Get on yer bike for Bike Week

The Galway Bike Festival 2011, as part of National Bike Week, will commence on Saturday. Now in its third year, the Galway Bike Festival promotes cycling for everyone, aims to increase the number of cyclists in Galway and supports a dynamic cycling culture in the city and county.

The festival kicks off on Saturday on Eyre Square, with the national opening event of Bike Week. The event runs from 11.30am to 5.00pm and is a family friendly celebration of cycling. It promises a day of festivities including a bicycle village here in Eyre Square, Live Music from the Black Magic Band, BMX Stunt Displays from Ramprage , face painters, balloon modellers, drumming workshops, and a mass, non competitive cycle to Salthill and back, departing Eyre Square at 2.00pm. It promises fun for all the family.

This Saturday 12am to 6pm, Ramp Rage will be in Eyre Square. A large air bag will be in place beside a ramp where riders will be practicing their jumps. Expect to see some big airs and sick tricks as the riders warm up for Big Air In The Square on Sunday.

On Sunday at 10.00am there is another treat in store with another unique offering: The World Class Mall Demonstration. For the first time in Ireland, professional bike riders will demonstrate their skills by jumping on bikes down escalators and stairwells within the Eyre Square Centre Mallscape.

On Saturday and Sunday bike riders can practice their tricks and demonstrate their skills to an Eyre Square audience on the Eyre Square “Eyrebag” between 12 midday and 5.00pm. Reflecting the support of the business sector to the festival, a shop front window competition on the theme of cycling will be on display during the week.

This Sunday "Big Air In The Square" 10am to 12 midday will see the Eyre Square shopping centre taken over and transformed into a world class BMX/ mountain bike assault course. Top international riders and Irelands finest will then be pushing them self's to the max on it! expect spilt level jumps, 360's, back flips and some huge airs! including special fx's. This 2hr demonstration is not to be missed and is the first of its kind in Ireland!

Wednesday June 22 is cycle to work day, where all workers in Galway are actively encouraged to travel to work or college by bike. The festival also includes a number of family cycles for children such as the Jarlath McInerney Criterium and the treasure hunt, both of which have already proven to be very popular events. For the more experienced cyclist the familiarisation cycle on the Ironman route is a very welcome addition to this festival which aims to deliver benefits in the inter-linked realms of sustainable transport, sport, tourism, health and the environment.

The full programme which includes more than 30 events and initiatives can be viewed or downloaded from the home page of Galway City Council at www.galwaycity.ie

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