Galway Cycling Campaign warmly welcomes the report in the Irish Times that the deal for the Programme for Government will include €360m for cycling and walking. This will be allocated each year before the proposed future investment split of 2:1 in favour of public transport over roads. This is a smart deal for transport, public health, and supporting the local economy.
The volunteer group for everyday cycling has campaigned for years for 10% of the land transport budget to be allocated to cycling.
Chairperson of Galway Cycling Campaign Kevin Jennings emphasised the significance of the increase of funding from 2% to 10% for cycling.
A commitment of 10% for cycling in the land transport budget could help change transport in Ireland. The new government radio ads asking us to cycle and walk where possible are a first that I can recall. My kids are asked to cycle to camógaí training.
Investment in cycling is investment in public health. Better infrastructure will encourage more people to cycle during coronavirus, and enable the years of social distancing we must do until a Covid-19 vaccine is available.
The chairperson also added that cycling is good for local business.
Cycling is good for business. Customers by bike are local and loyal. Research in London and Europe shows that bike parking outside your business brings five times the retail spend as the same space allocated to a car.
The first CycleCoffeeCake event organised by Galway Cycling Campaign ended at Ground & Co in Salthill. The local business was delighted to sponsor this event to support new people cycling as they’ve seen a massive jump in customers arriving by bike.
Martina Callanan, spokesperson for the Galway Cycling Campaign, pointed out that EU research clearly shows that the economic and social benefits of cycling and walking.
According to EU research, each 1 km drive costs the public purse €0.11 in terms of travel time, collisions, and pollution, while at the same time each 1 km cycle or walk brings health, environmental and quality of life benefits of €0.18 & €0.37 / km respectively.
She added that the the group are keen to confirm the annual percentage budget for cycling and walking.
It looks like the Programme for Government will commit 20% of the land transport budget to cycling and walking, as 20% of 2020 land transport budget is €360m.
We expect 10% to be clearly allocated to cycling as this 10% allocation is endorsed by the UN, Citizens’ Assembly, the Dáil, Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action and the government’s Climate Plan.
Kevin Jennings added that the expectation is that cycling funding will be spent on quality infrastructure for all ages and abilities in Galway city and county so that we can grow cycling to levels common in places like Ghent, Seville and Leeds.
We also need to support more women to cycle. The boom in bike sales is due to more women buying bicycles. Before coronavirus, only 27% of cycling commuters are female, according to 2016 Census data.
Women typically have complex cycle routes involving trips to school, childcare, GP, local shops, public services like libraries, as well as to work. Safe and segregated cycle paths in networks that start from your residential area are necessary to support more women – and families – on bikes.”
Galway Cycling Campaign looks forward to examining the full published Programme for Government. More detailed comments will follow.
The first CycleCoffeeCake held today was a pedal-away success. The event, which filled registration within 24 hours of its announcement, shows the latent desire for people of all ages and abilities to gain confidence for cycling on roads, learning safe cycling skills, and enjoy being part of an everyday cycling community. Participants included a man using a recumbent trike, a proudly self-identifying ‘oldie’, and Snoopy the dog in a bike basket. The sound of bell chimes and happy chats as people cycled side-by-side was pure joy.
Thank you to all who joined us for the first ever #CycleCoffeeCake this morning. It was thrilling to have people of all ages and abilities with a mix of regulars and newbies on bikes join us for a gentle and including Saturday morning spin for coffee and cake.
New bikes and golden oldies
Eimear Ní Fhlatharta, who bought her bike only a fortnight ago, said the experience helped her feel empowered and more confident about taking space while cycling on-road.
Martina Callanan, spokesman for the Galway Cycling Campaign and creator of CycleCoffeeCake, said that this tweet was the reason for doing what we do.
Eimear’s experience is why we set up this social cycling event. We want to enable confidence in people who are new to cycling, or hopping back on the saddle after years or maybe decades. We want to share skills and tips while connecting people with a caring and fun everyday cycling community.
Martina Callanan, spokesperson for Galway Cycling Campaign and creator of CycleCoffeeCake
Before the group departed the start point, a participant asked, “When is the next event?” Gesturing at her red bike with a wicker bike basket, she said, “I’m as old as this bike. I want to cycle!”
The group asked for CycleCoffeeCake to be a fortnightly event during the summer. We are delighted to respond to this request, and so the next event will take place on Saturday 27 June at 10.30am.
Registration details along with the start point and route details will be announced the week beginning Sunday 20 June.
The route today went from Nimmo’s Pier to Blackrock before ending in Salthill village with coffee and cake at Ground & Co.
