15 June 2009

Go For a Ride in Dublin

It's something called National Bike Week in the UK this week and Ireland has a National Bike week for the first time, too.
Part of the Irish week is the Dublin City Cycle on Wednesday June 17th, 2009. It's organised by the Dublin City Council, The Dept of Transport and the Dublin Transportation Office.

The poster, as it was explained to me, was an attempt to remove focus from the gear of sports/hobby cyclists and to try and make the event more 'cycle chic' and appealing to average citizens. And a beautiful poster it is, too.

Back to the UK event, if you Google it, the description reads "Bike Week is an annual opportunity to promote cycling as a source of fitness and fun."

What about "feasible, intelligent and respectable form of transport"? Or are they just trying to get some more people riding on Sunday afternoons?

Speaking of National Bike Week, The Guardian asks a number of cycling 'experts' [whatever that means] about their favourite bike routes. I describe the route from my flat to the centre of Copenhagen in the morning rush hour - it's on page three of the online article.

I don't do cycling holidays. When you ride your bicycle as transport every day, all you want out of a holiday is to walk a few metres down to a beach to build sandcastles with your kids, after which you promenade down to the harbour for dinner. But hey, that's me. I understand how some people may enjoy it and that's lovely.


le homme au velo said...

Hi Mikael I went to the Phoenix Park Dublin for the Start of Bike Week Yesterday Sunday 14 /6/09. It was Fun, Bikes of all shapes and Sizes.

I took part in the 10 K Bike Tour around the Park. Did the Slalom on my Dutch Bike then looked at the BMX Display of Jumping the Ramp on these little BMX Bikes. You can view the Pictures I took on my Web Site. http// levieauvelo.blogspot.com

I Registered for the Bicycle Jaunt around the Streets of Georgian Dublin on Wednesday the 17th June at 7.00pm Should be good Fun. Might wear my Tweed Jacket and Tweed Hat While on my Dutch Bike.

WestfieldWanderer said...

Essentially, you're right, Mikael. Bike Week is firmly aimed at the family and leisure cyclist. Most people will travel to events by car with the bikes strapped on the back, potter up and down a cycle path doing an organized “treasure hunt” to appease the bored kids for an hour or two, load up the bikes and drive home again. Nothing to do with cycling as transport at all. Admittedly there are token efforts during “Bike Week” to encourage utility and travel-to-work cycling. This is usually in the form of something called a "bike breakfast" - basically a council subsidized bacon roll handed out to those who already cycle to work anyway.
Bike Week could be described as a conscience-salving publicity stunt by local authorities so that they can be "seen" to be getting more people onto bikes.
Of course, this will never happen until Britain's streets are made more bike-friendly. And at the current rate of "progress" that, also, is never going to happen.
Apart from being a bit of fun, Bike Week in the UK is really a total waste of time and effort for no real gain at all.

Kelvin said...

Reminds me of our "Bikedays": in the summer, certain (particularly scenic) routes are closed to automobile traffic on Sunday mornings to be enjoyed by cyclists, pedestrians, skateboarders, roller-skaters, etc. Nobody has tried explaining how much this would affect congestion or pollution, at a time when most people are either at church or still asleep from a long Saturday night.

gregory s. adelberg said...

Here in Chicago we have the bike to to work week being promoted in full swing. However, a couple of items that disturb me are from Active Trans (the main bicycling federation in the city). The first item is a webpage of theirs which depicts what clothes you should wear when biking to work. I find this sad. I wonder what clothes they would recommened for us to wear while riding in a car or hopping on a bus?

The second time I find trouble with is their poster for bike to work week. (http://viewer.zoho.com/docs/cBycK) It shows people in suits, fantastic, but they are all wearing helmets. In fact, everyone in a picture on their website has someone in a helmet. If they are trying to recruit new people to bike to their jobs, is this poster doing more harm then good?

You're right. Bike helmets, although only used by less then half of the population in the us, are still considered the norm. On my way to work this morning I overheard a girl ask his friend where his helmet was, as if he'd forgotten something, as he pulled up beside her. He simply shrugged and said I don't like wearing one...

Melbourne Cyclist said...

I'm with you on the cycling holidays - my bike is my transport, it's not a hobby. I get a surprising number of recommendations for "really nice" cycling routes whenever someone realises I cycle - normally they spot my (mandated by law) helmet, or cycling gloves, then there's a comment of "oh, did you cycle here?" (no, I just like wearing the helmet every day, just in case...), then a brief explanation from me of not owning a car and preferring to use the bike to get around, then "oh, you should try this track, it's really nice". Yes, but it's also really useless when it comes to me actually *getting* somewhere, and I don't see you suggesting scenic drives to that motorist over there. Sigh.

Sorry to rant so much when I'm commenting here - you're about my only cycling-is-normal venting spot.

We have Ride to Work day here in Melbourne, in mid-October (early Spring, generally nice weather - sunny but not hot), which is usually fairly good. Again, it's a bit of a subsidised bacon roll fest (last year was all muesli bars and fresh fruit actually - clearly going for the health angle), but it's got a nice community feel to it, they have plenty of stalls from various cycle shops etc (plus some odd ones, like a hairdresser's, to rescue helmet hair apparently), a few freebies (got a very useful clip-on back light), and a general recognition that yes, there are cyclists here. They also organise 'cycling angels', who accompany novices, help them get set up, assist with punctures etc, which is cool. It's all a bit useless without a lot of support in terms of infrastructure, but at least it's a start...

Mikael said...

vent away! good to hear from you. all of you!

Ejoi said...

Sir, there is statement made by WHO concerning pedestrians, motorcyclists and cyclists. Maybe you can get some info from it.

Here's the link :

Melbourne Cyclist said...

Thank you :-)

I figure if I vent here, I'm in a calmer frame of mind to deal with statements like "Well, you know, I don't mind people cycling, but this morning I saw... -description of idiot cycling illegally & dangerously-". I can't imagine anyone ever saying "Well, I don't mind people driving/walking, but this morning I saw...". Guess we just have to stay focussed on increasing our modal share :-)

lagatta à montréal said...

Well, I rarely take cycling holidays per say any more, though I'm very glad if towns or cities I'm visiting are cycle-friendly. Beach holidays bore me to tears, though I know that would be different if I had children.

I would like to do a snail's pace cycling holiday (in skirts) somewhere in France where I could cycle all morning, then explore in the afternoon and have a nice supper and sleep at small hotels and inns (no camping, thank y'very much). Or a self-catering rental equipped with a bicycle. I don't drive so it does allow me to go places not easily reached by train or bus.

The Dublin poster is lovely.

Steve said...

Its a lovely place to ride, one of my favorite cities. Traffic is not to bad, not many people and the weather is usually very comfortable. There is also some nice architecture too.