Transport Minister Danny Kennedy has urged everyone across Northern Ireland to discover the benefits of cycling, in advance of Bike Week starting this Saturday 13 June.
Thousands of people are expected to join in a week full of cycling activities and events which will finish on Saturday 21 June on a high for cycling fans as the first of three Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia events arrives in Northern Ireland. This prestigious, closed-road event will see amateur cyclists take part in the challenging 177km ride through the majestic Mourne Mountains or the shorter 58km route along the shores of Strangford Lough.
The Minister said:
“The Bike Week events cater for everyone including families, school children and commuters. Every year I particularly look forward to Bike to School Day which will be taking place on Wednesday 17 June and Bike to Work Day which will take place on Friday 19 June. I hope as many people as possible open their eyes to the biking opportunities available to them and enjoy Bike Week.
“Cycling has become increasingly popular in Northern Ireland and Bike Week offers an opportunity for people of all ages and cycling abilities to get involved in a wide range of fun events.
“Cycling is good for your health and fitness, as well as the environment and importantly, it assists in reducing traffic congestion. Northern Ireland has over 1,300 kilometres of National Cycle Network cycle lanes and paths meaning cycling can be enjoyed by anyone and everyone throughout the country and the cycling infrastructure is continuing to improve year-on-year.
“I hope everyone will get out and about and enjoy Bike Week this year”.
Bike Week is promoted by Travelwise NI, the sustainable transport initiative sponsored by the Department for Regional Development Cycling Unit. The Unit will collaborate with local councils, employers, schools and cycling organisations including Sustrans during the week to deliver a wide variety of cycling events.
— Love Belfast ❤️ (@love_belfast) April 28, 2015
Travelwise NI has compiled a list of some of the events taking place this year across Northern Ireland for Bike Week 2015 including;
- Wheels for All, Millennium Centre, Loughguile, Co. Antrim, June 13. An event for the whole family with activities including early stage skills and cycling games – a great way to build confidence. Cycle goodies and refreshments will be provided.
- Omagh Bridges Cycle, Omagh Leisure Complex, Co. Tyrone June 13, 10am. A fun family cycle along cycling route 96 through McCauley park along Arleston Road to lovers retreat, across Irishtown Road to Drumragh Ave and back to Omagh Leisure Centre. Refreshments provided for all cyclists.
- Belfie Competition, across Belfast, June 13 – 21. While out and about on the Belfast Bikes why not stop to take a quick selfie to be in with the chance of winning a prize. There will be three categories for entries into the competition including Bike Buddies and Cycle Chic.
- Cycling Fun, Carryduff, Co. Down June 13 – 21. Cycle to Lough Moss Leisure Centre and enjoy a free game of squash and use of the sauna and steam room within the centre. Also pick up a 2 for 1 voucher for ice skating.
- Free Adult Cycle Training, Halfords, Omagh, Co. Tyrone & Conway Cycles, Co. Fermanagh, June 13 – 21. If you want to learn to cycle or are returning to cycling after a few years and want to brush-up on your technique, then this free adult cycle training will be right up your street. All participants must have a road-worthy bike and helmet to participate.
- Cycling Fun, Lagan Valley LeisurePlex, Lisburn, Co. Antrim, June 13 – 21. Cycle to Lagan Valley LeisurePlex and enjoy a 2 for 1 leisure pool voucher where you can enjoy some of the fastest, longest and wettest water rides in Ireland.
- Coleraine to Downhill Forest Ride, starting at Health Centre Car Park, Coleraine, Co. Londonderry, June 15, 6.45pm. Enjoy an evening 12 mile cycle ride along the stunning North Coast, mostly within the Binevenagh Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There will be an opportunity to enjoy some well-earned refreshments at the half way point in the tranquil surroundings of the Bishop’s Gate and Downhill Forest.
- Maintenance Workshop, Jameson Street, Belfast, June 16 from 6.30 – 8.30pm. Fellow Bicycle Co is running a workshop for beginners. Learn how to do the basics like change tyres, punctures, adjust brakes and keep your machine running smoothly all year round. Bring your own bike. Only 8 places available for this bespoke workshop in Fellow’s small but beautiful workshop.
- Family Cycle and Activity Evening, Castle Coole, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh, June 16. Participants will depart the Westville Hotel at 6pm progressing to the Castle Coole estate for a fun activity evening. Upon returning to the Westville Hotel, Enniskillen a finger buffet will be available for participants. Children U16 must be accompanied by a cycling adult. All participants are responsible for supplying their own bicycle and helmet.
- The Fréd Festival Debate, David Bates Building, Queen’s University, Belfast, June 17, starting 1pm. Has Belfast got the potential to be the next Copenhagan, Amsterdam or even Dublin? Currently ranked as the UK’s most congested city, can Belfast ever be a cycling city? Hear both sides of the argument at this debate.
- Bike to School Day, across Northern Ireland, June 17. All school children across Northern Ireland are being encouraged to cycle to school on the Wednesday of Bike Week as an alternative to using motorised transportation and to learn about sustainable methods of travel.
- Cycle Ride and BBQ, Cloonavin, Coleraine, Co. Londonderry, June 17, 6.45pm. Enjoy a family cycle ride (approx. 6 – 7 miles) starting and finishing at Cloonavin, Portstewart Rd, Coleraine. The route follows the River Bann through the town, including the traffic-free section through Christie Park and Somerset Riverside Park. Finish off the evening with a free BBQ at Cloonavin.
- Bike to Work Day, Gasworks to Belfast City Hall, June 19. Over 200 cyclists will gather at the Gasworks in Belfast and cycle to the City Hall to promote cycling in Northern Ireland. Cyclists taking part in this event can enjoy a complimentary coffee and breakfast snack in the grounds of the City Hall before travelling to work.
- Picollo Fondo, Lisburn, Comber, Holywood and Newtownabbey, June 20. Organised by Sustrans NI, there will be four led-rides for families and communities on greenways and quiet roads from Lisburn, Comber, Holywood and Newtownabbey, arriving at Titanic Quarter.
- Dr Bike Clinics, Strabane, Co. Tyrone, June 20. Does your bike have a puncture, rusty chain or worn brakes or would you like to learn a bit about basic bike maintenance that could save you time and money? A qualified mechanic will be on hand to diagnose and fix minor problems as well as provide tips on how to care for your bike
- Mountain Bike Trails, Castleward, Co. Down, June 20. Bring your bike or hire one to enjoy the trails that meander through the estate’s ground and woodlands and have been specifically designed to be used by cyclists
- Bikes, Beach & BBQ Picnic, Belfast to Holywood, June 22, 1 – 6pm. Departing from the Big Fish at 1pm, take a gentle roll out to Seapark in Holywood where there will be BBQs to cook food or just bring your own picnic.
For details of other events please check the Travelwise NI website www.nidirect.gov.uk/bike-week-13-to-21-june or your local council.