during the week, we ran a Scavenger Hunt, partnering with businesses around Navan to hide twenty-six playing-cards for participants to seek out with some great prizes to be won. We also held two online public meetings on ‘Cycle Network and Greenways Update’ and ‘Race Across America and Ultra Cycling, with Alan Heary’. To finish off Navan Bike Fest in style, on Saturday the 18th we had a social spin to Slane Castle along the banks of the River Boyne, and movie night at the Solstice Arts Centre where we showed a selection of inspiring, feel-good cycling documentaries including ‘Cycling Across Europe in the Pandemic’, ‘All Bodies on Bikes’, and ‘Why We Cycle’.

Limerick

A lovely cycle was followed by lovely chats in Arthur’s Quay Park as the moon came up. What a fab evening! 

Some terrific videos can be seen here: https://twitter.com/CyclingBusLmk/status/1439285874869608450
https://twitter.com/sarsfieldsride/status/1439130097643106309 

Kinsale

Kinsale Loves Bikes is delighted to announce that it’s new Community Bike Repair Station is now available to all cyclists. Located on the pier beside Food U cafe, the repair station has a pump for inflating tyres as well as all the tools required to repair and maintain your bike. 

Kinsale Loves Bikes secured funding to purchase this amazing amenity and Cork County Council kindly installed it so everyone can avail of quality bike repair tools without charge.

Well done to all member groups within Cyclist.ie on the fabulous campaigning work. It is all helping to recreate a strong cycling culture countrywide. We are already looking forward to Bike Week 2022!

Bike Week 2021 – Cyclist.ie Member Group Events

Bike Week first took place in Ireland in June 2009 following the publication earlier that year of the National Cycle Policy Framework. The NCPF included a specific objective (#10.2, page 33) that an annual National Bike Week would be organised so as to improve the image of cycling and promote cycling using “soft interventions”.

Twelve years on and as we edge out of a difficult last 18 months, Bike Week 2021 is ready to go. It is being launched this Sunday 12th of September, and Cyclist.ie’s groups are at the heart of organising the best events happening countrywide. A credit to all of our member groups and active volunteers!

You can check out all of the events happening on a county-by-county basis on the official Bike Week website here (see the bottom of that page), but in this article here we highlight a selection of some really fabulous events being organised by our own member groups of Cyclist.ie. 

Navan

Navan Bike Fest is a week-long series of events planned for National Bike Week, kicking off with a half-day event on Sunday 12 September. This family-friendly event will be held at Coláiste na Mí and is a celebration of all things cycling, with a variety of cycling fun and games, stands and stalls, as well as the return of our ever-popular Family Cycle. Lots more at http://navancycling.ie/navan-bike-fest-2021/

Leitrim

Leitrim Cycling Festival is taking place in the beautiful little village of Kiltyclogher for a weekend of music, dancing, art, history, mud painting, good food and cycling to celebrate the wonder of bikes, communities and this stunning county. It runs from Friday 17th to Sunday 19th of September, and has a wonderfully action-packed programme of events. Details at https://leitrimcyclingfestival.com/leitrim-cycling-festival-programme-2021-2/

Dublin 

Dublin Cycling Campaign is running and supporting several terrific events during Bike Week. Campaign members will be taking part in the ‘Pedalpalooza’ family friendly festival in Fairview Park from 1pm to 5pm on Sunday 12th Sept, and the Campaign is teaming up with with wonderful crew from Bloomin’ Crumlin to cycle over to the events in Fairview (poster below). 

Then on Monday, 13 Sept at 8pm, Dublin Cycling Campaign is hosting a special meeting over Zoom at which there will be a range of people presenting who get around Dublin by bike or trike. Speakers will have three minutes each to share their cycling stories, so it promises to be a lively and interesting evening. The meeting will be chaired by meteorologist Joanna Donnelly and is organised by Siobhán McNamara. Details at https://www.dublincycling.com/cycling/virtual-public-meeting-why-we-cycle-dublin-stories 

Galway

The Galway Urban Greenway Alliance, which is campaigning for segregated walking and cycling routes from the city out to Barna and Moycullen, is running what sounds like a lovely Community Cycle event on Sunday 12th September at 11am. Details available at https://www.facebook.com/galwayurbangreenway/ and in the poster here. 

