Some of Clare’s best known sporting figures have pledged their support for Clare Bike Week 2016 which takes place from June 11th-19th.
Chloe Morey (Camogie), Laurie Ryan (Ladies Football), David Reidy (Hurling) and Eoin Cleary (Gaelic Football) joined with representatives of Clare County Council, An Garda Síochána, Clare Sports Partnership, An Taisce Green Schools Office and the Health Service Executive (HSE) at Scoil Chríost Rí, Cloughleigh, for the launch of this year’s programme of events, the theme of which is ‘Be part of the Clare Team: Get on your bike’.
Funded and co-ordinated by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, Bike Week has some 400 cycling events nationwide. In County Clare, the annual initiative this year features a range of events for all ages including family fun cycles, a schools awareness programme, bike fixing workshops and a Primary School Poster Competition
Throughout Clare Bike Week, representatives of An Garda Síochána, Clare County Council and the HSE will host an Awareness Programme for students at Primary Schools throughout Ennis on a range of issues from current and proposed cycling infrastructure in Ennis (cycle parking, existing cycle road lanes, road signage and symbols and proposed project under Ennis Active Travel Town); bike theft, road safety aspects; and the health promotion benefits of cycling. A booklet containing key messages delivered during the Awareness Programme will be made available to schools across Clare following Bike Week.
Meanwhile, 6th class students from the eleven Primary Schools in Ennis and its environs are being invited to participate in a cycling-themed Poster Competition. The top three posters, which will be selected following a panel review by Clare County Council, HSE and An Garda Síochána, will receive a voucher for cycling accessories from one of the participating Cycle shops in Ennis. All entries must be submitted to Gerald Fogarty, Assistant Engineer, Clare County Council, Áras Contae an Chláir, New Road, Ennis, Co. Clare no later than Monday 13th June 2016 at 5.00pm.
On Thursday 16th June from 10.00am to 1.00pm, staff from a number of bicycle sales and service shops will be on hand at Abbey Street Carpark for a Community Bike Repair Workshop and Bike Expo. Minor bike adjustments, brake checks and saddle height checks will be carried out by mechanics who will also offer advice on any visual safety issues observed, annual bike repairs, bike maintenance, and the importance of undertaking regular and routine bike safety inspections. The free event is aimed at encouraging children and young people to consider taking up cycling or increasing their cycling activity. Bicycles Cyclists who present their bikes on the day will be entered into a draw for a range of prizes.
On Friday June 17th from 7.00pm to 9.00pm, a Family Fun Cycle for all the community will take place along the newly constructed West Clare Railway Greenway, commencing and finishing at Cloughleigh Carpark via Active Ennis Sports and Amenity Park, Lees Road. Light Refreshments (water and fruit) will be provided for participants at a designated point along the cycle route.
“Bike week is all about getting back on the bicycle and seeing the bike as a clean, green cheap mode of transport,” said Cllr. James Breen, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council.
He continued, “There are a number of events specifically targeted at getting children and their family on their bikes and I would urge people to view www.bikeweek.ie to learn about the events taking place in Clare this year.”
Gerald Fogarty, Assistant Engineer with Clare County Council’s Road Design Office said the Local Authority will use Bike Week as an opportunity to promote sustainable travel options and a more cycle-friendly culture throughout County Clare.
“The introduction of people to physical activity at an early stage is important as participation in recreation is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The completion of new cycleways and the progression of plans to develop similar projects is part of ongoing efforts to promote cycling through the installation of top class facilities and as a result, a method of encouraging greater numbers to consider cycling more regularly,” he added.
“I would like to acknowledge An Garda Síochána and the HSE for their support in organising Bike Week events, and thank the Clare County Board Chairman Joe Cooney as well as Scoil Chríost Rí Principal Gearóid Roughan, his students and teachers for their participation and support in organising the launch of Bike Week,” stated Mr. Fogarty.
Mary MacMahon, Health Promotion & Improvement Services – Midwest commented, “The HSE and Clare Sports Partnership are delighted to support National Bike Week in Clare. This week of events supports the delivery of national health policies and programmes in particular, the Healthy Ireland and national Physical Activity Plans to ‘Get Ireland Active’ and the Health Promoting Schools programme.”
Ms. MacMahon added, “The health benefits of physical activity are well established, and the HSE encourages everyone to take part in national Bike Week in Clare. Further information is available at www.gettingirelandactive.ie or to find out what’s happening in Clare, contact Clare Sports Partnership at 065 -6865434 or email claresportspartnership.ie.”
Superintendent Brendan McDonagh said the Clare Garda Division will be utilising Clare Bike Week 2016 to reinforce key bike safety messages.
“It is important that all cyclists make sure their bicycles are regularly examined to ensure they are in good working order and safe. People should never cycle without the use of proper safety equipment such as a helmet or reflective clothing. Cyclists should always be aware of their surroundings, traffic and road users, and should use cycle lanes where possible,” he said.
Superintendent McDonagh added, “People should always secure their bicycle properly with a proper lock as well as take a picture of their bike and identification number in the event of their bike ever being stolen.”