Instead of the off-road cycle path on the shoreline of the Swamp, the group cycled entirely on-road. This is because a kissing gate from Nimmo’s Pier to the Swamp is a Covid-19 contact concern as well as being a mobility obstacle for people with bikes, and in particular, our participant who uses a recumbrent trike.
Special thanks to Martyna Cwiertnia from An Mheitheal Rothar for giving a terrific bike maintenance talk, which focused on the safety M Check.
Check out Martyna’s bike mechanic YouTube channel, Rainbow Bikes, which has helpful easy-to-do bike maintenance tips as well as videos on vintage bicycle restorations.
It was easy to chooseGround & Co Salthill as our first event partner. The Aquarium Building is a great location in Salthill with lots of space and seats outside to enjoy our complimentary coffee and cake.
Since coronavirus and lifting of lockdown, more people are arriving by bicycle and the bike stands outside Ground & Co Salthilll have never been so busy. We’re delighted to support CycleCoffeeCake and sponsor this first-ever event.
Kevin Nugent, owner of Ground & Co Salthill
As well as the event group, many more people on bikes were curious about the event and tagged along behind and joined us for coffee and chats.
Importantly for us, this local café has an abundance of secure bike racks, which we filled.
CycleCoffeeCake will be a regular fortnightly event by the Galway Cycling Campaign during the summer.
We want to help people feel more confident cycling about town and to and from residential and recreational areas. Each event will take a different route and will offer a theme, a guest guide, or a guest speaker.
Kevin Jennings, chairperson of Galway Cycling Campaign
Cake bike trails will be explored across the city, especially those that end in green and blue areas where we can enjoy coffee, cake and chats in safe and pleasant surroundings, like Terryland Forest Park, the Seven Galway Castles’ Heritage Cycle Trail / Slí na gCaisleán, Cappagh Park, and Ballyloughnane Beach.
As we reopen society after the coronavirus lockdown, we want to support local businesses, especially those that have safe and secure bicycle parking outside.
Martina Callanan, creator of CycleCoffeeCake
We welcome suggestions of routes and local businesses in the comments below, via email [email protected] or through DM on Twitter.
Save the date!
The next event will take place on Saturday 27 June at 10.30am. A registration link will be live in the week before the event.
CycleCoffeeCake is a new initiative of the Galway Cycling Campaign which aims to encourage women and novice cyclists to hop on their saddles and join together in a gentle, inclusive cycle around Galway city. We hope to encourage those who are comfortable cycling and those who would enjoy some support as they gain confidence in cycling around the city.
The inaugural CoffeeCakeCycle event takes place this Saturday, 13 June 2020, from 10.30am to 12 noon, meeting outside the Claddagh Hall at Nimmo’s Pier. From there, the group will make their way to Salthill on off-road cycle tracks along The Swamp and then go on-road at Grattan Road and out along the Prom before returning and ending at Ground & Co Salthill at the Aquarium Building.
Over the summer months, we hope to host regular CycleCoffeeCake spins and help people feel more confident cycling about town. Each event will take a different route and will offer a theme, a guest guide, or a guest speaker.
Kevin Jennings, chairperson of Galway Cycling Campaign
For this inaugural event, the theme is ‘On Your Bike!’ and a local bike mechanic from An Mheitheal Rothar will give a short talk about basic bicycle maintenance.
Cycling is an easy, fun activity for people of all ages and all abilities. We want to take people on bike trail across the city that ends in green and blue areas where we can enjoy coffee, cake and chats in safe and pleasant surroundings, like Terryland Forest Park, the Seven Galway Castles’ Heritage Cycle Trail / Slí na gCaisleán, Cappagh Park, and Ballyloughnane Beach. We want to support local businesses, especially those that have safe and secure bicycle parking outside.
Martina Callanan, spokesperson for Galway Cycling Campaign
“These are social events, with the added bonuses of exploring our city, sharing experiences, exchanging tips, and, very importantly, enjoying coffee, cake, and chats,” she added.
The bike boom of 2020 is well reported here in Galway, and indeed across the country and the world. Bike shops can barely keep up with demand as bikes – and even parts – sell out.
It has felt safe, even for families, without the traffic. It is not just bike sales that have gone through the roof; it’s entry-level bike sales for day-to-day journeys or with the kids.
Many shops are reporting for the first time that more bikes are being sold to women than men. Stepthrough frames are the most popular type of bike.
Cathy Coote of An Mheitheal Rothar points out that stepthrough bikes are useful and inclusive.
People with mobility and hip issues can get on them without pain. You can put a child seat at the back without running the risk of kicking your kid in the face. Emergency stops are easier if you feel nervous as a beginner – you can simply hop off the saddle and be on your two feet.
