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Bike Week 02 National

of about 8 weeks. Bearing that in mind, it was a real success – but it was also a learning exercise. And one of the key lessons we learned last year was that we needed to ensure that people all around the country could join in the fun. Key improvements to Bike Week 2010 are – • Celebrations in advance of Bike Week for students in secondary schools and third level colleges • Better linkages with our colleagues in Northern Ireland to ensure that Bike Week can make its mark as an all-island event • Wider engagement with local authorities and local sports partnerships to ensure that people can enjoy local events nearer to their homes • Improved co-operation with bodies who support Irish cycling, in particular, An Post, who have provided us with the services of their cycling ambassador, Sean Kelly. There is so much happening during Bike Week 2010 that it is impossible to list every event in this souvenir publication. Please visit www.bikeweek.ie for more details and to join our Facebook Bike Week page. It is also impossible to adequately pay credit to the many people who have lent a hand to this year’s arrangements. Perhaps the best way to do this is by getting your “Wheels in Motion” during Bike Week – I know that I will be doing just that!

Introduction Bike Week 2010 is Ireland’s second celebration of the bike.

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ast year’s Bike Week was organised as a collaboration between cycling activists, a wide range of State and semiState organisations with interests in transport and health, the cycling industry and others, over a period

Noel Dempsey TD Minister for Transport

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An introduction to National Bike Week From Noel Dempsey, T.D., Minister for Transport And, Ciarán Cuffe, Minister of State with special responsibility for Sustainable Transport.

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Get Back in the Saddle The success of dublinbikes.

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Bike to Work Day and Tax-friendly Biking Plus, cycle parking.

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Cycle Safe Cycling is safer than ever – find out why!

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Wheels in Motion Nuala Ryan talks to bike courier Graham White And, King Kelly – A profile of cycling legend Séan Kelly.

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Pedal in the Park Plus, a guide to the Phoenix Park.

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Calendar of Events What’s on this National Bike Week?

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An Post Cycle Series

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Which bike? Expert advice on choosing and maintaining your bike.

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Tres Chic! Cycle Chic comes to Dublin.

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Wheel Benefits Why cycling is good for your health.

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From Mizen to Malin Ciarán Lennon talks about his cycling holiday in Ireland.

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International City Cycle Plus, an update on the National Cycling Policy Framework.

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Going Green Tara Leigh talks to schools that have gone green And, Make a Difference Today – cycling with a social conscience

Welcome note As an everyday cyclist, it’s a real pleasure for me to be associated with Bike Week 2010. Bike Week is about connecting with different types of cyclists: the regular cycling commuter; the sports cyclist and those leisure cyclists who may not get on the bike as often as they'd like. In implementing the National Cycle Policy Framework, of which Bike Week is a key part, we're trying to get more people to choose the bike as their primary mode of transport and to realise the health and fitness benefits of cycling regularly. It's great to see that so many events will be taking place locally across the island of Ireland as part of Bike Week. There have been many positive developments over the past year or so that will help us to move towards our goal of having one in ten trips taken by bike by 2020. The most important

development, however, has been the increasing number of cyclists on our streets. The Cycle to Work tax incentive and the dublinbikes scheme have played a key role in making cycling an inexpensive, convenient and healthy way to get around. Progress is not limited to Dublin, however. Cyclists in places as diverse as Adamstown, Carrigaline, Carrick on Shannon, Casteltroy, Crosshaven, Dún Laoghaire, Galway, Mullingar, Mulranny, Newport, Passage West and Westport, are benefiting from our renewed focus on cycling. So why not join us for a spin during Bike Week? Ciarán Cuffe TD Minister of State with responsibility for sustainable transport

A Be Creative Editorial Production www.becreative.ie Editor Nuala Ryan • Nuala@becreative.ie Contributors Tara Leigh • Emma Hill • Ben Murnane Photography Nic MacInnes • nicmac@eircom.net Mac Innes Photography • www.mip.ie Other images courtesy of the Department of Transport Advertising Eoin Healy • ehealy@independent.ie (01) 7055403 Design INM Design Studio • studio@production.ie Repro Independent Newspapers (Ireland) Ltd, 27-32 Talbot Street, Dublin 1


National Bike Week

03

Get back in the

saddle

Launched last September, ‘dublinbikes’ has become one of the most successful bike sharing schemes in the world, creating many new cycling converts. Ben Murnane reports

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ubliners have really taken the dublinbikes scheme to their hearts,” says Ciarán Fallon, Senior Executive Engineer with the Roads & Traffic Department, Dublin City Council. The statistics don’t lie. Since dublinbikes launched last September, the number who have signed up for the service has grown from 2,000 to 25,000. “It’s the most popular public bike scheme in the world,” says Fallon. “On average, each bike is being used by 10 different people a day.” Our own fair city has beaten the likes of Stockholm and Amsterdam, where similar schemes operate. The self-service scheme is incredibly easy to use. Across the capital there is a network of 40 stations. At each of these stations a bike can be picked up and when you are finished using it the bike can be returned to any station. It’s one of the most pleasant ways of travelling through the city – whether you are living in town, working there, or just want to see the sights. What’s more, the first half-hour of use of any bike is completely free. While the service is a delight for tourists, it’s mostly Dubliners themselves who are using dublinbikes – and, those

who haven’t cycled in years are rediscovering the bug. “We know it’s mostly native Dubliners using the service because of the travel patterns,” says Fallon. “Use is spiking during the morning and evening peaks and at lunchtime, mirroring other modes of commuting. So, people are using them as part of commuting around Dublin, to and from work and college. “The average journey time is 16 minutes. People are using the bikes to cover journeys where before they might have taken a taxi or a bus, or simply walked.” A survey of users by Dublin City Council and students from DIT, found that 40 per cent had rarely or never cycled before signing up for dublinbikes. “We’re attracting lots of new people to cycling. Plus, two thirds of our members are annual members, so they’ve signed up for the whole year.” Dublin has a compact city centre, and it’s easy to zip from place to place on a bike. In many ways it’s the ideal cycling city. “When we asked people why they used the bikes, 82 per cent said convenience; the bikes are just a very handy way to get around.”

Greener Living The impressive level of uptake for the

scheme is part of a larger encouraging transport trend in the capital. The canal cordon count, an annual review of the number of vehicles moving into the city centre (between the Royal and Grand canals) during the morning rush, shows a 60 per cent increase in the number of people cycling into the city in the last five years, with a 12 per cent reduction in the number of cars since 2000. “And actually, most people are combining the dublinbikes with a bus or a Luas or a train trip, so they’re using the dublinbikes with other forms of sustainable transport,” says Fallon. Following unprecedented success, where to now for dublinbikes? Currently around 3 per cent of all work journeys nationally are by bike. The Government’s aim is to have that figure up to 10 per cent by 2020 – so local authorities have their work cut out for them. Dublin City Council is already busy keeping up with demand for bikes, but there are plans to expand the scheme further. It’s green, it’s healthy, it’s handy – and it’s definitely been a hit with Dubliners. To start using dublinbikes or to find our more, simply log on to www.dublinbikes.ie

Born again bikers Thanks to dublinbikes… I’ve been using the dublinbikes since they were introduced. I use them to get to and from the DART and to work during the week. Before I would have just walked, and missed the DART I’m able to get now! The bike scheme has got me cycling again simply because it’s handy. I wouldn’t have cycled to work before the dublinbikes. Gerry Nolan, 43 I’ve been using the bikes for about two months, just for getting from A to B in town and avoiding the traffic. I never cycled before, so I guess the dublinbikes kind of made me a cycling convert. Sarah Leahy, 26


Bike Week 04 National

The Government tax incentive scheme is sure to get you pedalling this summer.

