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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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 – Attends Launch of Ireland’s EuroVelo Atlantic Coast Route 1

Many of you will know about the developing European Cycle Network, known as EuroVelo. This was initiated by the European Cyclists’ Federation, of which is the member for Ireland.

In total there are 17 designated cycling routes criss-crossing the continent which, when completed, will be more than 90,000km in length. Ireland, on the periphery of Europe, is part of two of the 17 designated routes:

Eurovelo Route 1 (EV1), the Atlantic Coast Route, and
Eurovelo Route 2 (EV2) the Capitals Route

EV2 in Ireland extends from Dublin to Galway across the country.  It is still under development, and will be mainly off-road.

EV1 winds its way from Rosslare Harbour in the south east around the south and west coasts of Ireland, and then across from Donegal to Belfast. It is a staggering 2,550km long, 2,300km of which is in the Republic! Most of this route is on-road and mixing with motor traffic, with a few short sections on busy roads, but the majority on quieter local roads. There are also three greenway sections with more to follow. You can find out more about the details of different sections of Ireland’s EV1 on this dedicated website. The route is fully signposted along its entire length. 

Wexford Launch

On Thursday 18th May 2023, during National Bike Week, Colm Ryder, Mairéad Forsythe, and Tony Shanley from had the good fortune to be able to attend the formal ministerial launch of EuroVelo Route 1 in Ireland by Minister of State Jack Chambers. The launch took place in scenic Lady’s Island, in Wexford, which is also a pilgrim site with a long and chequered history, and well worth a visit in its own right!

Minister Jack Chambers at Lady’s Island with Councillors and Officials from Wexford County Council

Most of the counties along the EV1 route were also represented at the launch, and added testament to the fantastic work done by local authorities under the coordination of Sport Ireland’s Doug Corrie.

Eamonn Hore, Deputy Chief Executive of Wexford County Council hosted the proceedings and testified to a spend of over €1 million by Wexford Council alone in the past year to improve the road surfaces along the route, and to erecting hundreds of signposts.’s representatives can attest to a vast improvement in the road surface quality from that experienced back in 2017 at the original launch of the Wexford section of the route, although work still remains to be done.  See photo below for previous route surface quality. Well done Wexford County Council!

Poor Local road surface condition on EuroVelo 1 in 2017, now much improved on most sections – see below.’s representatives also got a chance to cycle with the Minister along a section of the route, and to talk about his new role in the Department of Transport. 

L to R: Colm Ryder, Minister Jack Chambers and Mairéad Forsythe

Of course we also checked out a few of the features and signposts along the designated route, and some of these can be seen in the images below.  The minister also posed for a photo with the reps.

We would urge members and all cyclists to check out the sections of the now fully signposted route close to them, and to report back to any positive or negative views on their experience. This of course also includes items such as reasonable stop-off eating and drinking facilities, toilet facilities, as well as accommodation. In this way we can continue to influence the overall improvement in cycling facilities nationwide, and in particular along this tourist targeted route, which should also benefit regular cyclists on many sections of it. 

Colm Ryder, Infrastructure Coordinator Report on Rural Cycling Symposium was delighted to be asked to present its Vision for Cycling in Rural Ireland at a symposium hosted by one of its newest members, Pedal Vintage Durrow. The event, titled The Future of Cycling in Rural Ireland was held in collaboration with Laois County Council and with funding from The National Transport Authority. The symposium took place in the beautiful Castle Durrow Country House Hotel on Monday 15th May 2023. The official launch was performed by Laois Rose of Tralee, Sinead Dowd who grew up in New York and enjoyed cycling there.

The array of presenters covered every possible angle of cycling. Naturally there was an emphasis on developments in Laois. Diarmuid Donoghue from the Laois Active Travel Office described some of the council’s completed and planned walking and cycling projects. Of note were footpath extensions to various GAA grounds, the planned removal of hatching to create space for segregated cycling lanes, modification of roundabouts to ensure safer cycling and an urban greenway for Portlaoise!

Regina Dunne, Laois Tourism Officer (see gave an animated presentation on the potential of Laois as a cycling destination. The county offers a variety of cycling experiences with a National Mountain Biking Centre in the Sliabh Blooms and a section of the Barrow Blueway at Vicarstown and Stradbally. Regina was particularly strong on the need for marketing and communication of what is available. She quoted interesting Fáilte Ireland research on the value of experience holidays and on how experiences should appeal to our emotions and to our senses.