Gort 

On Saturday 18th of September, Gort Cycle Trails are organising a cycle from the Gort Railway Station to Coole Park via Glenbrack – AKA as the Gort Mini-Greenway. This sounds like a lovely event – not least because, once participants arrive at Coole Park, they will be treated to a coffee/Tea/Hot chocolate of choice and a yummie cake by Gort Tea Rooms in the Walled Garden. Details at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cycle-gorts-mini-greenway-with-gort-cycle-trails-tickets-169783169029 and in the poster below. 

Kilkenny

There are wonderful events happening in Kilkenny such as free week-long trials of cargo bikes and some bike maintenance workshops in Stoneyford and Kilmacow. Details on the Kilkenny Cycling & Walking Campaign Facebook page here and in the poster below.   

Kerry

The information below was received by Anluan Dunne from Kerry Recreation & Sports Partnership. As of 9th Sept, these were not published.

The events we have planned for Bike Week 2021 are: 

Guided Group Cycles for Women (x2)
– Sunday 12th of September (Killorglin and Tralee)
– Led by local Cycling Ireland Women in Sport ambassadors Fiola Foley (Killorglin) and Clare Neenan (Tralee).

Over 55’s Small Group Cycles (x4)
– Wednesday 15th of September (Listowel).

Bike Clinic Workshops (x5)
– Cahersiveen: Eamonn Casey, Ring Hotel Cahersiveen, Monday  Sept – 7pm to 8.30pm
– Listowel: Kieran Corcoran, Listowel Arms Hotel, Tuesday 14th Sept- 7pm to 8.30pm
– Tralee: Anthony O’Halloran, Meadowlands Hotel Tralee, Wednesday 15th- 7pm to 8.30pm
– Killorglin: Kieran Corcoran, Venue CYMS Community Centre , Thursday 16th –7pm to 8.30 pm
– Killarney : Matt from O’Sullivan Cycles, Venue and date to be confirmed

Bike Week Photo Competition
‘Where in Kerry will your Bike Take You?’
– 12th to 18th of September

Tandem Bike Rides for people who are blind or visually impaired (TBC)
**Very low participation numbers and availability of experienced/suitable tandem pilots may impact on this going ahead during Bike Weel. 

Cycle on Wednesdays (COW) – Active Travel Dept  (TBC)
To collaborate with colleagues from An Taisce/Green Schools to encourage and support the school community to cycle to school, as part of the Green Schools/Safe Routes to School programme.

We have also earmarked some of this funding for the purchase of some safe cycling equipment which will be used in future cycling programmes and initiatives 

Skibbereen

Cycle Sense are kicking off Bike Week with a Mystery Cycle Buffet and ending with a Family Bike Day including Art and Bike Repairs plus various cycling taster sessions in between. 

Check out the programme here https://www.cyclesense.ie/blog/bike-week-2021 – and join them in what sounds like some really lovely events. 

Clonakilty

The Clonakilty Bike Festival and Bike Circus crew have an action packed week of events taking place during Bike Week – all info available at http://clonakiltybicyclefestival.org/bike-week-2021/ – and below. 

Monday 13th – 11am-noonCome down to the Bike Circus or visit us via Facebook Live to learn about all things derailleurs.
Tues 14th – 11:30amTouring and E-Bikes webinar – tune in on Facebook Live or pop down to the Bike Circus
Tues 14th – 3pmWellbeing Cycle – a leisurely 10-15km cycle, all welcome meet at the Bike Circus
Thurs 16th – 11amAccessibility Cycling workshop and webinar with Jack. See some great cycling options for people with mobility issues, via Facebook or pop down to the yard
Fri 17th – 3pmFamily Day – Come down to Croppy park with your small ones and have some fun.
Fri 17th – 5pmA Circus at the Bike Circus!  Come down to our local community bike workshop yard for a one off performance of juggling, tricks and the circus craic! (Culture Night Event)
Sat 18th – 3pm‘Kidical Mass’ Cycle – a celebratory lap of the town, all welcome – especially kids! Meet at the Bike Circus
Sat 18th – 3:30-5pmIn Appreciation of our Apprentices – Pop down to the Bike Circus to learn about our free apprenticeship program and meet and mingle with some graduates as well as reconnect with other Bike Circus Members. Drinks & nibbles provided. We will also be launching our new community notice board, for carpooling, bike swapping and gear sharing!


Sligo

Sligo Cycling Campaign have planned their Community Cycle to coincide with Culture Night, taking place on Friday 17th September. The cycle will include a stop-off at Cranmore Community Garden and conclude with refreshments and sea-shanties at the Riverside Hotel.

Kinsale


As above, you can check out all of the events happening on a county-by-county basis on the official Bike Week website here.