Cycle your way to

Tax Savings

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he Cycle to work scheme has been designed to reduce the initial cost of getting on your bike and encourage people to cycle to work. On January 1st 2009, the Irish Government introduced a benefit-in-kind tax break which supports employers in providing their employees with bicycles and safety equipment in order to cycle to work. Under the scheme, bicycles and safety equipment can be purchased up to the value of €1,000. Your employer must purchase the bike in order to avail of the scheme but it can be paid back via a salary sacrifice agreement. The benefits are endless. By simply

getting involved in the scheme you can save up to 45 per cent on the cost of your bike and safety equipment, you are free from tax and insurance, reduce your journey time and improve your overall health and fitness. Some employers might feel that they just can’t take on any more paperwork at the moment – no matter what the benefits to their staff might be. But there is a solution to this – a number of specialist companies can take all that potential hassle away and deliver a full service for you. One such company is One4all. With their Bikes4work service, they make getting involved as simple as possible and will take care of all the administration for you and your company.

Frame It! All during Bikeweek One4all Bikes4work are running a great COMPETITION for everyone that cycles to work! Simply take a photo of yourself outside your workplace during the week of 14th- 18th June, upload it and you could be in with the chance of winning three daily prizes of Experience Gift Cards or the grand finale prize of a top-ofthe-range bike worth €1,000! You will be able to view the photos on the online gallery and the daily winners will be announced on the site. The more innovative and quirkier the photo the more chance you have of winning! The grand finale winner will be judged by a panel of judges including cycling legend Sean Kelly, Chief Executive of Cycling Ireland, Geoff Liffey and an Irish Independent photographer editor. The winner will be announced at the after work event at Grand Canal Square, 18th June and online. For full details on how to enter visit www.bikes4work.ie

WIN A BIKE WORTH

€1,000

They have a wide range of bicycle shops on board to make sure you can get the perfect bike, whatever you need. For all the information on the scheme,

from what your employer needs to do, the list of bike shops on board, to finding out exactly how much you will need to pay per month to pay for your bike, visit www.bikes4work.ie.

Parking with a difference With the summer approaching and good weather predicted, never has there been a better time to ditch the car and get on your bike. And with the offstreet cycle park facility available at Drury Street you can be sure your bike is safe and secure. Eight months on from the banishment of cars from one floor at the Drury Street multi storey car park to make way for parking facilities to accommodate 182 cyclists, the enterprise is beginning to develop. The Dublin City Council initiative not only offers cyclists the opportunity to park securely in the city centre but is free of charge and under constant CCTV surveillance. While more and more people are beginning to use the space, the problem seems to be that people talk with their feet. It seems that cyclists prefer to park right by their destination spots, such as near LUAS

stops, quite unlike car drivers who park in a central location and travel back and forth. Or maybe cyclists just don’t know about Drury Street cycle park. So … we’re telling you now!


National Bike Week

Cycle

safe

Although cycling is safer than ever, it is still important to make sure that you and your bike are properly prepared for the roads

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Cycle Savvy

ycling is on the rise and with great health benefits, cost efficiency, convenience and freedom associated with two-wheeled travel it is no wonder so many people are getting back in the saddle. However, before you hit the open roads, it is vital that your bike is in good working order and that you are prepared for whatever challenge approaches. Remember, prevention is better than cure. Before you begin your journey, check your bike for the following: • Handlebars are square with the bicycle frame and level with the saddle, and movement should be neither too stiff nor too loose. • Your wheels are straight and in line. Tighten any loose spokes if necessary. • Tyres are properly inflated and in good condition. • Brakes, chain and gears are in good working order. • Ensure your bike has one brake acting on the front wheel and one on the back wheel. If your bike has one fixed wheel or is designed for a child under seven years of age, make sure that it has at least one brake. • Bike lamps are required by law when cycling during dusk or darkness. They should be white to the front and red at the back. • All moving parts should be oiled. Next, ensure you yourself are prepared for the journey. • Make sure you fit your bike. When on the saddle, both feet should just touch the ground. • Wearing a helmet is recommended. Look for a mark to show that the helmet has been made to a recognised national safety standard and that it doesn’t restrict your vision or hearing. • It’s a good idea to wear reflective clothing. You could also add strips of reflective material to your bike (white to the front, red to the back). • When carrying goods, use a proper carrier or basket and make sure nothing is hanging loose.

Be prepared for whatever challenges the roads present you with, such as – left-turning vehicles Undoubtedly the biggest danger to cyclists on Irish roads are left-turning HGVs, with almost three quarters of cyclist fatalities resulting from such collisions, according to figures published in the Cycle Collisions in Dublin City report, 2002 – 2006. While HGV traffic in Dublin City has declined dramatically since the opening of the Port Tunnel, HGVs still traverse other cities and towns. In order to stay safe, cyclists should keep the following in mind. Buses and HGVs have blind zones, making it impossible for drivers to see approaching cyclists so to avoid putting yourself in unnecessary danger, learn to recognise the warning signs. Remember that there is also a blind zone right at the front of high vehicles. HGVs often move right first to clear the corner as they turn left. Stop pedalling and prepare to brake to help them get past as quickly as possible. If you are stopped and a HGV approaches directly behind or alongside, move to ensure the driver can see you directly from the cab. And, when you set off, travel safely by – • Always cycling with your safety in mind. • Making yourself visible not only by your clothing but also by your road position. • Cycling well away from the kerb and parked cars. • Not attempting to squeeze through gaps in traffic that are too narrow to negotiate easily. • Monitoring the traffic around you not only with your eyes but also with your ears. • Obeying the rules of the road, staying off footpaths and avoiding potential conflicts with pedestrians. For more information on cycling safety, visit http://bikeweek.ie/cycling-tips and www.rulesoftheroad.ie.

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Cycling in Dublin has never been safer Great news for Dubliners. Cycling has never been safer! There are a number of key factors at play. A major contributor to Dublin’s safer streets has been the successful operation of the Port Tunnel. With the most serious cycling accidents coming as a result of collisions with lorries, the absence of most of these vehicles from the capital’s streets has undoubtedly provided a safer environment for cyclists. And then there’s the 30km/h speed limit in the core city centre area. Perhaps it’s not always rigidly obeyed, but it has lessened the speed differential between motor traffic and cyclists. This has not only made it more comfortable and safe to cycle, but it has also calmed the streets to the delight of pedestrians and local residents. Cycling numbers are growing with numbers up by 60 per cent since 2004. There’s little doubt that cycling is more popular than ever and feeling safe and comfortable as you travel, whether it be a long or short commute, is key to this ever-growing popularity. And since the launch of the incredibly popular dublinbike scheme, which, based on current usage, is projected to deliver one million trips in its first year of operation, cycling numbers have seen a further surge. For motorists, the likelihood of encountering a cyclist is growing all the time – and better awareness is a key contributor to improved safety. Cycling accident numbers are down and the key point is that there is safety in numbers. This means that the more cyclists there are on the streets, the safer it is to be on a bike. In fact, using your bike is one of the most important contributions you can make to cycling safety.

Watch a video about interacting with HGVs at http://www.bikeweek.ie/videos Cycling Skills safety advice courtesy of Galway Cycling Campaign, www.galwaycycling.org.


06 National Bike Week

Wheels in

The motion Phoenix Park

Being a bike courier is not all tricks and thrills. Nuala Ryan speaks with Graham White, co-owner of carbon neutral company Velocity Couriers, to hear what a day in the life really entails

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ike bus, Luas, DART and taxi, Dublin’s bike couriers are part of the lifeblood of the city. None more so than Graham White, who has spent the last 14 years working in the city. More recently, Graham has decided to go it alone, setting up his own company with fellow courier and friend, Chris. So who better to talk to about daily life on the job?

Velocity Couriers “Starting up our own company was tough, but, having worked for other people and sub-contractors for many years, it was time to branch out and start up on our own. We looked at doing something different and this was when we came up with the carbon neutral idea. Everything we do is green. Our cargo bikes are particularly unique and specially imported from Denmark.”

on my ears so much to hear traffic coming from behind. It is vital you are constantly alert. “There needs to be a certain give-andtake between cyclists and drivers. Pedestrians too need to be more aware of cyclists and look before they step out onto the road –even if you can’t hear traffic, it doesn’t mean a bicycle is not approaching.”

