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Keep the Cycling Officer!

20 Dec

Dublin is heading for a fall:

Dublin City Council is axing the Cycling Officer (read our interview wit Ciaran Fallon, written more than a year ago – in happier times).

This is a call to action.

Please join the Dublin Cycling Campaign, and help us keep our cycling officer.

Dublin needs your help. Now.

Join the protest,

sign the petition,

and write to your local Councillors (instructions follow…).




Dear TD/Councillor,

We abhor the failure of Dublin City Council (DCC) to find funding to continue the contract of the Cycling Officer.  We understand that the Cycling Officer’s position has been funded up to now by the Department of the Environment, Communications and Local Government, but this contract ceases on January 5th.

A Cycling Officer is needed not only to represent the interests of the increasing number of Dubliners who already cycle, but to rapidly increase modal share, by-

  • Co-ordinating & guiding DCC policy towards increasing cycling, e.g. by reviewing draft policy documents like the Development Plan and contributing to the Transport Strategic Policy Committee, etc.;
  • As an engineer, counteracting the mindset of roads engineers who have been trained in outmoded, car-based transport principles;
  • Publicly promoting cycling, as done very successfully with the recent family-oriented Sky Ride, when 10,000 Dubliners took to their bikes in the city and gave an enthusiastic response.

We in the Campaign have developed an excellent working relationship with the current Officer, but all citizens can see the tangible results.  Due to bigger cycling numbers, Dublin’s streets are now quieter, less congested and, most importantly, safer for ALL road users.

The background to this issue is the mystifying way transport has developed in Ireland:

  • How is it that our roads have been made unsafe for kids to cycle to school, when over 300,000 of our children are overweight or obese?
  • How is it that, with car ownership now costing over €10,000 per year, and a crazy 40% of short trips being made by car, we’re not energetically pushing this low-cost transport mode?
  • Why is our Department of the Environment apparently reducing funding, when research published last week showed that high cycling numbers could make a huge dent in Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions?
  • Are we really content to simply continue to sit in traffic jams?  A Dublin Underground is not going to materialise any time soon.  Cycling is a quick, easy, very cheap answer to congestion.

It’s clear (and it’s in the Government’s own Cycle Policy Framework) that there should be not only a Dublin Cycling Officer, but a Cycling Tsar or team at Government level, and one in every Local Authority in the State.  Departments of Health and Children, Transport, Tourism and Sport, and Environment all bear responsibility here.  Yes, budgets are tight, but with a 20 to 1 return on investment in cycling (the huge health benefits to the population allow immense savings), it’s crazy to penny-pinch one key professional’s salary.

Indeed, we would be very interested to see DCC’s cost/benefit analysis of the decision to end this contract, given that its Transportation division expenditure was €73 million for 2010, and the Dublin Bikes scheme alone brings in €400,000.  Funding is not the problem here, it’s ill-informed and regressive thinking.


Yours sincerely,








Dublin City Councillors are listed here-…

Maria Parodi
Pat McCartan
Dermot Lacey;
Mary Freehill
Mannix Flynn
Kieran Binchy
Gerry Ashe
Edie Wynne
Oisin Quinn

Dublin TDs listed below.  Often a TD’s e-mail address is like-

Dublin Central (4)

Pascal Donohoe (FG)
Joe Costello (Labour)
Mary Lou McDonald (SF)
Maureen O’Sullivan (Ind)


Dublin West (4)

Joan Burton (Labour)
Leo Varadkar (FG)
Joe Higgins (Socialist/ULA)
Patrick Nulty (Labour/Ind)


Dublin North (4)

James Reilly (FG)
Brendan Ryan (Labour)
Clare Daly (Socialist/ULA)
Alan Farrell (FG)


Dublin North Central (3)

Richard Bruton (FG)
Aodhán Ó Ríordáin (Labour)
Finian McGrath (Ind)


Dublin North East (3)

Terence Flanagan (FG)
Tommy Broughan (Labour)
Sean Kenny (Labour)


Dublin North West (3)

Roisin Shortall (Labour)
John Lyons (Labour)
Dessie Ellis (SF)


Dublin Mid-West (4)
Joanna Tuffy (Labour)
Frances Fitzgerald (FG)
Robert Dowds (Labour)
Derek Keating (FG)


Dublin South (5)

Shane Ross (Ind)
Alex White (Labour)
Peter Matthews (FG)
Alan Shatter (FG)
Olivia Mitchell (FG)


Dublin South Central (5)

Eric Byrne (Labour)
Aengus O Snodaigh (SF)
Catherine Byrne (FG)
Joan Collins (PBP/ULA)
Michael Conaghan (Labour)


Dublin South East (4)

Ruari Quinn (Labour)
Lucinda Creighton (FG)
Eoghan Murphy (FG)
Kevin Humphreys (Labour)


Dublin South West (4)

Pat Rabbitte (Labour)
Brian Hayes (FG)
Sean Crowe (SF)
Eamonn Maloney (Labour)


Dun Laoghaire (4)

Eamon Gilmore (Labour)
Seán Barrett (FG)
Mary Mitchell O’Connor (FG)
Richard Boyd Barrett (PBP/ULA)

Naked Cycling Club in Dublin?

