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.
Last Sunday 11 April, to celebrate World Health Day 2010 and Galway City Council’s decision to close Cross St. and Middle St. to motorised traffic for the afternoon, the Galway Cycling Campaign converted a small section of the road — the size of a single car — into a miniature public park for the people of Galway. It was the second time we created this mini-park in the city.
By temporarily constructing Galway’s newest park, our aim is to creatively explore how urban public space is allocated and used. Inexpensive kerb-side parking results in more motor traffic and less space in our city centre. This in turn hinders the movement of pedestrians, cyclists, and motor vehicles; it adds to the level of CO2 emissions; and it obstructs the creation of a healthy, vibrant human habitat for Galway. We are re-imagining the possibilities of the city landscape.
Our re-interpretation of road space demonstrates that even temporary spatial redesign can improve the character of Galway City. We were also lucky to have a beautiful sunny afternoon. Many curious passers-by stopped to chat, to sample our delicious bicycle biscuits, to sign up to our mailing lists, to read our educational signs and our new Cycling Skills leaflets, and simply to watch the world go by from an unexpected green patch on the road.
We would like to thank Galway City Council for closing Cross St. and Middle St. to traffic for the afternoon, and we’re especially grateful to everyone who stopped and said hello. We’re already looking forward to the next outing of our mini public park!
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.