COW day – Wednesday 9th March 2011

What is COW? = Cycle on Wednesday
On Wednesday the 9th of March 2011, everyone in Galway is encouraged to cycle to work, school, college, or to get to wherever you need to go. That includes you!

Photo by Wreford Miller on Flickr (cc)

Why take part?
Bike Week 2011 is coming to Galway this year, with the National Event being launched in the city in June. As part of a lead up series of events, the An Taisce & Green Schools Secondary School are encouraging a city-wide Cycle on Wednesday (COW day) (see their website). This simple idea is also being promoted, by individuals and organisations across the city. The more people who cycle, the safer our roads will be. So why not take part?

What’s happening on COW day?
Some lucky staff and students who cycle on COW day at NUI Galway on the 9th of March will be getting goodies from the Galway Cycling Campaign to acknowledge their contribution to a healthier and less congested Galway. A team of student volunteers via the Community Knowledge Engagement Initiative (CKI) on campus have offered their time to share these out, with passer-bys around the campus on this date.

If your school or workplace, or organisation, or even yourself as an individual is taking part in COW day on the 9th of March, let us know, and we’ll do our best to get a bike saddle cover, or bike accessory out to you too. Email us as soon as you can on: [email protected]

Galway Schools Encourage Commuting by Bike

Pupils at Drumshanbo Voc Sch heading home on their bikes with high vis gear

It is interesting to note some major cycling initiatives happening in Galway city and county schools, developed by local Green Schools committees and supported by the An Taisce Green Schools Team. The Green Schools website section on cycling contains some useful resources to make cycling a viable alternative to being driven to school. It includes ideas for schools hoping to encourage more students to explore whether cycling is a safe and viable alternative means of travel, by organising bike training and bike maintenance sessions, and intriguingly to hold COW days – not travel of the bovine kind, but Cycle on Wednesday (COW day)  promotions. Tiarnan McClusker, from An Taisce, cited in the Galway City Tribune on the 18th of February, noted there has been a national increase of 25% of children cycling to school since 2008, since such initiatives began.

One new scheme launched this week – again by the An Taisce Green Schools Team, along with Galway Healthy Cities and West of Ireland Cycling – has offered five free bikes to teachers on a hire basis for a month, within the Galway city, Claregalway, Barna and Oranmore areas. More information about the scheme is available from [email protected]

Another upcoming event includes a week long cycling challenge for secondary school students, parents and staff, from the 7th to the 11th of March 2011 (see their website for more information). This is open to anyone who wants to take part, and is willing to get on their bikes in the city or county, in preparation for the run up to National Bike Week 2011, to be held in June. If you are a regular cyclist, be sure to wave hello at the increased number of cyclists Galway will see out on the roads on this week.

Watch out for information on events in your locality, or perhaps consider organising similar challenge where you work. Oil up your chain, pump up your tyres, and keep an eye out for some of our Galway Cycling Campaign bike accessories, which we’ll be distributing to cyclists out and about.

NUI Galway Green Fair

We always keen to talk to cyclists, and find out what concerns and issues are important to them. Towards this end, we took part in the annual Green Fair at NUI Galway on the 25th of January 2011. The fair aimed to help create awareness of how students and staff can all reduce their impact on the environment.

GCC at the NUI Galway Green Fair

Here, we had the opportunity to speak to a wide range of people who use bikes for transport, recreation or for sport, from occasional cyclists, leisure cyclists, commuters, competitive road bikers, mountain bikers and bike hobbyists alike. All day long, we repeatedly heard people call for increased consideration for cyclists by other road users; safer infrastructure – better surfaced and improved design of roads; slower traveling speeds by other road users within urban areas; and more secure and available bike parking. Many thanks for those who engaged in discussions and took the time to express and share their great ideas on making Galway more cycling-friendly.

A focus on cycling issues was a strong theme at the event, with Critical Mass encouraging folk to come along to their monthly Saturday cycles, and the student’s Eco Soc lobbying with a petition for a bike workshop on campus. Cycling is an extremely efficient and enjoyable way of negotiating the city, and the representation of so many groups and attendees with an interest in getting around Galway city and county by bike was impressive. It points to Galway’s regrowing and thriving bike scene.

Green Fair

Promoting positive images of cycling

The Green Fair also gave us a great opportunity to further promote a positive image of cycling, by handing out free high visibility vests, clever spoke reflectors, t-shirts, and the hugely popular waterproof seat covers (which help to keep your saddle dry when parked – ingenious!).

Special thanks to Dr. Aoife Collins, NUI Galway’s Environmental Manager for her invitation and organisation of the event.

Cycling Book

If you interested in improving your Cycling Skills the “Cyclecraft” book is available in all the Galway City and County Librarys

Cyclecraft
http://www.cyclecraft.co.uk/
By the Author John Franklin

This is the new updated version of the seminal textbook on cycling skills. The latest edition of Cyclecraft has been extensively revised and extended. Now targeted at both adults and children, with special advice for parents and reflects on experience gained through implementation of Bikeability, the National Cycle Training Standard in the UK. It has been restructured to present a more effective teaching order, with more detailed advice on the basics of starting to cycle and an updated section for current bike styles and equipment and also new chapters on carrying children and goods and riding with others

Links

Some Other Cycling Sites:

Cyclist.ie, comprising Ireland’s cycling lobby groups
http://cyclist.ie/

Cork Cycling Campaign
http://www.corkcyclingcampaign.com/

Dublin Cycling Campiagn
http://home.connect.ie/dcc/

Limerick Cycling Campaign
http://limerickcycling.blogspot.com/

Maynooth Cycling Campaign
http://www.thphys.nuim.ie/cycling/

Skerries Cycling Initiative
http://www.skerriesca.com/cycling.htm

Waterford Walk Cycle Initiative
http://www.wwcc.emeraldhef-ie.org/