Cork city gets in gear for its seventh annual cycling festival later this month
IT’S time to oil your chain, pump up your wheels, tune your breaks and get into gear as the 7th Cork Cycling Festival is on its way.
From the 19 to 27 July, a programme of free bicycle-themed events will roll out across Cork city, all with the aim of getting more people onto two wheels and burning calories rather than using up gallons of petrol.
Festival Chairwoman Sarah Thelen said: “Cycling has really taken off in Ireland and whether you do it to improve your fitness, save the planet or boost your bank account it is an enjoyable way to experience our beautiful city and a quick way to get around. We are delighted to continue to offer a fun, interesting programme of 100% free cycling events for all to enjoy.’’
The theme of this year’s edition is Shrink the City – in celebration of the many new bicycle lanes that have been installed, helping to make cycling there more accessible, quicker, safer and fun.
The festival kicks off on Saturday July 19 with the opening of the Get Your Bearings Arts Exhibit, a special Bicycle Repair Workshop and a Bling Your Bike session, where you can learn to make basic repairs and jazz up your bike in preparation for the week of events.
There will be help throughout for both novice and experienced cyclists– to improve skills and boost your confidence, cyclists can register for the Cycle Safety Training on Sunday 20.
The new bicycle lanes come in for special attention on two rides: To Town on My Bike on July 20, which follows a popular commuter route from Douglas to Cork City; and A Lane of Our Own on July 25, which takes cyclists on a leisurely spin exploring the new cycle lanes.
If you fancy having your horizons broadened with a series of cultural and educational cycles, you’ve got Tom Spalding’s Cork Past and Present Tour on July 21, a Guided Tour of World War I Cork on July 27, and a trip through the markets and gardens of Cork’s Homegrown and Handmade exports on July 23.
The popular Cycle Cinema returns on July 22 with historic and contemporary bicycle films and participants can join the Rothspraíocht as Gaeilge on July 23. There will also be plenty of stylish dressers coming out of the woodwork for the infamous Vintage Velo Run on July 26.
A festival highlight this year is the Ride the Skies event in collaboration with CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory. Taking place on Friday July 25, cyclists and astronomers are invited on a bike ride along the Marina under the evening skies, where they can stop to view Saturn and Mars along the way, before returning to the Castle for a guided gaze at the stars with the Cork Astronomy Club and BCO Labs.
For those tired of the city streets, Cork Cycling Festival also offers a variety of longer touring trips. Get a taste of the sea with a tour to the National Maritime College of Ireland on July 21; the Crosshaven Touring Cycle on July 24, or explore Cobh by bike on July 25.
Cyclists can also visit a secret waterfall in the Lee Valley on July 23, or take a spin out to Blarney Castle on 22nd July. Those interested in getting a taste of the sporty side of cycling can also join the Cork County Cycling Club for a 30k-50k leisure jaunt on July 19.