On Sunday, the Dangan sports ground at NUI, Galway and the canals through the city were overrun by a 98-strong horde of apprentice cyclists and their parents. The Galway Cycling Campaign was hosting the “Cycling Treasure Hunt for all the Family”, the closing event of Bikeweek 2009 in Galway. Children and their parents had a chance not only to enjoy a scenic cycle route, but also to have a fun challenge in the process.

The younger cyclists on the “Explorer Course” had a traffic-free route where they had ten challenges, including counting the parked bicycles, learning to lock bikes securely, learning to use their brakes, a “slow race” and a “winding road” to test their handling skills. The older Adventurers met these challenges and took a longer route down the canals to South Park. Along the way, the “Adventurers” found out about ways to make towns more cyclist friendly, with different stations set up highlighting the potential for cycling in Galway, and different aspects of cycle-friendly town planning and road design.

As the Adventurers and Explorers returned to Dangan, there was a bike maintenance session with brakes fixed on the spot; discount vouchers were available for more complex repairs. When all were back by 4pm there was a draw for prizes. The winners included the Breathnach, Wall, Crampton, Hardiman and Shimuzu families who all won bikes worth €250 sponsored by the Department of Transport. The Regan family won a bike worth €250, sponsored by Mountain Trail Bikes, while Max Chivers won a helmet worth €50, sponsored by Nigel’s Cycles in Liosban. The Higgins family won two sets of bicycle lights, and Lexi Ensor (aged 4) also won lights. Ursula Crampton (aged 11) won a lock, repair kit and reflective bicycle clips, as did Siobhan and Mark Regan Junior from Moycullen.

The volunteer marshals from the Galway Cycling Campaign, Volunteer Centre and NUI, Galway Alive programme were overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of the participants, and everybody took advantage of the sunny weather for some old fashioned outdoor fun. The Galway Cycling Campaign would like to thank NUI, Galway for hosting the event, the Department of Transport for the funding, Galway City Council for their kind assistance, and all the volunteers who generously gave their time and worked so hard to make it such a fine event. We are also very grateful to the Garda bicycle unit and the Red Cross, who provided support on the day. Most of all we would like to thank all the cyclists, young and not so young, who took part in the treasure hunt.