CycleCoffeeCake celebrates cycling during lockdown

The second CycleCoffeeCake social cycle for women and novices on bikes will take place this Saturday morning, 27 June 2020. Please join us, especially if you or someone you know is new to cycling or has hopped back on the saddle since lockdown.

Register here for CycleCoffeeCake #2 event hosted by Galway Cycling Campaign. This is a gentle, inclusive cycle for adults new to cycling or who would like some support to become more confident cycling everyday around Galway. All ages and abilities are welcome.

We particularly want to support women as Covid-19 research shows that there has been a surge in women cycling and women are the biggest group of new-bike buyers.

Event details

Saturday, 27 June 2020
10.30 am – 12 noon
Start: Claddagh Hall, Nimmo’s PierRoute: Grattan Road, city centre and canals
Destination: Woodquay

Sponsor: Bar Italia Ciarlantini

Grazie to Bar Italia Ciarlantini, Woodquay, for sponsoring this second edition of #CycleCoffeeCake

And a very special Happy 4th Birthday to Lolita and all the staff at Ciarlantini. Congratulazioni! Thank you for creating a little piece of Italy in Galway.

Bar Italia Ciarlantini – a little piece of Italy in bustling Woodquay, Galway

Love 30 to Change Our Streets

World Bicycle Day saw cross-party support for 30 km/h speed limits for Dublin’s city centre and suburbs. We expect Galway to follow suit. Join us for a special guest speaker event this Wednesday, 17 June 2020, from 8 pm to 9 pm about how lower speed limits will make a happier and healthier Galway with investigative journalist Maria Delaney from Newsworthy, Mairéad Forsythe of Love 30 – Ireland’s campaign for lower speed limits, and Prof Kevin Leyden of NUI Galway. Event open to all.

Noteworthy and Love 30 – Ireland’s campaign for lower speed limits join with Galway Cycling Campaign for a special event on the benefits of lower speed limits.

Two weeks ago on World Bicycle Day there was cross-party support for 30 km/h speed limits for Dublin’s city centre and suburbs. Today, Monday 15 June, we expect Galway City Council to announce a similar intention.

This one change to our streets will have an immediate impact on improving road safety. It will also make cycling and walking easier and more pleasant for people of all ages and abilities. 

Lower speed limits will enable road redesign and so with narrower road carriageways there will be more space for cycle paths and wider footpaths. Lower speeds reduce the risk of road traffic collisions, reduce the risk of fatalities, and reduce the risk of life-limiting and life-changing injuries.

Hard and Fast Facts about the impact of speed on fatalities – Source: The Road Safety Authority of Ireland (RSA)

More Space and Less Speed are the two principles of our Change Our Streets campaign.

We are delighted to invite you to a special guest speaker event this Wednesday event at 8 pm on Zoom.


The Problem – cycling injuries and fatalities

Maria Delaney, investigative journalist with Noteworthy, a project of – Bicycle Blackspots Ireland, part 2: Galway’s Headford Road (April 2019)

The Solution – 30 km/h speed limits in our cities and towns

Mairéad Forsythe, Love 30, Ireland’s campaign for lower speed limits

The Benefits – happier, healthier and safer streets within people-centered communities

Kevin Leyden, Professor of Political Science, Co-Director of the Creative, Liveable and Sustainable Communities Cluster of the Whitaker Institute

Event details

This Wednesday, 17 June 2020
8 pm to 9 pm
‘Doors’ at 7.45 pm
‘Drinks’ afterwards until 9.30 pm

Zoom details

Join Zoom meeting at this link
Meeting ID: 826 4005 1920
Password: 320894
All welcome

Change Our Streets

Less Speed is the second principle of #ChangeOurStreets campaign. We need our Council and Government to lower speed limits and redesign roads to enable adherence to lower speeds. 

Less Speed supports the More Space principle of re-allocating road space to people walking and cycling. 

Join Galway Cycling Campaign

Our public events are free events and open to all. If you’d like to get involved, please join us and our everyday cycling community. Our membership contribution is €10 or €5. If you would like to donate more, you’d be most welcome!

Galway Cycling Campaign is a group of independent volunteers working to create a bike-friendly city and county for people of all ages and abilities.

€1m a day for cycling and walking in draft Programme for Government

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. 

In 2019, it was estimated that less than 2% from the land transport budget was spent on everyday cycling, according to the 2020 budget submission by – the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network.