Fitness “In your early days as a courier, fitness is a cruel mistress. You could eat for Ireland for the first couple of months but, like all things, you do adapt. There is also a lot of stopping and starting during the day so the miles that you cycle in any one day are not as bad as you might think.”

Pros and Cons

“There are a lot of things I like about the job. Freedom is a huge plus as is getting to work outdoors. I love doing the work and going home tired at the end of the day because it’s justified tiredness. Safety “I love cycling around the city, and “As a cyclist, your awareness is key. seeing Dublin. I think that it’s great that I When I see people cycling with have been able to watch the city change headphones it really disturbs me. I rely over the years and that I have been a part of the city’s lifeblood. “But there are definitely IMAGE: Eoin Holland disadvantages to the job. Conditions are tough for cyclists as the industry is largely unregulated. The weather can also be a negative but, again, you get used to it. As long as you have a good rain jacket you’ll be okay!”

Cycling in Dublin “Dublin has a long way to go compared to other major European cities but we are moving in the right direction. Like these other cities, we need to build up a respect for cyclists and develop our cycle facilities. We are going the

Cycle lanes with a natural twist

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he Phoenix Park is used by commuters every day between the suburbs and the city centre. But it is also a nature haven and a sometimes overlooked national treasure. At over 1,700 acres in size, the Phoenix Park is the largest enclosed recreational space in any European capital city. It has been home to the Fallow Deer since the 1660’s, and it is, essentially, the Irish President’s front garden. There is so much to see in this natural playground, which is a highly important site for biodiversity in the city. It supports 50 per cent of the mammal species found in Ireland and about 40 per cent of bird species. With 14 km of newly extended off-road cycle lanes throughout the park, it’s the perfect location for any aspiring cyclist to get familiar with their bike and rediscover their cycling skills in a safe and beautiful environment. As well as the natural beauty of the Phoenix Park, 30 per cent of which is covered with trees such as the oak, ash, beech, sycamore and horsechestnut, there are numerous attractions to behold. The People’s Flower Gardens, located between the Parkgate Street and the North Circular Road entrances, were established in 1864. With their ornamental lakes, they are the perfect spot for a picnic. The Visitor’s Centre and adjoining Ashtown Castle gives the visitor a historical interpretation of the park over the ages. It also provides an Exhibition Room and restaurant, and admission here is free. Next to the Visitor Centre is a two and a half acre Victorian walled kitchen garden which will inspire and educate you with its colourful flower displays and wide range of fruit and vegetables. Members of the public are invited

right way, but it may be the next generation that sees the real benefits.”

to come and meet the Phoenix Park gardeners here on the second Saturday of every month between 10.30 am and 12.30 pm. Built in 1751 and having served as the official residence of the British Viceroys, Áras an Uachtaráin has been the official residence of the President of Ireland since 1938. It has survived Ireland’s tumultuous history and guided tours are available to the public every Saturday. West of St. Mary’s Hospital, on the hill of Knockmary, stands a prehistoric burial chamber over 5,500 years old which makes it 500 years older than Newgrange. Dublin Zoo, located near the People’s Flower Garden, is one of the oldest zoos in the world but has been greatly renovated over recent years and features around 650 animals and birds from around the globe. There is so much to see in the Phoenix Park and it's architectural, archaeological and artistic significance can be appreciated perfectly from your bike where you have the best seat in the house. You have the chance to be a part of your surroundings whether you are wildlife-spotting, sight-seeing, or just enjoying a leisurely cycle on a safe and scenic cycle lane.

Phoenix Park Bike Hire If all that cycling sounds good but you find yourself bike-less, don’t worry. Just inside the Parkgate Street gate is Phoenix Park Bike Hire where you can rent Giant bikes to suit your needs. Kids’ bikes, mountain bikes, tagalongs, baby seats and even racing bikes are all on offer from €5 per hour or €20 per day. Beyoncé rented a bike there so why don’t you? Call 086 2656258 or visit www.phoenixparkbikehire.com

idea of providing a green, carbon neutral service. Now we just need other people to believe in us too.”

The future “With Velocity Couriers we don’t want to take over Dublin or the world, we just want to be sustainable. We think what we are doing is valid and has a purpose in Dublin and we really believe in the

Visit www.velocitycouriers.ie for more information on their services. If you want to contact Graham or Chris, you will find all the necessary contact details on the website.


National Bike Week

07

Pedal in the Park Last year’s opening event in the Phoenix Park was such a success that we’ve made it into this year’s national grand finale! Emma Hill discovers what’s in store at Pedal in the Park.

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he final day of National Bike Week 2010 will be celebrated by a major event in Dublin’s Phoenix Park that promises fun for all the family. Falling on Father’s Day, it is the perfect way to spend a summer’s Sunday afternoon in the fresh air, with lots of entertainment, and of course, many things bike-related! Pedal in the Park takes place from 11am until 4pm on Sunday June 20th, and organisers are encouraging everyone to get involved. All registered participants, in a special collaboration with Dublin Zoo, are then invited to visit the Zoo, which will remain open specially till 8pm on the day. Kids go free and adults are at half price. All 32 counties will be represented on the day with county flags, and those attending are

encouraged to dress up in their own county colours.

Entertainment This will be a day packed full with live entertainment with a DJ providing non-stop music, along with the Garda Band and other live acts, not to mention the Drumming Workshop. Face painters will keep the kids happy, as will the balloon modelling and the All4one Bikes4work bicycle musketeers. Live entertainment for bike lovers includes unicyclists and bike acrobats, extreme BMX freestyle displays from RampRage (not for the faint-hearted!), and an entertaining game of Bike Polo from the Irish Bicycle Polo Association.

Professional cycling has always been a hotly contested field. Competitions come in quick succession with little time to take a breath between tours, classics and championships. Today, however, cyclists can dedicate more time in preparing for a single event. This was not always the case. During the 80s and 90s, one cyclist rose to the challenge and week in week out provided the cycling fraternity and its fans with some of the greatest races, victories and achievements of that era. This man is Sean Kelly, who, to this day, is fondly remembered as one of Ireland’s premier cyclists of all times.

The Great Years 82: Having riddin in his first professional race in 1977, by 1982 Kelly was employed as team leader of the new Gribaldy team. He

Get Involved Pedal in the Park has plenty of opportunities for everyone to get involved. A large area in the Phoenix Park will be closed to cars, and bike tours encompassing wildlife, history and biodiversity will be run by the OPW and are suitable for all the family. You can book these on the Bikeweek website, www.bikeweek.ie Slow Bike Races will be running (or maybe stalling!) throughout the day with various

heats and competitions to find out who can cycle the slowest without stopping – not as easy as it sounds! The day’s festivities will come to a close with the Parade of Colours, a colourful procession of cyclists around the Phoenix Park featuring celebrities, the Garda Band, Garda Bikes, Dublin City Bikes, Raleigh Choppers and many more. The parade will be at a gentle pace to ensure that everyone can join in. So grab the family and ‘get on yer bike’ down to the Papal Cross on Sunday June 20th. Stalls selling tea and coffee and the freshest smoothies and sambos will be available, and homemade picnics are encouraged with picnic tables and seating areas in abundance on the day.

Shop Around All of the big names in the bike business will be at Pedal in the Park. With displays of

King Kelly Full name: Sean Kelly Date of Birth: 24 May 1956 Place of Birth: Carrick-on-Suir, Co Waterford

bikes and accessories, all those who come along will get to view and purchase the latest products, and maybe even win some prizes. If your beloved bicycle is in need of some TLC, the Bike Doctor will also be on hand to service bikes and make repairs.

PEDAL IN THE PARK TAKES PLACE SUNDAY JUNE 20TH FROM 11AM – 4PM AT THE PAPAL CROSS, PHOENIX PARK, DUBLIN.

