Ciarán Fallon, Dublin City Council’s Cycling Officer, has a wintertime and a summertime commute.
In wintertime, the Cycling Officer commutes from Portobello with a detour through Ranelagh, to bring his daughter Molly to school. Six year old Molly sits in the child seat between the Cycling Officer’s arms. Up this close, father and daughter casually chat while cycling through morning traffic. And even though they ride a city bike the father describes as an old banger, his daughter loves the ride; and refers to that same vehicle as the Molly and Daddy bike.
In summertime, when Molly has her school break, the Cycling Officer commutes on a sleek black folding bike. It’s a practical bike: at home he stores it under the stairs of his terrace house, at work he stores it under his desk. The summertime commute also starts in Portobello, where the Cycling Officer has lived over the past ten years, in various houses. He loves to start his journey weaving through this red neighbourhood, via Lennox Street, onto Camden Street.
Camden Street – where you can buy anything from an anchor to a needle – is his favourite street in Dublin. There’s always something to look at in the charity shops, deli’s and boutiques. But where Camden Street meets Cuffe Street, the Cycling Officer becomes extra alert to traffic. From his work experience, he knows this junction should be approached slowly. Unloading lorries, busses, cyclists, and pedestrians all converge at this point. It is where you see Dublin is still a recovering car city.
The Cycling Officer continues his journey through South Great Georges Street. Past the Long Hall, Hogan’s, Shebeen Chic. This street is the City Council’s model for Dublin’s future; 15% of traffic participants are cyclists and in 2020, all of Dublin should be like this.
Finally, having conquered the steep ascent on Dame Street, the folding bike’s small wheels creaking with the effort, the Cycling Officer is rewarded with a view of Christchurch. And with a comfortable downhill glide down Fishamble Street – right into his office.