Cathy Coote, An Mheitheal Rothar, Galway Shopping Centre
Research shows that women tend to benefit more from higher cycling levels. Since women tend to take more care of childrens’ and older adults’ mobility in families, they gain more time if the children and older family members can take independent journeys by bike. Reducing the Mammy taxi service means women gain more time.
Kevin Nugent, owner of Ground & Co, is sponsoring the event and providing all participants with a complimentary coffee and cake or pastry.
Due to limited parking, more people are arriving by bicycle and the bike stands outside Ground & Co Salthilll have never been so busy. We’re delighted to support CycleCoffeeCake and sponsor this first-ever event.
Kevin Nugent, Ground & Co Salthill
CycleCoffeeCake follows similar inclusive cycle projects in Dublin and Wexford.
Dublin Monthly Cycles and Wexford’s Bikes & Brunch Huns say that combining cycling, coffee and cake is a wonderful way to spend a weekend morning – and help people feel more comfortable cycling around their hometowns.v
Best of luck to Galway this weekend. It’s such a laugh and I can’t even explain the pure joy of seeing people who were once scared of cycling on the roads head off with their new gang of gals around them – it’s just brilliant. Cycling, coffee, cakes, chats – what’s not to love?
Ruth O’Connor of Bikes & Brunch Huns, a project of Wexford Bike User Group (WEX-Bug)
For future events, Galway Cycling Campaign is keen to hear from people for ideas for routes and suggestions for local cafés with bike parking.
Due to government restrictions, the group will be limited to a maximum of 15 people. Register here.
You don’t need to be a member to join us for CycleCoffeeCake – join us to get involved with our projects and activities and be part of a community working together for a safer, happier and healthier Galway.
UN World Bicycle Day took place on 3 June 2020, exactly four weeks to the day that we sent our ‘Change Our Streets’ Open Letter to Galway City Council Executive. Cycling for a safe Covid-19 recovery and beyond is on our minds. #ChangeOurStreets has made significant progress and continues to gather momentum across the city and county, as well as towns across Ireland. Galway is on the verge of becoming an easier, safer, more pleasant place to cycle.
Momentum for More Space and Less Speed
Cycling has rebounded faster than any other transport mode during coronavirus and the easing of Covid-19 restrictions. The bike boom is seeing sales of bicycles soaring across the country.
The ‘Change Our Streets’ movement continues to gather momentum. The principes of More Space and Less Speed are gathering significant public engagement and support.
We are supported by all of the TDs from Galway West, TDs from Galway East, Senators, as well as enjoying cross-party support from City and County councillors who are regularly in touch with us.
Our local and national public representatives accept and support the need to develop and implement policy and see money within our national and local government budgets used for a lasting sustainable, resilient, and healthy recovery.
Change Our Streets goes nationwide
Cycling groups across Ireland are working with local businesses and community organisations to change our streets to make safer streets. Other towns have been in contact with us and have developed their own ‘Change Our Streets’ campaigns in Ennis, Maynooth, Sligo, Tralee, and Wexford.
In early May, we sent our Open Letter to the Galway City Council Executive, which was reported by RTÉ News and RTÉ Drivetime. #ChangeOurStreets has two broad principles: More Space and Less Speed to make healthier, happier and safer streets for people of all ages and all abilities. It was signed by more than 180 organisations and individuals.
Since then, the co-signatory list has grown to over 250 organisations and individuals. They include Galway Chamber, Galway City Community Network, Galway City Partnership, Galway Councils’ Older Persons’ Council, residents associations, active retirement clubs, bridge clubs, sports clubs (SKGAA, Knocknacarra FC, Water Polo, Galway Triatholon Club), and youth organisations (Scouts, Girl Guides).
Online public meeting
Within the week of sending the Open Letter to the Council Executive, we held an online public meeting. It was attended by 80 people, including city and county councillors. We invited people to submit their specific ideas on how to change Galway’s streets to make them easier, safer, and more pleasant for people of all ages and all abilities
Submission of Specific Suggestions
Over 60 specific suggestions were submitted to the new Galway City Mobility Team. They included specific streets where footpaths need to be widened, longer time at pedestrian crossings, pop-up cycle lanes and commuting corridors.
Influencing and reflecting public conversation
Our efforts to #ChangeOurStreets led to invitations to discuss cycling and Covid-19 on The Today Show with Sarah McInerney and Galway Talks with Keith Finnegan.
Reflecting the public mood of the desire to change and for More Space and Less Speed on our streets, The Galway Advertiser, The City Tribune, and Galway Bay FM have covered letters to the editor about speed limits, feature pieces about being ‘In The Saddle’ and ‘Celebrating the rebounding of cycling’, as well as our public meetings.