26 Sep

Picture from the Bare Cycling Club Website

Scanning the web today, we came across an interesting Press Release from a bicycle shop here in Dublin: GreenAer.

GreenAer, set up by a Belgian / Irish couple, has conducted research on the cycling preferences of Dubliners. As some of our readers may know, this particular topic has had our interest interest for a long time already. We even wrote a guest blog item on, where we argued how cycling gear is overcomplicating the simplicity of cycling.

It turns out that many Dubliners feel the same. GreenAer’s Press Release says it all:

26 September 2011 – GreenAer, Dublin’s expert in ‘clean transport solutions’ (, has recently conducted research on cycling and clothing. GreenAer interviewed 137 Dubliners, asking (amongst others) what their favourite cycling attire would be if there were no practical, logistical or social barriers.

GreenAer’s research showed 7 out of 10 respondents prefer to cycle with ‘as little clothes as possible’. Research also showed 8 out of 10 Dublin cyclists ‘gear up’ (e.g. sweater, jacket, high visibility vest) for their cycle trips, but would rather not do so due to ‘sweatiness’, ‘bulkiness’ or ‘clothing style’. A minority of respondents (3 out of 10) indicated they would be interested in cycling (partly) naked.

To meet demand from these Dubliners, GreenAer has founded an independent association that encourages cyclists to dress down: ‘The Bare Cycling Club’ ( The association is currently in the process of being formally incorporated, but 15 members have already joined in the ‘pre-signup’. The draft articles of association set out members ‘strive to wear as little as possible, without interfering with public safety or morality’. The association also caters for the needs of the minority preferring to cycle (almost) naked.

The Bare Cycling Club stresses it is not a nudist association and that its activities are within the legal framework. However, the Bare Cycling Club does believe its (minority of) almost naked cycling members can play a strong role in advocating a more pleasant way of cycling (i.e. without the confinements too much cycling gear) for all cyclists. The Bare Cycling Club understands naked cycling may seem radical, so to avoid confrontations it advises its partly naked members to cycle only between 10 pm and 6 am.

Ciaran Fallon, Cycling Officer for Dublin City Council, says: “Cycling is really taking off in Dublin – ever since the Dublin Bike scheme we have seen a huge uptake on various new forms of cycling and bicycles; consider, for example, the fixies and BMXs. We encourage all forms of cycling, as long as it does not breach any regulations and remains within the spirit of good use of roads”.


Summer Cycling Art — part 2

5 Sep

We already posted some Summer Cycling Art before.

Here’s some more;

just in the nick of summertime.



Cycling in Fashion with Petria Lenehan

15 Aug

Note: we wrote a guest blog for the American Bike League — in an effort to show how great cycling in Dublin is (becoming). We’re republishing that same blog here. Feel free to let us know if you think we gave the right impression. Photo’s by Rich Gilligan.


Petria Lenehan is a Dublin fashion designer schooled in New York, Florence and London. She owns Dublin fashion boutique Dolls.

Dolls is a Disneyland for fashion lovers. Every item contributes to making it a magic kingdom for grownups: Panama hats, brown leather camera cases, and copper pharmacist scales line the walls. At the entrance stands a matte green Dutch bicycle.

Petria primarily has that bike because it brings structure to her days. With a dual role as fashion designer and boutique owner, Petria’s life is hectic. Five years after opening Dolls, she still finds herself sketching dresses in business hours – meaning she will have to do bookkeeping later that night. But now, with help of her bike, a change has come about.

Petria recently rented a studio, forcing herself to be business woman in her boutique and fashion designer in her studio. It does require Petria to frequently travel between studio and shop, though. For that, she heavily relies on her bike, which has become the beacon of structure in her working life. Every day at her boutique, she loads shirts and skirts in her bicycle basket and cycles to her new studio.

But Petria also has the bike for its style. When the Irish Times recently wrote an article about Dolls, it said ‘you don’t have to arrive (…) by Dutch bike, but if you do you will be among your tribe. This is Dublin 8, darling.

And so Petria decided to display a bike alongside dresses, hats, scarves, frocks, jumpers, socks and clogs. She also decided to get a Dutch bicycle herself. As with her fashion designers – such as Peter Jensen, Cahterine André, and Renate Henschke – Petria personally knows the owner of the Dutch bike company, Joni Uhlenbeck.