Matt Doyle, Chairman of Pedal Vintage Durrow (see here) and John Holland, Coordinator of Portarlington Cycle Campaign each gave presentations. Beautiful pedal vintage hire bikes used by Durrow for their activities were on display. The Durrow group are interested in heritage but also in the practicalities of everyday cycling and there was also a presentation on a feasibility study report by Mark Murphy of MM Consult Cork on a planned Durrow Community Family Bike Hub. The study was jointly commissioned by Pedal Vintage and Laois County Council in collaboration with Coillte Management, and with funding provided under the ORIS funding stream. The trails envisage on-road off-road cycle routes from the centre of Durrow to two local woods, “Dunmore” and “Capponellan” with a (looped) return journey to The Square in Durrow. This ambitious plan chimes perfectly with one of the mantras of’s Rural Collective, “we want to be able to travel from our front door, not our car door!” members have always been amused by the nominative determinism in the name of our long-standing member and former Chair, Colm Ryder. However, John Holland, coordinator of Portarlington Cycling Campaign gave Colm a run for his money in a manner of speaking when he told us he wants Portarlington to become the Amsterdam of the midlands! John presented an ambitious vision of the cycling Mecca Portarlington could become! Campaign activities range from regular critical mass cycles highlighting the need for cycling infrastructure to celebratory events such as the Tour de Port or the novel Bike Camp and Swim events planned for Bike Week – see here

Contributors from outside of Laois included members, Clara Clark who presented on the hugely successful Cycling Without Age trishaw national initiative, and Joan Swift from the Rural Collective who presented on behalf of Jo Sachs Eldridge on the Vision for Cycling in Rural Ireland.

The final contributors were from Cycling Ireland with Jason Goodison presenting on Community Bike Rides and Paul Norton on cycling infrastructure and facilities development. The Community Bike Rides initiative is a very flexible initiative as it offers an opportunity to log solo as well as group rides and to sign up for rewards and both types of rides are covered by Cycling Ireland insurance. Paul’s presentation focused on the assistance Cycling Ireland can offer to communities interested in setting up cycling facilities such as pump tracks, BMX tracks, skate parks and learn to cycle tracks. He showed a lovely video of children enjoying the Dungarvan Learn to Cycle Facility.

Joan Swift from’s Rural Collective Group speaking at the event

Joan Swift (above) presented on’s Vision for Cycling in Rural Ireland – see The vision was launched in September 2020 and comprises eight asks which if implemented would enable people living in rural Ireland to cycle for whatever trips they choose, be it commuting, leisure or running errands. The presentation was updated to include both and national initiatives which have occurred since the original launch. 

Clara’s presentation on Cycling Without Age emphasised its national and voluntary nature, that it has grown from one trishaw in 2017 to over 63 operating all around Ireland. Many local authorities (though not yet Laois Council!) are now sponsoring trishaws for community use. Her video on how the Bike Hub partnership in Dun Laoghaire works, was a great example of social enterprise and Council cooperation.

Clara Clark speaking at the Durrow Pedal Vintage event, 15 May 2023

Oireachtas All Party Bike Week Cycle 2023, in collaboration with the Oireachtas All Party Cycling Group, was delighted to facilitate the annual Bike Week Cycle with Oireachtas staff, TDs and Senators earlier today (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.

Front row, L to R: Senator Pauline O’Reilly (Green Party), Ciaran Cannon TD (Fine Gael), Darren O’Rourke TD (Sinn Féín); Second row, L to R: Richard Bruton TD (Fine Gael), Gary Gannon TD (Social Democrats), Miren Maialen Samper (Dublin Cycling Campaign), Senator Lynn Boylan (Sinn Féin).

The delegation comprised Neasa Bheilbigh (Chairperson of – the Irish Cycling Network, Galway Cycle Bus and Galway Cycling Campaign), Dr. Damien Ó Tuama (National Cycling Coordinator), Mairéad Forsythe (Love 30, Chair of the Board of Dublin Cycling Campaign / CLG), Clara Clark (Founder of Cycling Without Age Ireland), Dave Tobin (Vice-Chair of and Olivia Tobin (an 11 year old girl from Limerick who loves cycling to school)!

L to R: Ciaran Cannon TD (Fine Gael), Richard Bruton TD (Fine Gael), Miren Maialen Samper (Dublin Cycling Campaign), Dave Tobin ( and Olivia Tobin (school cyclist)

There was a lovely range of bikes cycled by TDs and Senators in attendance – with folding bikes, e-bikes, cargo bikes, and bikes with child seats. The diversity of bikes being used reflects the greater diversity of uses of cycles on the streets these days.  