Sean Kelly is an Irish cycling legend and he has the achievements to prove it

won Paris-Nice and four of its stages, while also winning the green jersey (best sprinter) at the Tour de France two years in a row. 83: Won the Giro di Lombardia by the narrowest margin after a sprint. Won ParisNice for the third consequtive time, as well as Paris-Roubaix and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. 84: 33 victories and 5th in the Tour de France - unfortunately he lost the green jersey. 85: Another Paris-Nice victory, and adding the Nissan International Classic and Giro di Lombardia to his growing list of race successes. Finished fourth in the Tour de France and reclaimed the green jersey. 86: Won Paris-Nice, Paris-Roubaix, MilanSanremo. As a result of a serious crash in Tour de Suisse, Kelly missed the Tour de France. He returned to Ireland and won the Nissan Classic again. 87: Victory in Paris-Nice. However, illness forced Kelly out of Vuelta a Espana, while an injury to his shoulder following a crash in the

Tour de France meant early retirment from the race. Another victory in the Nissan Classic. 88: Victory in Paris-Nice, as well as gold in Gent-Wevelgem. Won his first grand tour – the Vuelta a Espana. 90: Victory at Liege-Bastogne-Liege, holder of the green jersey in the Tour de France, gold in the UCI Road World Cup, and victory at the Tour de Suisse. 91: Pulled out of the Tour de France because of a broken collar bone. He then won his fourth Nissan, and the Giro di Lombardia. 92: Although considered ‘past it’, Kelly moved to the Festina team, winning the Milan-Sanremo - his final classic. 93: Won the second stage of the Clasico RCN in Columbia, and came second in the Irish Road Championship. 94: Changed to the Catavana team and rode his last professional race in Carrick-on-Suir along with 1,200 other cyclists. A special presentation was made to Kelly by President Mary Robinson after this race.

Sean is still very active in the world of cycling. He is regularly on the bike with his work and he is a well-known broadcast commentator at international cycling events such as the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia. He is also Leader of the An Post Sean Kelly Cycling Team, based in Belgium, so the team is right on the doorstep of the packed European racing calendar. Sean has made time to give his support to National Bike Week 2010 saying, “Cycling has given me a good life and I am working with the An Post Cycle Series and National Bike Week to raise the profile of cycling in Ireland. Cycling is definitely increasing in popularity, whether for leisure, for work or sport. National Bike week is a great way to get more people on a bike and to give them a chance to enjoy it.”


08 National Bike Week

Calander of Events

Find out what’s on in your area for Bike Week by logging on to www.bikeweek.ie

There are literally hundreds of events planned around the island to support Bike Week 2010. Here’s just a small sample... NATIONWIDE Cycling Ireland Raleigh Around Ireland Cycling Ireland have organised the Raleigh Around Ireland event which will see three riders depart from the Spire on O’Connell Street and between them, over the course of the week, cycle through all 32 counties of Ireland linking up with schools and communities along the route. The riders meet in Mullingar to celebrate the end of their journeys.

Cycling Ireland Raleigh Around Ireland, Dublin Cycling Ireland have organised the Raleigh Around Ireland event which will see three riders depart from the Spire on O’Connell Street and between them, over the course of the week, cycle through all 32 counties of Ireland linking up with schools and communities along the route.

Sunday 13th June, 2pm

bikes, and represent it through drawing, painting, Photoshop, illustration, etc. The winner will be announced in Gallery One.

and the An Post Cycle Team) and five teams from the UK will battle it out over a short course circuit through Temple Bar.

Thursday 17th June, 6pm

Saturday 19th June, 5pm

Insurance Cycle, 2010, final leg, Wexford to Dublin Join The Insurance Institute of Ireland's 125th anniversary celebrations and cycle in aid of Barndardos this June. Enter as a team or an individual for the full route or one day - all levels are welcome. There is an option to cycle for 5km, 50km 125km or 500km, or even just cheer the cyclists at the breakfasts and barbeques. The final leg kicks off at Riverside Park Hotel, Enniscorthy.

Cycling Ireland Raleigh Around Ireland, Mullingar Cycling Ireland’s Raleigh Around Ireland riders come to the end of their journeys in Mullingar having linked up with schools and communities along their journeys.

Bike Week 10 minute cycle challenge for workplaces Teams from companies around the country (which must include at least one “new” cyclist) will record every time they get on their bike for ten minutes or more and compete for cycling related prizes sponsored by Trek. The 10 Minute Cycle Challenge is a fun, free workplace event. For more info or to register, see www.cyclechallenge.ie

The Seomra Youth Cafe Build a Bike Project, Bray, Wicklow The Seomra Youth Cafe, Bray Youth Centre will be holding five days of Biking Activities. Activities will begin with the Build a Bike Project and finish with a Seomra Group Cycle. Other activities include Road Safety, showing of a Road Safety Film for Young People and a Road Safety Poster-Art Activity. All activities will take place at The Seomra Youth Cafe, Bray Youth Centre, Carlisle House, Adelaide Road and are aimed at young people aged 12-18 years.

Monday 14th June to Friday 18th June

Tuesday 15th June – Friday 18th June

Friday 18th June, Time TBC

All4one Bikes4work photo competition A week-long competition which will invite cyclists to upload innovative and quirky photos of themselves and their bikes. Full details at www.Bikes4work.ie

Cycle Chic, City Hall, Dublin A "cycle chic" fashion event in the Rotunda in City Hall organised by Dublin City Council in association with the Embassy of Denmark (admission by ticket only).

Cycle to Work Day, Grand Canal Square Cycle Jam, Dublin Dublin cyclists will converge after work to demonstrate that cycling is the way to get around town. Bikes4Work.ie will announce the overall winner of their week-long competition which will invite cyclists to upload innovative and quirky photos of themselves and their bikes. The Dublin Cycling Campaign will announce the winner of their Golden Pedal Award for the business that has done most for cycling in the past year (www.dublincycling.ie/goldenpedal).

Sunday 13th June to Sunday 20th June

Monday 14th June to Friday 18th June

Wednesday 16th June, 6pm Cycle to School Day Events in primary schools nationwide in association with An Taisce’s GreenSchools Travel Module.

Wednesday 16th June Bike to Work Day Take the bike to work and feel so much happier!

Friday 18th June

DUBLIN AND LEINSTER The Wicklow 200, Greystones The Wicklow 200 is a non-competitive cycle ride that covers 200 kilometers around Wicklow and attracts over 2000 cyclists from many different countries. The route includes many climbs, big and small, with some up to a height of 500 meters. The total climb is over 2000 meters so the event should not be taken lightly but is open to all cyclists, of any age. The event is organised by the Irish Veteran Cyclists Association.

Sunday 13th June, 7am-9pm

Cyclize your City Winner Announced, Gallery Number One, Castle Street, Dublin Creative people have been invited to imagine the city ‘cyclized’, i.e. with just

Thursday 17th June, 10.30am 12th Lock to 3rd Lock Walking and Cycling Route South Dublin County Council perform the official opening of Dublin’s newest cycle and walking route.

Friday 18th June, 5.30pm Bring your Bike, Shoreline Sports and Recreation Park, Greystones, Wicklow Wicklow Local Sports Partnership are holding an event which will feature BMX workshops for beginners, intermediates and advanced on the skate park, while a family cycle workshop and family cycle will be held in the car park and around the cycle paths in Charlesland, Greystones

Saturday 19th June, 12-3pm International City Cycle Race, Dublin Celebrating Dublin City’s status as European Capital of Sport, five professional teams from Ireland (representing each of the four provinces

Sunday 20th June, 4 pm Pedal in the Park, Phoenix Park, Dublin The national closing event of Bike Week, this is a fun day out for all the family with live musical acts, face painters and balloon modelling, food and drink, bike doctor, bike polo, slow bike races, bike tours around the park, bike entertainers such as BMX Freestyle and unicyclists, all culminating in a Cycle Parade through the Park. And, to celebrate the day, there’s also extended opening hours in Dublin Zoo with reduced admission prices for people registered for Pedal In the Park.

