BIKE WEEK:As bike week rolls in, UNA MULLALLYtalks to committed bikers and a few newcomers to the saddle
“I got my BMX when I was 15 back home in Co Clare. It’s the same one I have now, except it was white at the time but I’ve since sprayed it black. It’s perfect for cycling around town, because when you’re cycling around city streets you tend to go quite slow, so it’s kind of like a cruiser. I cycle my fixie bike more often though because I use it to get places quicker. I cycle every day. Every time I’m in town, I’m on my bike. Even if I’m going out on a Friday night, I’ll bring my bike into town. I only really use public transport if the place I’m going to is absolutely miles away and if it’s lashing rain. About six months ago, I bought a bike for €600 and it got nicked six days later. It took me those six months to build up the courage to buy a new bike, which is my new fixie.”
“I’m a pretty recent cyclist. I always wanted to cycle, but lived too far out. I haven’t owned a bike since I was a child. I wanted to get one of those really girlie Duchess bikes. I have the Luas on my doorstep, so I could just use that, but Rialto isn’t very well serviced by buses. But the minute I got the bike, I could go anywhere I wanted and it gave me a huge amount of freedom. I used to be really bad at being late meeting friends, but since I got the bike I’m much more likely to be on time – although they might say differently. I’m taking far fewer taxis as well. One of my big concerns is it being stolen, because I really love my bike. You hear those kind of stories all the time. For me, it’s all about the freedom, the flexibility. I wouldn’t generally cycle very far, but I’ve got a bit braver about the distances.”
“I have the classic Dublin 8 clichéd basket number. Brown leather, brown handle bars and saddle. I have it about two years. I gave up my car to start cycling more because living in city centre, there’s no point in having a car. I’m into the sustainability side of things, so it’s environmentally friendly. Along with the freedom and ease of access – you can get to anywhere in city centre you want to be. I think with any change that comes, it involves an adjustment period, but eventually all the different kinds of transport will coexist properly. People get used to each other. I drive as well, so I have an understanding of both sides. Pretty much every one of my mates who’ve moved into the city centre cycle.
I think it’s a lifestyle thing.”
“I’ve been cycling since I was younger, but I didn’t do it during my teenage years. I started cycling again when I was going back to college, I’m in DIT. It’s cheaper and quicker than the bus and it’s super handy. I’ve been hit by a car before, which was pretty scary. I cycle most days and I always wear a helmet. I didn’t wear high-vis before, but now I always wear one over my backpack. I was knocked a little by a car as well, but I didn’t fall off. Not enough people wear helmets, but you totally need one. Drivers aren’t really looking out for you, so it’s better to be safe. Anyone who has really nice bikes gets them robbed, or is paranoid about them being robbed, so I think you’re better off having a bit of a crap bike.”
“I use it for work. I’ve two bikes, one for getting to work really fast and one for looking cool on. If I know I have to be somewhere in town, I know how long it will take get there. The only problem is parking it, although the bike park in Drury Street is really handy. They seem to be running out of lamp posts around town. The bike I have at the moment, I bought from Rothar for €250. I keep it well, and it gets me from A to B really quickly. I could probably do with a better lock. My mum bought me a helmet, but I don’t wear cycling shorts. The worst thing about cycling around town is the roads; they’re not suitable for bikes, some of them. I’m not an aggressive cyclist, but you do need to have your wits about you.”
“I use the bike all the time for my work around Dublin. I cycle at every opportunity, out to Blackrock, over to the Four Courts, and down to the IFSC. I have a fold-up bike I’m able to use on Luas on the Dart and I try to use public transport as much as possible with the bike. My son, John, also cycles.
“I’m interested in any alternative, renewable or non-fossil fuel energy. Cycling is firstly environmentally pleasant. Secondly, Dublin is a beautiful city to cycle in, and thirdly, you meet more interesting people if you’re cycling. You have interesting chats with people, or can slow down to talk to someone. One very interesting thing I read recently is that the German soccer team planned to cycle to their training ground from their hotel in Poland. And Damien Duff cycles to training in Fulham on his bicycle. Bicycles are king as far as I’m concerned.”