All in all, this was an incredibly positive event with representatives from all parties in attendance, with all in agreement that investing in everyday cycling makes complete sense. Utility cycling and its key place going forward in our transport system and climate responsibilities were common topics for discussion amongst the members of the Oireachtas. It was an excellent opportunity to engage about the successes we have had across the country in terms of cycling, and also the challenges we hope to overcome in the next year. 

R to L at the front: Ivana Bacik TD (Labour), Senator Gerry Horkan (Fianna Fáil), Minister Eamon Ryan (Green Party), Dave Tobin (

We would like to extend our sincere thanks, in particular, to Deputy Ivana Bacik as Co-convenor of the Oireachtas All Party Cycling Group and her staff for their support and organisation in today’s event. 

L to R: Catherine Martin TD (Green Party), Senator Alice Mary Higgins (Independent). Dr. Damien Ó Tuama (National Cycling Coordinator, and An Taisce), Olivia Tobin (11 year old cyclist!), Dave Tobin (Vice-Chair of, Neasa Bheilbigh (Chair of, Fintan Kelly (Irish Environmental Network), Dr. Elaine McGoff (An Taisce)
R to L: Senator Eileen Flynn (Independent), Dr. Damien Ó Tuama ( and An Taisce), Clara Clark (Cycling Without Age), Neasa Bheilbigh (, Miren Maialen Samper (Dublin Cycling Campaign)

We look forward to engaging with all parties and the All-Party Cycling Group over the coming months and years. 

Politicians Get on Their Bikes for National Bike Week

Press Release – For Immediate Use

Dáil / Oireachtas Politicians Get on Their Bikes for National Bike Week  

National Bike Week Event
Date: Tuesday 16th May
Time: 1pm

Location:  Front Gate / Kildare Street side of Leinster House, and along the cycle route

National Bike Week is well under way, with hundreds of events taking place all across the country between Saturday 13th May and Sunday 21st May. 

There is literally ‘something for everyone’, on every day of the week, at a location near you – from fun cycles to film shows to bike repairs to adventure cycles and family events and festivals. Check out the National Bike Week 2023 website for full details.  

But our Dáil / Oireachtas politicians are also showing the way and taking time out of their schedules to demonstrate the role of the bicycle in tackling climate change and making a difference in terms of our transport choices. On Tuesday 16th May at 1pm a range of our politicians from all party persuasions will get on their bikes, and cycle a circular route around the Leinster House complex (see poster route below).

This will be an opportunity to engage with politicians from all parties who are coming together to show how cycling is a key pillar of both our national transport and climate targets. at Sustainable Mobility Stakeholder Forum attended the National Sustainable Mobility Forum on 20 April (2023) in Athlone, Co. Westmeath organised by the Department of Transport. was represented by our National Cycling Coordinator, Dr. Damien Ó Tuama, with Clara Clark from Cycling Without Age also there. 

The purpose of the Forum was several fold: firstly to reflect on the key achievements of the first year of the Sustainable Mobility Policy (SMP) such as the Pathfinder Programme; secondly, to facilitate the exchange of information between public, private, voluntary and industry representatives on sustainable mobility; and thirdly, to seek the insights of stakeholders on policy objectives such as road space reallocation, demand management, and shared mobility.

The event featured an introduction by Minister Eamon Ryan, a keynote presentation by Dr. Peter Lunn from the ESRI, and a panel discussion between key representatives in this area including the OECD and the National Youth Assembly on Climate. It was particularly refreshing to hear the views of Stephen Murnane from the Youth Assembly (pictured below with the mic) – the insights of this age cohort are not heard often enough in debates on what type of transport future we ought to have.   

The Forum presented an important opportunity to re-articulate why investment in active travel makes so much sense, and to argue for reallocating road space away from private individualised motorised transport and over to public transport and cycling and walking. 

We stressed the importance of bringing local authority staff and Councillors (and perhaps also other community leaders / influencers) on study visits both here and abroad, so as to experience new street layouts and transport networks etc., to meet their peers and to discuss their concerns. This spend is ‘small change’ in transport expenditure terms, but valuable in helping to change hearts and minds. 