Sunday 20th June, 11-4pm

CONNAUGHT Insurance Cycle 2010, first leg, Sligo to Galway Join The Insurance Institute of Ireland's 125th anniversary celebrations and cycle in aid of Barndardos this June. Enter as a team or an individual for the full route or one day - all levels are welcome. There is an option to cycle for 5km, 50km 125km or 500km, or even just cheer the cyclists at the breakfasts and barbeques. The first leg kicks off at the Clarion Hotel, Sligo.

Monday 14th June, 10.30am Insurance Cycle 2010, second leg, Galway to Limerick The second leg of the III’s charity cycle commences from the Glenloe Abbey Hotel, Bushy Park, Galway.

Tuesday 15th June, 11am NUI Critical Mass Cycle An hour long on-street cycle around Galway by students and staff.

Friday 18th June, 1pm Three Counties Bike Run Looped 16k bike event in the Carracastle


National Bike Week

area which will take in the counties of Mayo, Sligo and Roscommon. The event is open to families and residents of the area. A shorter route will be available for younger participants.

Taisce, pupils will be actively encouraged to cycle to school on that day with a series of fun events throughout the morning.

Wednesday 16th June, 9am

Sunday 20th June, Carracastle Bike Selection – Set Up Maintenance Workshop, Meadowlands Hotel, Tralee, Kerry Ever wondered how to fix a puncture or what type of bike to buy? This workshop is for both the cyclist and non-cyclist to answer this question. Topics to be discussed include choosing the right bike for your intended use and basic bike maintenance, especially puncture repair or tube replacement or minor gear/brake adjustments, as well as tips on general bike cleaning and lubrication.

MUNSTER Currow Race, 45th John Drumm Cup Event, Kerry Aimed at competitive cyclists, the John Drumm Cup Event 100k will take place on a new circuit of Currow - Currans Ballycarthy - Castleisland (x2) plus five laps of the Ballybeg - Metal Bridge Circuit.

Sunday 13th June, 2-4pm Family Fun 4 Mile Cycle, Currow, Kerry Families are encouraged to take part in this fun participatory cycle event organized by Kerry Local Sports Partnership and Currow Cycling Club. Savor the entertainment and view the John Drumm Cup Cycle Event which is taking place prior to the Family Fun Cycle. Refreshments will be provided as well as family entertainment.

Sunday 13th June, 4-7pm Insurance Cycle 2010, third leg, Limerick to Cork Join The Insurance Institute of Ireland's 125th anniversary celebrations and cycle in aid of Barndardos this June. Enter as a team or an individual for the full route

or one day - all levels are welcome. There is an option to cycle for 5km, 50km 125km or 500km, or even just cheer the cyclists at the breakfasts and barbeques. The third leg kicks off from Limerick Strand Hotel.

Wednesday 16th June, 11am Milford Grange Green Schools Travel COW Day, Castletroy, Limerick Part of the National COW day run by An

09

ULSTER Disability 'Come and Try It' Event In conjunction with the IWA, a 'come and try it' day for people with a disablity will take place from 10.30am - 1pm in Cavan Leisure Complex. The event is aimed at manual wheelchair users and people with mild/moderate learning disabilities.

Wednesday, 16 June, 2010, 10:30 - 13:00 Buncrana Leisure Cycle This event will include a ferry trip across Lough Swilly from Buncrana to Rathmullan and a cycle around Knockalla including the famous hill climb.

Friday 18th June, 8-9pm

Thursday, 17th June, 2010, 17:00

Training Techniques and Nutrition Advice by cyclist Paul Griffin, Meadowlands Hotel, Tralee, Kerry This workshop is aimed more at the sportive or amateur competition cyclist, where Paul will advise on training techniques, programmes and nutrition. An ideal opportunity to ask the questions you always wanted answers to!

International Cycle Race, Belfast City Five professional teams from Ireland (representing each of the four provinces and the An Post Cycle Team) and five teams from the UK will battle it out over a short course circuit.

Friday 18th June, 5pm

An Post Tour de Burren, Clare Join Sean Kelly for a day of cycling fun for families (and the more competitive among you) in Ballyvaughan.

Ladies Day at North Pole Cycling Club For lady cyclists and also those ladies who would like to get involved in cycling, the day will include a cycling workshop from 11am to 4pm (break at 2pm for lunch) at the Buncrana Leisure Centre.

Friday 18th June, 1pm

Saturday, 19 June, 2010, 11:00

Friday 18th June, 20:00 - 21:00

Aisling Evans charts her journey from sceptic to converted after taking part in the An Post Tour of Sligo I’ve never been one for competitive sports, and while I use the bike to get to work every day, I would never call myself a “cyclist”. So it took quite a bit of persuading from my other half to get me to commit to the An Post Tour of Sligo. “It’s not a race,” he promised. “It’s a tour, you get to cycle at your leisure, enjoying the sights of Sligo in the sun”. Yeah right, I thought, it’s the west of Ireland on a bike; it’s bound to be raining. And so it was with no small sense of trepidation on my behalf, we headed up the N4 at the crack of dawn one Sunday morning with our bikes on the back of the car. Of course he was right. The sun was splitting the skies. It was one of those mornings that make you really believe that on days like these, there is no better place to holiday than Ireland. I have to admit to getting a bit of a thrill when we got to the starting point. There was a real mix of people, from the perfectly decked out “real” cyclists who were there for the 160k Ox Mountain Challenge, to people like me. I was reassured by the number of families that were there, thinking

that I had to be faster than someone with the added weight of a child on the back of their bike. We had signed up for the 60k Lough Gill Circuit on the understanding that I could quit and return whenever I wanted to. I never did. There was such an amazing, friendly atmosphere, and I was blown away to see cycling legend Seán Kelly mingling with us mere mortals. By the time I reached the first food stop and the warm welcome of the volunteers at St. Michaels GAA Clubhouse, I was hooked. The views on the tour were breathtaking, from Knocknarea Mountains and the iconic Queen Maeve Tomb, to the views of the Atlantic, stunning views of Coney Island and the majestic Ben Bulben. I was on the coast road back into Sligo town and the finish at the Institute of Technology. With the 160km, the 60km (which I did) and the 10k Family Tour, there was something for everyone in the Tour of Sligo and the organisation and marshalling on the day was faultless. And so in the space of a few hours I went from a reluctant participant to someone who can’t wait to get back in the saddle for the An Post Tour de Burren. Bring it on!

THE NEXT AN POST CYCLE SERIES EVENT OF THE SUMMER IS THE TOUR DE BURREN WHICH WILL BE TAKING PLACE DURING NATIONAL BIKE WEEK. Clare: The An Post Tour De Burren, Saturday, 19th June For more information www.burrencyclingclub.com or john@claresportspartnership.ie • Tel: 065 6865434 Meath: Heritage Cycle Tour of Meath, Sunday, 25th July For more information www.meathlocalsportspartnership.ie • Tel: 046 9067337 Waterford: Sean Kelly Tour of Waterford, Sunday, 29th August For more information www.theseankellytour.com or info@theseankellytour.com • Tel: 058 21104 Cork: Rebel Tour, Saturday, 11th September For more information www.corksports.ie or info@corksports.ie • Tel: 021 4665081 Further details of the An Post Cycle Series are available on www.anpost.ie/cycling or www.facebook.com/anpostcycling


