Pedal power — Bike Fest begins Saturday June 16

Children's races in Southpark, Terryland Cycle Picnic, a Fat Tyre Night in Moycullen, Merlin Woods Cycle, Bike Maintenance, Cycling Research Showcase and free bike rental are just some of the numerous events and initiatives planned for Galway Bike Festival, which takes place from Saturday June 16 to Sunday June 24. The festival programme, which was officially launched by Mayor Hildegarde Naughton on Tuesday aims to attract and encourage cyclists, particularly new cyclists of all age groups to discover the enjoyment and benefits of cycling.

During the opening weekend, members of the public are invited to give a warm Galway welcome to the more than 100 cyclists arriving in Eyre Square at 5:00pm on Saturday June 16, following their six-day cycle around Ireland in aid of Cradle and the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association.

The same day, children can participate in cycle races in Southpark, while more experienced cyclists can experience a cycle race on closed roads around the Claddagh as part of the Galway Bay Criterium.

On Sunday June 17, families can cycle at a leisurely pace from Castlegar Castle to Terryland Castle and enjoy a picnic afterwards in Terryland Forest Park. Throughout Galway Bike Festival primary school children will be participating in green school cycles and cycling events for teenagers will take place in areas including Merlin Park Woods and Moycullen village.

Promoting safe cycling, the Road Safety Interactive Shuttle will once again be onsite at Salthill carpark from June 19-20 giving visitors an opportunity to test their hazard perception skills and brake reaction times on the bike simulator.

Bike to Work

This year Galway Transportation Unit is seeking the support of employers to proactively encourage staff to cycle rather than drive to work, particularly staff living a short distance from their workplace and highlight that the 10 Minute Cycle Challenge and Cycle to Work Day on June 20 provide an excellent opportunity for workplaces to take a proactive and fun approach to cycling.

According to Joe Tansey, Head of Galway Transportation Unit: "feedback from people who have recently begun cycling to work reveals benefits in terms of health and petrol savings. Feedback also indicates that new cyclists regularly report surprise at the reliability of their travel time by bike relative to car, which can vary significantly depending on traffic.'

He added: 'that it is clear that cycling across all age groups is on the increase in Galway City, a trend that Galway Transportation Unit seeks to accelerate through a range of measures. The Galway Bike Festival programme offers lots of opportunities for everyone regardless of age or experience to enjoy the benefits of cycling.”

The full bilingual Galway Bike Festival programme can be viewed or downloaded at www.galwaycity.ie For further information on events and initiatives, contact Galway Transportation Unit, Galway City Council at: (091 ) 894328 or by email: [email protected]

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