Clara made the point that in every town and village and on every street in cities, we need to replace one car parking space with a Sheffield rack with five stands – or replace two car parking spaces and you can have ten bikes and one cargo bike parking. This is a “Quick Win”, needs no legislation and can be done overnight. It ticks all the Active Travel boxes and re-enforces the visibility of cycling as a normal mode of transport for all ages & abilities. The cargo bike space will encourage more families to replace one car with a cargo bike, and shops can avail of the space for ‘last mile’ deliveries.

Clara also reiterated the point that cycle lanes and tracks need to be sufficiently wide to properly accommodate the Cycling Without Age trishaws (dimensions of 1.2m wide x 2m long); there are simply too many cycle facilities being built which are too narrow for non-standard bikes, including trikes, cargo bikes and mobility aids. It is also essential that the surfaces of cycle tracks are smooth – and are not dotted with sunken drain covers which can destabilise a person cycling along. 

The Forum also provided a wonderful opportunity for delegates to take a look at the nearly completed Cycle / Pedestrian Bridge over the Shannon – as shown in the image at the top there (and thanks to Westmeath County Council for this photograph).

The bridge forms part of the Dublin to Galway leg of the longer EuroVelo #2 (the Capitals Route) which has been advocating for over many years through our membership of the European Cyclists’ Federation and of the EuroVelo Coordination Centre for Ireland. We look forward to seeing the bridge completed and opened in the near future. 

Update from Meath – Navan Cycling Initiative

There is a lot happening in County Meath on the cycling development front! was delighted to receive the update below from Navan Cycling Initiative who are doing sterling local campaigning work for the last few years. 

New Greenway opens in Navan
Work on the Navan section of the Boyne Valley to Lakelands County Greenway was completed last month. The new greenway, which runs for 30km from Navan to Kingscourt, has already been a great success in locations such as Castletown and Nobber, and the Navan end has already proven to be just as popular with a huge amount of people out enjoying it.

At Navan Cycling Initiative, we have raised concerns about the lack of connectivity from the greenway trailhead to Navan town centre, and recently met with our local Active Travel team in Meath County Council to discuss the issue. Navan is in a fortunate position in that it will soon have not one but two top-class greenways (the other being the Boyne Greenway, which is still in the early planning stages), which will be fantastic for the town, but it is vital these greenways are properly connected with safe active travel infrastructure.

Navan schemes
Elsewhere in Navan, there are several cycle schemes ongoing in various planning stages (from concept to detailed design), with dedicated cycle lanes planned on the Dublin Road, the Kells Road, and the Trim Road, to name a few. See the table further below listing the schemes. These have been in planning for a number of years, having gone through the laborious Part 8 planning process, but Navan as a town is primed and ready to embrace active travel and become a cycle-friendly town. We are expecting the roll out of a new bike renting scheme (including e-bikes and cargo bikes!) over the summer, which will only get more and more people out cycling.

County Meath
There are also a number of schemes underway across County Meath. In Ashbourne, construction on the R135 Cycle Network, linking Ashbourne town centre to the Pillo Hotel roundabout, is expected to be complete by late summer. Other schemes being progressed include the Ratoath Pedestrian & Cycling Scheme, which is hoped to begin construction this year, and the Dunboyne to Clonee Pedestrian and Cycle Network, which is in the early planning stages. Meath was also successful in securing six new Safe Routes to School programmes, in various locations across the county, which will hopefully all be completed this year. welcomes updates from any of our approx. 35 member groups on what is happening in their own district or county. If you would like to post an update on the website, just drop a line to our National Cycling Coordinator here. on the Rise!

2023 is a super exciting year for as we see our campaigning work from over the years really bearing fruit with new cycling infrastructure appearing countrywide – and with more and more people taking to the bike. 

We are also entering an exciting new chapter of our journey as we enhance our ways of working and the numbers of volunteers we have on board. 

We are also looking to expand our paid professional staff complement and, to this end, we are now refreshing and expanding our Income Generation Action Group. 

We are very keen to bring into that group members of our network with expertise in the whole domain of business development and fundraising. We particularly welcome contact from those with successful experiences with making funding applications to statutory bodies and/or philanthropic organisations – and/or with knowledge of CSR / Corporate Social Responsibility schemes. 

The next six months are critical to secure funding to support the growth of cycling advocacy. If you have expertise in these areas, your work will ensure the viability of our organisation into the future.

Please drop a line to our National Cycling Coordinator, Dr. Damien Ó Tuama, if you can help out in this domain.

Thank you. – the national Cycling Promotion organisation