10 National Bike Week

Which

bike T

here is a cycling revolution taking place in Ireland today. Whether using bikes to get to work, to keep fit, or for the sheer pleasure of cycling itself, it cannot be denied that there are visibly more cyclists on the road than there has been in years. So for those of you who are thinking of getting back in the saddle, is buying and maintaining your bike as easy as riding it? According to Eurocycles’ Cliff Mulhern –general all-round bike expert – the answer is a resounding yes! The first thing to consider when buying a new bike is what kind of cycling you plan on doing. Will you use your bike for short or long commutes, or for leisure cycling? Are you hoping to cycle competitively? Knowing what bike you are looking for will make finding your perfect bike an easy challenge. Next consider your budget. For €400 - €600 you can get a decent run-around that will do the job just fine. But for €1,200 - €1,500 you can get a good quality, lightweight bike with nice wheels. Whatever bike you choose, if you are using your bike to commute you can avail of the ‘bike to work’ scheme meaning further savings on the overall cost of your bike – and in turn your annual travel. Although €1,200 to €1,500 may seem like an awful lot to spend, bikes in this range have good quality parts, good wheels and excellent stopping power to boot. It is also worth noting that you can upgrade any of the bike’s parts at any stage, which means that even though you can’t stretch your budget to buy your ideal bike initially, you always have the option to upgrade and customise your bike down the line. The sky is really the limit when it comes to upgrades, with many people choosing to build their bike from scratch, spending thousands of

Want to buy a bike but don’t know where to start or simply wondering how to keep your bike in top working order? Nuala Ryan speaks to the experts to find out more euro to create the bike of their dreams. With cycling, everything is subject to each individual’s personal preferences. For this reason, Cliff advises, it is vital that a person chooses the bicycle that fits them best. A good guide is to sit on the saddle and check that your two feet just touch the ground. After this, everything is interchangeable. “People often come in looking for a leisure bike, but they also want to take it camping, so they are, in fact, looking for a different kind of bike than they initially thought,” Cliff explains. “A hybrid bike is always a good start, plus you can add on any extras that you need.” Cliff also notes that the old-style bicycles have also become very popular in recent times and there are certainly plenty of them to be seen in the city. So if you are looking for a trendy two-wheeler, this could be the perfect bike for you. For commuters however, Cliff recommends the hybrid. As for parts, if you are willing and can afford to spend a little bit extra now, you can be guaranteed a high quality, high end product that will run cheaper and save on service costs down the line. So, now that you have your new bike what is next? Well, now is the important time to ensure you look after your bike correctly and this means keeping it well maintained. Regular maintenance is key to getting the most out of your bike so check your brakes, tyres, chain, lights, reflector and bell regularly. Depending on the weather, your brake pads can wear out more quickly so when the weather is bad pay special attention to the quality of your brakes and how they are dealing with the rain. Remember, the

better you look after your bike, the less your bike will cost you. It’s not all about the bike however. Cyclists can also have some fun with gear and accessories for themselves, as well as their bike. The ultimate gadget at the moment, Cliff says, is the Garmin 705. This gadget does it all. It can measure your speed and your pedal revolution. It has a heart monitor, plus GPS. You can go out for a cycle and get yourself lost safe in the knowledge that this smart device will have logged your exact journey taken and show you the way home. It’s also compatible with Google Maps – perfect for when you want to plan a specific cycle route. Another essential piece of kit that Cliff recommends is a carrier for your bike. “There is no need to go around with a bag on your bike,” he advises, “when you can let your bike do the carrying for you.” On a similar note, if you are doing a longer commute, invest in a proper pair of cycling shorts as having the correct support and padding will make your journey as easy and painless as possible. Also, invest in a good lock and don’t forget that your lock also needs a bit of TLC. Oil it regularly to avoid getting locked out of your own bike!


National Bike Week

11

Très

chic

With the eagerly anticipated Cycle Chic event coming to Dublin this National Bike Week, Nuala Ryan chats to its creator Mikael Colville-Andersen about what the Irish audience can expect

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he 2010 National Bike Week is packed with great events, none more so than Dublin Cycle Chic. Where the only must-have accessory is a bicycle, Mikael Colville-Anderson, the brains behind this two-wheeled soirée, encourages all of Ireland’s cycle fashionistas to come out and celebrate the bicycle as a lifestyle accessory for the modern urban landscape. I caught up with Mikael to find out more.

2wheels

are better than none

For the latest bike fashion and fitness wear, visit 2wheels in Sandymount and at their new store in Monkstown. From the best in bicycle rain gear to fashions for ladies who don’t want to compromise on style, 2wheels has everything you need to get you on your bike. Visit www.2wheels.ie or call (01) 2602611 for more information on what’s in store today.

Picture taken at National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks

Urbanfrog A newcomer to the cycle fashion scene, Irish company Urbanfrog has a lot of cyclists leaping with excitement with their new brand of cycle wear bringing natural, ethical and sustainable fashion to the market. Launching its range of male and female cycling tops initially, all made of between 97 – 100 per cent breathable Merino wool with subtle but effective hi-vis detail, Urbanfrog guarantees that whether you want to cycle in comfort and ease without breaking a sweat, or simply look good while on your bike, it has combined all the right ingredients to make sure you look cycle chic. To find out more about Urbanfrog, or to shop online today, visit www.urbanfrog.ie.

Q: So Mikael, where did Cycle Chic come from and what does it all mean? A: The concept started quite by accident. Prior to November 14th, 2006 I was just like any Copenhagener. I didn't notice bicycles; I just used one to get around. Then, on my way to work one day, I took a photo of an elegant cyclist waiting at a red light. I posted this picture on Flickr and a lot of people were amazed she was riding in a skirt which, to me, was a strange observation as that is quite normal here. I started taking more shots of cyclists in Copenhagen, eventually starting a blog www.copenhagencyclechic.com and coining the phrase 'Cycle Chic' in the process. To my amazement, the blog received loads of visitors from day one. From that photo, which has since been called the photo that launched a million bicycles, the bicycle suddenly reappeared on the public consciousness. It became a fashion object, an accessory for urban living. I had hit a nerve without knowing it. I brought the bicycle back to the regular citizens, freeing it from the sub-culture of sport. Everyone can ride a bicycle. It's universal. And people were hungry for this re-branding of the bicycle as not only transport and urban mobility, but also as something cool and hip and doable in your regular clothes. That's why I call this Bicycle Culture 2.0. We're merely returning to something that worked well but we’re doing it with style. Q: What do you think makes a person 'cycle chic'? A: At its heart, Cycle Chic is an inspiration. It really only means regular

people using a bicycle to get around their city in their regular clothes. Cycle Chic is about looking and feeling good on two wheels, and a rebellion against the way the sports industry has sold cycling for decades. Q: Why did you choose Dublin as a venue for a Cycle Chic event? A: In Dublin there is a great deal of good energy about making the city a more liveable place. We feel that Dublin can be a leading bicycle city and that a Cycle Chic celebration of bicycle, style and bicycle style was exactly what the city needed. Q: What can people expect at this event? Should they dress for the occasion? A: The event is a gorgeous celebration of the bicycle as a lifestyle accessory for the urban landscape. We deftly and elegantly leap over traditional bicycle advocacy and go straight to what it's all about. The bicycle is a practical and efficient tool for citizens in cities but it is also poetry, elegance and cool. Q: Finally, have you any style tips or advice for our readers, in particular as regards to cycle fashion? A: Open your closet. It's filled with 'cycling' clothes. And remember, this is nothing new. People in your family, only a couple of generations ago, were cycling around the city looking smashing. So yes, you can cycle in a skirt and killer heels or a suit. It's as easy riding a bicycle. Due to space imitations, Dublin Cycle Chic which takes place for one night only on Wednesday June 16th in City Hall in Dublin, has to be a strictly ticket-only event. However, the good news is that you can compete for tickets by uploading pictures to Flickr through Mikael Colville-Andersen’s blog, www.copenhagencyclechic.com. And if you’re among the lucky ticket winners, should you dress for the occasion? YES! Sharpen those stillettos. Iron those cravats. Let's get gorgeous. To follow the progress of Cycle Chic online, visit Mikael Colville-Andersen’s blog, www.copenhagencyclechic.com.


