It brought the traffic to a standstill while it passed up Bridge Street - but it wasn't a protest march. Cars beeped and people waved - but it wasn't a wedding. One hundred people rushed into action when the bell rang - but it wasn't a race.
If you were lucky enough to be in Westport on Friday July 19, you might know it was in fact The Bike Buffet passing through. This clever concept from Westport Smarter Travel is a twist on the traditional travelling supper, where dinner is over four courses in four different places, with everyone cycling from one to the next.
The good humoured group met at The Clew Bay Hotel where non-alcoholic 'Mocktails' were the order of the day. Laura Heneghan from Westport Smarter Travel had the challenging task of making order out of chaos and organising 100 or so cyclists into a cohesive group. Armed with just a bicycle bell and a good humoured approach, she rose to the challenge.
Traffic in Westport was brought to a standstill for five minutes or so as bikes of all descriptions poured out of the Clew Bay, up Bridge Street, and down the Railway Walk to The Sheebeen. Balmy temperatures allowed groups to sit outside enjoying their starter, chatting and meeting new people. No chance to get too comfortable though, Laura and her signature bicycle bell heralded a mass departure as the hi-vis peloton headed back in along The Quay.
Gracey's at Westport House was the next destination and the delicious aroma of barbecued meat drifted out on the evening air. Again, a continental atmosphere prevailed as groups sat outside at picnic tables and the local Mescan Belgian beer seemed to be almost a compulsory order.
Only the shrill demands of the bicycle bell would have disturbed this happy group and send them off again on their trusty two-wheeled steeds. Out onto the Golf Course Road and back into town on yet another section of the Greenway; the final destination was The Wyatt for a well earned dessert. Every lamp post and railing in The Octagon was festooned with abandoned bicycles of all types and makes - road bikes, hybrids, mountain bikes, kids’ bikes, and even a nifty little fold up version.
This Bike Buffet was part of a full weekend of cycling activities in Westport including the Westportif Leisure Cycles, the around-the-town Criterion Races and a Cycling Garden Trail.
Westport Smarter Travel will be running two more Bike Buffets in August on Thursday next August 7 and Sunday August 24, numbers will be limited to 80 each night so early booking is essential. The cost is just €20 per adult and €10 for a child under 12. Booking is through Westport Leisure Park or call (098 ) 29160. To see a short video of the Bike Buffet and for more information see www.westportsmartertravel.ie