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

CycleCoffeeCake is a new initiative of the Galway Cycling Campaign which aims to encourage novice cyclists to hop on their saddles and join together in a gentle, inclusive cycle around Galway city.

Galway Cycling Campaign hopes 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.

Kevin Jennings, chairperson of Galway Cycling Campaign, said, “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.”

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.

Martina Callanan, spokesperson for Galway Cycling Campaign said, “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.”

“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.” She added, “It makes emergency stops easier if you feel nervous as a beginner as you can jump off the saddle and be on your two feet.”

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, said, “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.”

CycleCoffeeCake follows similar inclusive cycle projects in Dublin and Wexford.

Ruth O’Connor of Bikes & Brunch Huns, a project of Wexford Bike User Group (WEX-Bug ), said, “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?”

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. People are asked to register on the Galway Cycling Campaign website. More information is available at www.GalwayCycling.org and on social media.

 

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