12 National Bike Week

Wheel

Benefits

It’s official! Cycling is good for your health. So enough with the excuses - it’s time to get back on your bike

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ycling in Ireland is on the rise. Not only is it cost efficient, environmentally friendly, and convenient, but now, thanks to the health benefits associated with cycling, more and more people are getting back in the saddle. Regular cycling improves your health, fitness, mood, and even your life span. Cyclists live on average two years longer than non-cyclists and are as fit as an average person 10 years younger. Regular cyclists also take 15 per cent fewer days off work through illness. In fact, research published in 2009 suggested that if everyone spent 15 minutes cycling to and from work, school or college daily, it would save the Irish Health Service €815 million annually. Many fitness experts believe cycling is one of the best forms of exercise. Not only does it provide a lot of the benefits of other high-intensity exercises but it is also a very low impact exercise making it suitable for those at a low level of fitness or suffering from an injury. And because cycling can be easily fitted into your daily routine, everyone can reap the rewards. For those looking to shape up for summer and beyond, cycling is a great way of getting fit and maintaining a healthy weight. Twenty minutes of gentle cycling can burn up to 100 calories, while more serious cyclists can burn up to 600 calories an hour. Cycling also raises your metabolic rate and, when this is combined with a healthy diet, keeps your weight down and helps firm and tone the muscles, in particular the thighs, bottom and lower abdominal muscles. If you are cycling on hills or other undulating ground, cycling also gives you a great upper body workout. Plus, ladies take note! Some studies even suggest that cycling is one of the few cellulite-busting exercises. The knock-on effect of regular cycling

is great. Not only will you lead a healthier lifestyle, you are also helping to protect your future health by reducing your risk of heart disease, highblood pressure and diabetes through this low impact, aerobic exercise. For beginners, or those who are looking to build up their fitness, start off slowly. Even cycling for as little as 10 minutes two or three times a week is beneficial – and a great way to start. As your fitness level increases you can start increasing you distance, building up to some longer leisurely cycles at the weekend. Cycling even helps your mental health. Not only will you feel stress-free when avoiding rush-hour traffic, but an exhilarating cycle also increases brain endorphin and serotonin levels, the body’s happy hormones, which means that the risk of clinical depression decreases in the long term. So what are you waiting for? The health benefits of cycling greatly overshadow the modest risks of cycling, so get on your bike today.

Still not convinced? Well, lets help you dispel some of your biking myths. Driving my car is much more convenient than cycling around town Wrong! Cycling is undoubtedly the fastest way to get around town and you don’t need to worry about parking or clampers. Cycling takes you from door to door and, better still, you can usually park right outside your destination.

Cycling is also good for the environment, only bettered by walking. And there’s no need to worry about traffic congestion. In fact, cyclists will often travel at a faster speed than cars at rush hour.

I have more independence when I have my car Cycling offers great independence. It is flexible and convenient – perfect for when you have to run any unexpected errands. Parking is not an issue and rush hour irrelevant.

That all sounds too good to be true – there must be some hidden costs? When it comes to cycling the biggest expense you should face is the cost of the bike itself and there are some great bike bargains to be had today. After this, all you can expect are lower traffic costs and lots of money savings. If you are finding your weekly commute expensive then you will find your savings even bigger. With cycling you do not need to worry about tax and insurance, NCT and fuel costs. Also, think how much money you will save on gym membership.


From

National Bike Week

13

Mizen to Malin Cycling holidays are a great way to see the countryside, as Ciarán Lennon discovered when he and his friends cycled from top to bottom of Ireland

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ast summer a group of my friends and I took a week out and cycled the length of the country, from Mizen Head to Malin Head, taking in some of Ireland’s most breathtaking and scenic spots along the way. From the Lakes of Killarney to the Burren, past the Cliffs of Moher and under the shadow of Sligo’s famous Benbulbin Mountain, we covered 700kms in seven days with little else than a decent map and a lot of enthusiasm. After a day’s cycling, your meals are tastier, the pints creamier, your sleep is sounder and the welcome seems warmer. We experienced Ireland of the Welcomes first hand – one such host made us apple

pie, we had our cycling laundry cleaned by another, and in Ballyhaunis, the small pub we took refuge in that night turned on the midweek James Bond movie for us as we recovered from a tough day in the saddle and a late night in Galway City.

road courses down around the Lakes of Killarney. While most tourists only get to see this view from the bus, on two-wheels we were free to enjoy the open air, and a bit of freewheeling towards our first night stop.

Day 1 Leaving Mizen Head, we travelled north through Bandon, and were quickly faced with our trip’s first real challenge: the Caha Pass. Successfully conquered it was down hill to Kenmare, apart from a quick pit stop in a homemade chocolate sweet shop we discovered in the middle of nowhere! Having refuelled, the road rose before us again as we cycled towards Moll’s Gap. The view that greeted us from the top was worth all the effort as the

Day 2 From Killarney, we travelled to Tralee before stopping for lunch in Listowel. After a quick dash to get to the Tarbert Ferry, we set sail for Kilrush, Co Clare. With the evening starting to draw in it was off to find a bed for the night, Spanish Point the destination.

After three long days in the saddle, and a late night in Galway, we decided to take it easy today and Ballyhaunis was our chosen destination for some R&R after a shorter than usual cycle.

Day 3

Day 5

Despite heavy rain overnight, the sun

Refreshed and ready to face the open road again, we set off for Sligo. We found a great spot for lunch by the Garavogue River in Sligo town, before beginning the final leg of our journey taking us by the imposing Benbulben on our way to Ballyshannon.

Before you hit the open roads, here are a few tips to keep in mind: – Don’t forget the basic safety necessities. Lights and reflective gear are vital if cycling in low light. A helmet is recommended. – Always be equipped with a spare tube, basic tools and a mini-pump in case your tyre punctures. The country roads can be isolated, and help may not always be close by. – Don’t ignore the instructions for tyre

pressure. A lot of cyclists cycle with much lower pressure than advised, which can lead to punctures as well as damage to you wheel rims. Low tyre pressures also sap your energy! – Watch out for the prevailing winds and use them to your advantage when planning your route. There’s nothing more frustrating than a whole day cycling into a head wind.

was shining down on us again as we took the scenic route to Galway city. Along the way we stop at the Cliffs of Moher – much needed after climbing the hill that leads to the visitor centre – enjoy the unique scenery of the Burren and then it’s a race to Galway City where there was no shortage of options for a few well-earned refreshments.

– A cycling holiday can be as easy or as difficult as you wish. Just make sure you don’t take on more than you are physically able to. – Check out http://www.railusers.ie/ passenger_info/bikes.php and http://www.irishrail.ie/your_ journey/bicycle_information.asp for information on bringing your bikes on the train

Day 4

Day 6 Even though we are finally in Donegal there is still plenty of work to do as we make our way up hills that really test the legs. The further we cycle, however, the more impressive the scenery becomes and the closer we get to our final stop, Letterkenny, where a cold and creamy pint or two is waiting.

Day 7

Go West! The recently opened and world-class Great Western Greenway (Newport - Mulranny Section) has Ireland’s cyclists buzzing. This 18km greenway offers an estimated two and a half hours of traffic free cycling and five and a half hours walking, following the line of the famous Newport / Mulranny Railway, which closed in 1937. Showcasing

some of the most idyllic scenery in the country, the Great Western Greenway is now the longest off road cycling experience in the country, and is part of the planned National Cycle Network. With a mix of flat countryside and gentle gradients, the route is perfect for cyclists with moderate levels of fitness. And as it is part of the National

Cycle Network, the trail is well marked meaning all that is left for you to do is enjoy the cycle. Bring your own bike or rent one locally. You’ll love the Greenway. For more information on this world-class trail route, visit www.westportsmartertravel.ie

Our last day! A slow morning is not helped by strong head winds but we persevere. From Letterkenny we cycle to Rathmullen and, having enjoyed the Tarbert Ferry so much, sail to Buncrana. A week in the saddle is starting to take its toll now but we still find the energy to make it from the Inishowen Peninsula to Carndonadh and finally, to Malin Head. It’s time to relax at last and celebrate with a dip in the ocean.