Galway Chamber and Westend Traders were two business organisations that quickly supported #ChangeOurStreets, along with Edward Holdings, Aerogen, Brite Mobility, Kearneys Cycles, Aniar, Massimos Bar and The Beauty Mint. They recognise that the bicycle is a great transport option for short distances under 6 km and that more people walking and cycling opens up our streets to community and commerce again.
We back local businesses in the post-Covid recovery. Research from London and Europe shows that customers on bikes are good for business. Local bike shops form part of the #LeanOnMeGalway campaign to kick-start the economy again.
Last weekend, along with cycling campaigns in Ireland’s four other cities of Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Waterford, we spoke to The Times Ireland. We talked about the unintended benefits of the closure of public car parks turning into cycle parks for children learning to cycle with big new-bike smiles and our urgent cycling infrastructure needs, especially at roundabouts and hostile junctions.
World Bicycle Day, 3 June 2020
To celebrate World Bicycle Day 2020, the Galway Cycling Campaign encouraged people to share photos using the hashtag #MeAndMyBike on social media. There were lots of big new-bike smiles on faces of all ages and stories from people who have got back on the saddle thanks to quieter roads.
No better time to bike
Now is the time to make Galway easy, safe and pleasant for people of all ages and all abilities to cycle from their front doors to local businesses and parks, pitches and beaches. Galway is already a cycling city. Let’s make it a better one.
As part of UN World Bicycle Day, Galway Cycling Campaign will attend a special webinar on the topic of cycling for a safe Covid-19 recovery and beyond. We have sent an invitation to this event to members of the Galway’s City Mobility Team, all Galway TDs, and to all city and county councillors – and the public are also welcome to join.
The event will present recommendations and discuss with leading decision-makers and cycling advocates how we can take advantage of the current crisis to rethink our urban mobility systems and redesign cities for good.
The guest speakers are significant urban mobility specialists within Europe:
Karima Delli, MEP, Chair of Transport and Tourism Committee, European Parliament
Christophe Najdovski, Deputy Mayor for Transport and Public Space, City of Paris, and ECF President
Miguel Gaspar, Deputy Mayor for Mobility and Safety, City of Lisbon, Portugal
Saskia Kluit, Member of Dutch Senate and Director, Fietserbond, The Netherlands
Will Haynes, Infrastructure Director, Sustrans, United Kingdom
The webinar ‘Rethinking Mobility: Cycling for a safe COVID-19 Recovery and beyond’ will take place on Wednesday 3 June 2020 for 90 minutes duration between 1pm and 2.30pm [14:00 – 15:30 CEST].
All are welcome to join. The event is highly recommended by the Galway Cycling Campaign.
Galway Cycling Campaign and the ‘Change Our Streets’ movement welcomes the online request and mapping tool for ideas to improve mobility in the city during coronavirus. It was made available today, Friday 22 May 2020, by Galway City Council and the City Mobility Team.
Kevin Jennings, chairperson of Galway Cycling Campaign said, “We welcome this easy-to-use online form. We are glad that the Council have made the suggestions transparent and map-based, as we suggested in previous correspondence.”
All requests will be populated on a map of the city, so everyone can see requests submitted for areas of interest.
Categories for change: wider paths, lower speeds, space for cycling, cycle parking, maintenance, more space for queuing
Martina Callanan, spokesperson for Galway Cycling Campaign said, “We encourage everyone to use the online request form to support social distancing. If you are concerned about space at a bus stop, touching beg buttons at crossing, need a wider footpath in your residential area, or need space for cycling, you can make a specific request for a particular location. We suggest people bookmark this online form in their web browser to access it quickly and easily.”
She continued, “We welcome the categories for change which include requests for wider paths, lower speeds, space for cycling, cycle parking, maintenance, and more space for queuing. These changes to our streets will make our city safer and more pleasant for walking and cycling for people of all ages and all abilities.”
Galway City Council says, “Please note this information will be made publicly available on a map on www.galwaycity.ie Please do not include any personal details, names or profanities in your submission.”
Galway City Council says that all requests will be carefully reviewed by the City Mobility Team (CMT) to identify which initiatives can be progressed safely. Galway City Council will update the status of requests, as they are reviewed by the CMT.
Yesterday, Thursday 21 May 2020, Galway Cycling Campaign submitted a 20 page document of 60+ specific suggestions to improve mobility during coronavirus.
Galway Cycling Campaign is a voluntary group which represents cyclists in Galway. We promote cycling as a common and accessible form of transport with the goal of creating a more liveable Galway for everyone.