Elaine Baker from the Cycling Cloughjordan group in County Tipperary is taking a stand about the issue of Irish Ferries not allowing push bikes on the Pembroke to Rosslare ferry, despite allowing motorbikes and motorized vehicles on board. Cycling Cloughjordan is part of the Irish Cycling Campaign organisation.
In her series of video blog posts, filmed on Sat 17 to Sun 18 February 2024, she tracks her experience of trying to bring her folding bicycle on board the service from Fishguard having been visiting friends in South Wales, with a view to sailing into Rosslare and then travelling on back home to County Tipperary.
In this first video, filmed en route by bus to Fishguard, she explains her rationale for wanting to take the direct ferry to Rosslare – and thus avoiding the much more carbon intensive mode of flying.
In the next video, she reports on the refusal of the company to let her on board with her bicycle – despite there being no good reason for the rule itself.
In the third third video here, filmed at 2.30am on a wet morning, she elaborates on the absence of any logic in allowing motorbikes on board the ferry but not allowing bikes without motors on board. Despite spending several hours at the ferry port talking to many different staff members, she was offered no sensible reason for why push bikes were not allowed on the ferry.
And in this forth video, filmed with the early morning birds audible in the background and after she was asked by staff to leave the dark and fairly desolate area, she observes the ferry she was supposed to be on leaving the ferry port with motorbikes on board.
At the time of posting this article here, Elaine was en route to Holyhead in North Wales – which is quite a circuitous route by train from Pembroke.
Two updates further on Elaine’s journey – video #5 here and video #6 here, both from Holyhead port at around 5.30pm and 6pm respectively. In these videos (screen shot below), Elaine highlights that one of the two sailings from Holyhead around 8pm / 8.30pm would be taking foot passengers and cyclists, whereas the other one wouldn’t be.
At the time of updating this article (8.30pm on Sunday night), Elaine should have left Holyhead and be en route to Dublin Port…… after a very long and circuitous journey.
Elaine and Irish Cycling Campaign would like to make it a condition of the licences issued to ferry companies that any ferry which carries passengers who travel with a car or motorcycle should also be mandated to carry people on bikes and foot passengers. They can put limits on the total number of passengers of course and the total weight / size of vehicles, but they should not be allowed to carry larger vehicles but not the smaller ones.
Irish Cycling Campaign is fully behind Elaine’s activism on this issue. If we want to encourage less carbon intensive travel and therefore less flying, it should be safe, easy and permissible to take bikes on ferries and to continue journeys by bike and rail, or bike and bus.
We will add further updates to this story in due course.