Bike Week 14 National

Blazing

Saddles Top class racers take to Dublin’s streets for the International City Cycle Race

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op class professional racing is set to return to Dublin this summer as part of a series of events celebrating Dublin as the European Capital of Sport 2010. With thrills and spills guaranteed, you can watch five professional teams from Ireland (each representing the four provinces and the Sean Kelly An Post Cycle Team) and five British teams battle it out over a short course circuit taking in some of Dublin City’s most famous locations. The International City Cycle Race is part of an Irish Tour Series taking place

during National Bike Week. The first event takes place in Belfast on Friday 18th, with the final round happening the following night, Saturday 19th, in Dublin City Centre. This great event sees the return of cycle racing to the streets of Dublin City after an absence of almost 20 years and is a wonderful opportunity to showcase a sport that is currently enjoying a strong revival and also to promote Dublin as a sports-friendly city. Cycling Ireland, who are promoting the event in conjunction with SweetSpot, are delighted to have the support of Dublin City Council and the Department of Transport to help bring

professional racing back to the Irish people. Cycling Ireland CEO, Geoff Liffey said “We are delighted to have such an attractive route in the heart of the city, taking in Temple Bar, Christ Church and City Hall.” He notes that this would not have been possible without the assistance of Dublin City Council and the support of the residents and traders of the area. Karl Mitchell, Dublin City Council Sport and Active

Living Manager, says, “It’s great to have cycle racing back in the city again. This promises to be a really exciting event. Being European Capital of Sport is a huge award for the city and this is a great opportunity to celebrate our successes.” There are lots of activities planned for the day of the big race itself, including a series of fun events and cycling demonstrations for kids, families and local business. The main event will be a one-hour race with 50 competitors taking to the streets. And if you can’t make it into the city to watch the action unfold don’t worry, the event will also be televised on Setanta TV.

The National Cycle Policy Framework Year 1 Highlights

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y 2020, we will have created a culture of cycling in Ireland. That’s the key aim of the National Cycle Policy Framework, published in late April 2009. So what have been the main achievements in that time? Bike Week is obviously our flagship project. This year, we expect to see thousands of people turning out to support a wide range of events right around the country. However, there’s more to implementing the Framework than just Bike Week. We’ve taken a fresh look at how the cycling message can be communicated and have been making use of Facebook to update, entertain and engage fans not only on Bike Week but on cycling developments generally. The Facebook presence, which is still growing, has gathered in the region of 1,000 fans, based not only in Ireland, but around the world. We’ve made a special effort to combine awareness raising of cycling as an enjoyable travel method with concerns about how motorists and cyclists engage with each other on our roads. For cyclists, a commonsense tips leaflet has been produced and provided to bicycle shops. Bus drivers have also got their own leaflet which has been provided to both Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann. The important area of interactions between HGV drivers and

cyclists has not only been explained in a specially designed leaflet, but, with the help of the Road Safety Authority, an instruction video has also been produced. This is available on the Bike Week, RSA, Irish Road Haulage Association and the Dublin Cycling Campaign websites and on Youtube. Cyclists, of course, mostly share roadspace with cars. Recognising this, we’re using the motor tax renewal system to provide each car owner, over the course of the next year, with a reminder of how to most safely co-exist with cyclists on our busy roads. We’ve targeted the needs of young people though support for the Eco-Unesco Young Environmentalist competition. We were happy to present the 2009 and 2010 senior transport category award to CBS Charleville for their cycling-based Green Mile Initiative but were thrilled when their efforts in 2009 also saw them crowned as overall winners of the competition. We also continue to support the efforts of An Taisce’s Green-Schools Travel Module which now reaches 144,000 pupils in 472 schools nationwide. This module, which aims at encouraging noncar based travel to and from school – walking, cycling and public transport – has achieved a measurable shift away from private car only travel to school. We’ve also provided support to the Tour of Ireland cycle race in 2009 and have participated in a cycling segment on the popular Eco Eye TV series. The National Cycle Policy Framework recognises that communication and education must be backed up by “hard” interventions like infrastructure provision. Some

flagship walking and cycling projects have been supported in the year or so since the launch of the Framework including off-road routes between Carrigaline and Crosshaven in Cork, the Phoenix Park Northern cycle loop which was completed in time for last year’s Bike Week, and the stunning Newport to Mulranny route in Mayo. Projects that have more urban feel include the Castletroy cycle network in Limerick, the Adamstown to Grand Canal walking and cycling route in South Dublin, the Fisheries Field walking and cycling route in Galway city and the Portobello to Fairview walking and cycling route which will run right through the heart of Dublin city.


National Bike Week

15

Make a

difference

Green T

Schools

o date, a total of 450 primary and secondary schools countrywide with around 144,000 students are taking part in the Green-Schools Travel programme. It’s a programme initiated by An Taisce, and supported by the Department of Transport , to encourage students, parents and teachers to walk, cycle, Park ‘n’ Stride, use public transport or car pool instead of using the private car on the school run. The initiative really seems to be taking off. Recent research carried out by Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), indicates that the programme is having a big impact, with car based travel to school reduced by approximately 22 per cent in participating schools. Cycling training is provided in the travel module and there’s emerging evidence that where cycle parking is provided in tandem with the training, students take to their bikes much more readily. The travel programme is the fourth module of a wider scheme which is

taken on by schools following success in modules relating to litter and waste; energy and water. The green-schools programme which is known internationally as eco-schools is operating in 43 countries around the world including almost all EU member states, Africa, South America, Oceania and Asia. It involves over 27,000 schools, 6,000,000 students, and 400,000 teachers. In Ireland, over 3,200 schools are registered in the programme, with over 1,800 flags awarded. While the green schools programme promotes responsible behaviour among school children and the wider community towards the environment that is not its only concern. It is also a learning resource, raising awareness of environmental issues through activities directly related to the primary and secondary level curricula. For further information on the GreenSchools Travel programme visit www.greenschoolsireland.org or contact the Green-Schools Travel team on (01) 400 2214.

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hen we think of cycling we often think of the benefits it holds for ourselves, such as losing weight and achieving that body we’ve always wanted, saving money on fuel costs or making the environment a healthier space. However, a community bike shop, Rothar, aims to make a real social difference and enhance lives. Rothar is a community bike shop that accepts donated bikes from the public. Their work aims to reduce waste going to landfill by repairing scrap bicycles and then reselling or donating them. The idea for the venture surfaced in 2008 due to the surprising level of bicycles abandoned and damaged in Dublin streets. Anne from Rothar recounts seeing bikes left in this careless fashion: “As cyclists (and being passionate about bicycles), it was difficult to see that bicycles were simply seen as disposable goods” “I was made redundant a year ago and since things were starting off with Rothar, I decided to concentrate my time and energy on it” Today, based on Phibsborough Road,

today

Rothar is a team of about 20 people: one full time staff and the rest being unbelievably great volunteers. However, their work is not solely concentrated on repair work. They organise a lot of activities that are bicycle related, such as bike maintenance workshops, bike safety classes and build your own bike workshops, with an aim to become the first bicycle training centre in Ireland. Basically, Rothar is a local business wishing to develop and help the community in providing training, sustainable and cheap transport in Dublin. “When we grow, we employ local people and develop our area. We also wish to help people who wouldn’t get a chance to get a qualification or job otherwise, like young and exoffenders or people who have been homeless”, says Anne. As well as being a bike shop and community development project, Rothar is a lot of fun! On June 13th the team are holding a kids’ bike swap in Shankill, where parents can exchange bikes to suit their growing children. So, go on! Join Rothar’s facebook community today and get involved in this great and fun enterprise.


Bike Week 16 National

ActivityPage

Did You Know?

Colo Me ur

• Bicycles produce absolutely no pollution in their use • Before the 1860s, bicycle tyres were made of iron • Cycling was one of the original sports in the Olympic Games

• The fastest anyone has ever cycled within 24 hours is 1,217 miles • Twenty bicycles can be parked in the same space taken up by one car

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