Next to Dolls, in the same building, is a café called Bibi’s. It is run by Petria’s sister: Maisha. The food at Bibi’s has won more awards than the King’s Speech won Academy Awards , and Dublin 8’s Dutch bicycle tribe now has an extra reason to go shopping at Dolls – many customers walk into Dolls with peanut butter brownie crumbs still on their lips.

Petria – knowing the amount of calories going into her sister’s brownies – is happy her clientele comes by bike. Seeing her customers cycle away assures Petria they had a guilt free shopping experience. And that they won’t come back to change clothes that all of a sudden no longer fit them.



Cycling Symphonies with ‘Koor de Stemming’

8 Aug

In what must have been the sunniest weekend this year, Amsterdam choir ‘Koor de Stemming‘ visited Dublin. To mark the occassion ot their visit, bear bicycles and the Dutch Embassy Dublin organised ‘Cycling Symphonies’ — a hit-and-run a capella concert tour through Dublin; on Dutch bicycles and delivery bicycles.

Here’s the video:


And here’s a look behind the scenes.

Before you watch this, it’s good to know that before the choir started its tour, one of its singers helped inflate the bicycle tyres of some bikes to well beyond the maximum capacity. When you then add in those tyres subsequently got to roast in the sun for several hours (causing them to expand), you’ll see the result is a ‘blowout’ (in Dutch: ‘klapband’).

Our filmmaker Paddy Cahill captured its sound, and the ensuing looks on several soprano faces.

Cycling Art in Summer Bike Competition

28 Jul

Bear bicycles, a company selling Dutch bicycles in Dublin, is organising a competition to win a Summer Bike. Since we sort of know the people at Bear (feel free to investigate the link between this independent cycling advocacy blog and this Dutch bike shop), we are in the unique position to give our readers a preview of some of the applications in that contest so far.

We encourage all our readers to put on their creative caps, and to submit a piece of ‘Cyling Art’ in Bear’s competition —  check out this link and see how you can win a Dutch bicycle for the Summer.


A Classy Commute – Illustrator Chris Judge

20 Jul

Chris is an illustrator. He cycles a 1980s racer bike and he cycles it fast.

On his way to work, he swooshes past Drumcondra’s high trees, slaloms downhill through Dorset Street’s traffic, leaps over the Liffey, and finally keeps to the Quays until he arrives at his studio, on the top floor of a Dame Street building.

There, with high windows that overlook City Hall, Chris closes his eyes and replays his cycling trip as if he was reading a comic book. When he opens them, he goes to work and characters take shape faster than his hand and pen can keep up.

Chris’ characters will vary; depending on the weather, the traffic, and Chris’ mood. But always, they will want to explore and venture into the unknown.

In Chris’ first book (‘The Lonely Beast’), a monster that looks like a huggable black Christmas tree arrives on earth and – even though the humans are kind to him, feed him donuts, and invite him on talk shows – sets out to explore the world, hoping to find a friend that looks like him. Chris’ second book (‘the Great Explorer’ – to be published next February) has a similar theme: a young kid sets out on a mission to save his Dad who got stuck on the North Pole. Even in his near-scientific work for the Science Gallery in Trinity, where artists have created illustrations for each element in the periodic table, Chris has created adventurous purple characters that represent the element Xenon.

Chris’ latest work is a co-production with his girlfriend Cliona (whom we interviewed two weeks ago and who told us she gets more inspiration from cycling than Van Gogh got from sunflowers). Together, they filmed the music video for Lisa Hannigan’s new song ‘Safe Travels’. Chris and Cliona have created a video in a 1950s Irish setting, in which a person uses all modes of transport to get from East to West.

Cliona and Chris quickly agreed there should be a bike in that music video as well.

Now if only they could agree whether it should be a ladies bike, or a 1980s racer.

Filming in the Rain, with the Dublin Cycling Campaign

13 Jun

Cycling Campaigners Dublin line up for Cycling Film

Yesterday, we were shooting a film for the Dublin Cycling Campaign.  The Campaign consists of a colourful cast of characters, each of which would merit a separate full feature film.

For example: I would love to write a script for a comedy with Paddy (a film maker) and his brother Conor (a webdesigner); the duo from Limerick only communicate by cracking jokes anyway. Similarly, I could think of a classic Victorian costume drama featuring Georgia and Nicola. They design gorgeous garments that bring back the days of James Joyce, and a film would help on their mission to inject style in Dublin’s cycling culture. I could also think of an action film with Will, Damien and Colm — thoughtful and tenured Campaigners that have a James Bond like quality to them.

Together, these film stars have been doing ground breaking work for cycling in Dublin for over 15 years. Now, with cycling on the rise, they need more members. For that reason, we built a film set along the Grand Canal yesterday to shoot a promotional film.