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.

Children and families cycling in Galway city

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.

Customers by bike are good for business – Source: Transport for London (TfL) 2013

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.

Participants at the first CycleCoffeeCake event by Galway Cycling Campaign enjoying coffee and cake sponsored by Ground & Co Salthill

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.

The UN Environment Programme advocates spending 10% of land transport budgets on everyday cycling infrastructure and facilities.

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.”

Research shows that women tend to benefit more from higher cycling levels – from the European Cyclists’ Federation

Galway Cycling Campaign looks forward to examining the full published Programme for Government. More detailed comments will follow.

CycleCoffeeCake celebrates a pedal-away success

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.

CycleCoffeeCake participants enjoying coffee and cake at Ground & Co Salthill – Photo by Paula Healy

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.

Route details

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.

A recumbent tricycle is a bicycle in which the rider sits in a laid back position while riding it, with their feet in front of them, and has three wheels – File photo

Event partners

Special thanks to Martyna Cwiertnia from An Mheitheal Rothar for giving a terrific bike maintenance talk, which focused on the safety M Check.

The M Check by Velo City, an annual international cycling conference by European Cyclists’ Federation

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.

High Nelly restoration process 2019 by Martyna Cwiertnia on her YouTube channel, Rainbow Cycles

It was easy to choose Ground & 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.

An abundance of bikes securely parked outside Ground & Co Salthill – Photo by Paula Healy

Next event

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.

If you would like to become part of Galway’s everyday cycling community, join the Galway Cycling Campaign for a €10 or a €5 contribution.

Until then, pedal on!

The view from Nimmo’s Pier across the the Long Walk – Photo by Eimear Ní Fhlatharta

Cycling, coffee, cakes, chats – what’s not to love?

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.

Join our conversation on Twitter @GalwayCycling

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.

Become a member – Join Galway Cycling Campaign

A version of this article appears on page 4 in The Galway Advertiser on 11 June 2020.

World Bicycle Day – celebrating progress to #ChangeOurStreets

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.

Neasa Bheilbigh and her son Macdara, Alan Curran with Laoise, Oisín and Eanna Curran and Martina Callanan, members of Galway Cycling Campaign celebrating World Bicycle Day. Splash photo on the front page of the Galway Advertiser, Thursday June 4 2020. Photo: Mike Shaughnessy, Galway Advertiser

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.

Covid-19 restrictions and the sunny weather have encourage people to rediscover the joy of cycling. Colin Barry of Brite Mobility on Eyre Street says, “”Electric bikes are a proven way for European Cities to reduce congestion and meet their climate change targets. The motor’s assistance level attracts users who would have been afraid of  the exertion of cycling before. Brite aim to bring shared ebikes to every city in Ireland in the coming months.” Photo: Martina Callanan

Political 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.

Sligo Cycling Campaign, Kerry Cycling Campaign, Wexford Bicycle Users Group (WEX-Bug), Dublin Cycling Campaign and Maynooth Cycling Campaign support the need for More Space and Less Speed.

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.

An extract from our Open Letter of 6 May 2020 to Galway City Council Executive asking for More Space and Less Speed so people of all ages and all abilities can enjoy safer streets during Covid-19.

Open Letter

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).

Our invitation to a Public Information Meeting about #ChangeOurStreets. Over 80 people attending, including five city and county councillors from Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, the Social Democrats and the Green Party.

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.

A collage of some local and national radio and print media clippings by Galway Cycling Campaign for the #ChangeOurStreets initiative.

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.

Bhímid freisin ar Raidió na Gaeltachta agus Nuacht TG4.

‘Re-opening Galway gets bike boost as businesses support campaign’ – Galway Advertiser, Thursday 14 May 2020.

Backing business

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.

There has been a surge in bike sales countrywide – indeed, across Europe and the world. “We are selling out as quickly as we can build them,” says John Kennedy of West Ireland Cycles in Galway’s Westend.

Cycling and commuting after lockdown

As public health movement restrictions begin to ease after lockdown, we are speaking out about cycling, commuting, and the safer infrastructure we need in The Sunday Independent and The Review – Irish Independent,.

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.

Martina Callanan with her trial e-bike from Brite Mobility, Woodquay, and Neasa Bheilbigh with her son Macdara, members of Galway Cycling Campaign celebrating World Bicycle Day 2020 on 3 June. Photo: Mike Shaughnessy, Galway Advertiser

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.