The past fortnight has been quite the time to both love and hate cycling. Two Saturdays ago was definitely a time I wanted to forget. I have being really enjoying my cycles around town, no more getting stuck in traffic on a smelly bus, no more sore feet after walking miles. There are so many benefits to cycling, I feel fitter and healthier, I’m never late anymore for things and you see plenty more of the beautiful city centre when you when you’re on an open roof saddle. The only downside is when it rains that was when that tragedy occurred one late Saturday afternoon.
I had been doing my usual cycle into town to pick up a few things, booked myself in as a model in a hairdressers… free cut, why not? Then the rains came. As a confident cyclist I had no fear and carried on with my day, that is until I had taken a detour on to Abbey Street and met my enemy, the wet Luas track. I paid no attention to this until a car pulled out right in front of me, I pulled the brakes hard and darted to the side walk, sadly, face first. My fall was soon followed by the sound of a group of tourists ‘oohh-ing’ next to me. Filled with the heat of embarrassment, I was picked up by a male pedestrian who then handed me my bike and proceeded to tell me not to cycle on wet Luas tracks. I thanked him for his helpfulness and made by way to the next street filled with passers-by who knew nothing of my recent history. I began to relax and to cheer myself up, I locked the bike outside Penny’s and strolled in to pick up some new leggings and a hair band. I smile began to reappear on my face as I was exiting the building until I realised that the site where I locked my bike was vacant. I screeched with anger when I noticed my lock, snapped open on the ground. There was nothing I could do but walk home in the rain and admit defeat.
It is one thing to note that cyclists have good days but those days can sometimes turn to shit. But I have never let injuries and thieves stop me before and went on the search for a new bike. An awesome website I found was Rothar. They sell repaired second-hand bikes, they can repair your bike or you could attend one of the bike maintenance workshops. I found an old bike frame in my gran’s house so I’m going to take it to Rothar and learn how to customize it for just €150. Learning how to mend your own bike is a really handy skill to have.
Other then falling of my bike and getting robbed, I also attended a meeting on Sustainable Travel in Maynooth with members of the students union and staff of the college. We discussed the cycle to work scheme and thought of ways we could also encourage students to leave the car at home and cycle to college. We talked about all the benefits of cycling, losing weight, protecting the environment and not needing to get up 2 hours before class to find a car parking space. It is going to be really fun helping out with the campaign in college and hopefully soon there’ll be more students pedalling to college instead to forking out €€€ on petrol.
Other than us individuals taking an interest in the world of bicycle maintenance and firm legs, our government also sees the importance of moving into sustainable travel. Dublin has 40 dublinbikes stations are distributed throughout the city centre with over 450 bikes to enable easy access and optimal use around the city. The Long Term Hire Card is just €10. A 3 Day Ticket costs €2 and the first 30 minutes of use is free on every Dublin bike.
Not only to we have this service, Parisians have the Vélib scheme, the world’s largest bicycle hire scheme and next week Londoners will be taking to the streets on their 20kg bikes (not the most useful for racing). London is soon to see 6,000 bikes parked at 400 “docking stations” spread every 300 metres or so across central London.
Can’t wait to see the next issue of Cosmopolitan where bicycle fashion is SOO in… No really! Wearing skirts can end up in an embarrassing ordeal at times; thank god I wasn’t wearing one last Saturday.
So you’ve got your bike you enjoy the odd cycle but looking for something fun?
Why not join the Critical Mass? Critical Mass is a movement to promote cycling as healthy, enjoyable, environmentally friendly, sociable and fun! It is a movement without leaders which aims to empower the cycling culture across the world. They meet up on the last Friday of every month (next one is the 30th) outside St. Stephen’s Green at 5.45pm and take to the streets in one big mass of cyclists… it’s accelerating and quite impressive to see. It’s the closest thing an environmentalist can get to being in a biker gang.
There’s also the possibility of going on cycling holidays with your friends in Ireland and abroad. Getting fit, saving the planet and having fun has never been so easy.
Also check out the Ecotopia Bike Tour, travelling over 1500km from England to Cologne, Germany. All to promote climate change awareness, really impressive.
And don’t forget, International Car Free Day is on September 22nd!