Our film maker Paddy had found a unique camera dolly for filming: a big cargo bike. Together with his sound technician Justin, he got into the bike’s cargo load to shoot the film looking backwards, thus capturing a smiling line of Cycling Campaigners passing by. Paddy suggested Conor would be good at cycling the cargo bike, and Conor agreed. Of course, at that point Conor didn’t know the cargo bike’s battery assistance would be turned off to prevent interference with the sound.

It was also decided that the film would take place in the rain. Dublin has a poor image when it comes to the weather (when we moved here from Amsterdam, we received several umbrella’s as going away gift). To use that poor perception to our advantage, we went for an unconventional tongue in cheek approach – the actors advocating joys of cycling with smiles and dripping wet faces. For fifteen runs, they cycled behind the cargo bike, delivered their line, turned around, an queued up in the rain for the next take.

The result was great, and the film will appear on this blog shortly.

After filming, the Campaigners regrouped in a Smyths Pub on Haddington Road, where film maker Paddy thanked them for acting; saying he was very happy.

Happy about the film; and happy about staying dry himself, in the back of the cargo bike.

Cycling Film Crew Setting Up

Cycling Film Crew - in the cargo load - nice and dry

Intelligent Deliveries

Camera, Lights, Action

The Filmset: Rainy Grand Canal

Cycle Chic Blogger Conference — send us your stuff

29 May

In two weeks, we will be attending the Cycle Chic Blogger Conference in Barcelona. ‘Cycle Chic‘ is a concept Mikael Colville-Andersen invented in Copenhagen. Its aim is to show the style in cycling. Colville-Andersen started in 2006, and has since then spread  Cycle Chic over the internet faster than a bowl of crisps is passed around at a house warming party. Cycle Chic now has worldwide coverage, with bloggers in all the major cities showing how bikes and beauty are a natural combination. The bloggers avoid anything with helmets and lycra, and seem to have a preference for ladies on traditional bikes (who wouldn’t?).

In Barcelona we will be meeting those bloggers to hear about cycling from Seville to Sydney to Sacramento — and then some.

We, in turn, will show what Dublin has to offer on stylish cycling. And that’s where you can help. If you have footage of our city’s Chic Cyclists, let us know.

I am posting some Cycle Chic material from Dublin below, to set you off in the right direction. But please feel free to contribute anything you have — films or foto’s; poetry or prose.

Lady on bicycle, Dublin 8 (by Rich Gilligan)

Ladies cycling on o' Connel Street, Dublin

Lady Cyclist on Dublin bike, near Beckett Bridge (by Cian Ginty)

Cycling Videos Dublin

13 May

Recently, we’ve been having a lot of fun shooting cycling video’s in Dublin. Together with documentary director, cameraman and cycling fanatic Paddy Cahill, we’ve filmed the back alleys of Portobello, the pedestrian paths along the Grand Canal, and the traffic-filled tarmac of Camden street. And in filming, we found each urban setting was – in its own way – great for cycling. We’re sharing the video’s below, so you can see for yourself.

The back alleys in Portobello are the most comfortable cycling area. Portobello is a harbour of red-bricked houses without through traffic. Only its Lennox Street has some boutiques, a design agency and the Bretzel Bakery; all with well-kept colourful storefronts – telling you these entrepreneurs devote attention to every last detail of their business. But apart from Lennox Street, the neighbourhood is built exclusively for the families that live there. The atmosphere is classic and timeless, and reminds you of Mary Poppins. So it’s here we shot a film about a Lady on a bicycle; with a star appearance by cycling fashion designer Georgia Scott.

The pedestrian paths along the Canal would have beaten the Portobello cycling experience, if only it wasn’t illegal to cycle there. However, despite the illegality, clandestine cyclists and pedestrians seem to co-exist peacefully during off-peak hours. Cyclists use the path to get to the old willow near Rathmines Road, pausing every now and then to stare at the swans or swerving aside to allow a pedestrian to pass. When we were shooting a film with Gavin and his daughter Isabel (“Izzie”) in a delivery bicycle, we decided to use these paths on our way to feed the ducks. When you watch the film, you’ll see in the end no ducks turned up, so we fed the swans instead.

Camden Street is energetic, filled with taxi’s, shops, and unloading lorries. It’s the street where Dublin City Council’s Cycling Officer enjoys his daily commute most; seeing the street as an industrious convergence traffic, like a human ant farm. It was the perfect scenery for our film with Buzz Fendall – Dublin’s most famous (and least hairy) barrista. In that film, Buzz packs his delivery bike with ‘Fixx’ coffee packets. ‘Fixx’ is a cofffee blend Buzz engineered himself – and it’s rapidly getting popular with other coffee shops in town. His colleague Monica then goes off on her delivery route.  Click on the film below, to see what a working day looks like for her.