Bike Week usually takes place every year over a week in June but as with many events this year it was cancelled due to Covid-19. However in August, it was announced the week would be rescheduled to take place in September 2020 with strict Covid-19 protocols and all public health guidelines followed.
Bike Week, a national celebration and promotion of all that is great about bikes and cycling, was held over an extended week from the 19th to 27th September, with bike-themed events organised by local authorities, community groups and cycling groups throughout Ireland. Locally the week was co-ordinated by Sligo County Council and Sligo Sport and Recreation Partnership with support from many local cycling clubs and community organisations.
The rescheduled time of year in autumn with its shorter evenings and Covid-19 restriction required a rethink of previous year’s events, but an exciting schedule was planned for Sligo, from the Dawn Bike to Breakfast to Sunset Cycles, there was something for all ages and abilities.
During Bike Week there was an opportunity to promote two fantastic new cycling prospects in Sligo. The first being the newly opened Coillte National Coolaney Mountain Bike Park in Coolaney. There was a lot of activity happening there with an introduction to Mountain Biking sessions for women, men, kids and teens and a full day Introduction to Mountain Biking hosted by Northwest Mountain Bike Club. These days were extremely popular and were fully booked out in no time. Coolaney MTB Park is a network of purpose-built single-track trails and forest roads that are designed for use by mountain bikes on waymarked circular routes between 3km and 22km in length. This is the first phase of an extensive trail system being built in the Ox Mountains near Coolaney and is very exciting for Sligo. Find out more information about the trails at https://www.coillte.ie/site/coolaney-mtb/
The second new cycling prospect for the county is the EuroVelo Route 1 –Atlantic Coast Route. Sligo County Council has recently developed a signed on road cycling route throughout the county as part of EuroVelo Route 1 –Atlantic Coast Route, so keep an eye out for the white signs with blue bikes. This was achieved as part of an EU Atlantic Area Project called AtlanticOnBike. The AtlanticOnBike project aims at achieving positive economic outcomes thanks to a transnational cycle tourism strategy based on the natural and cultural assets of the EuroVelo1, one of the sixteen long distance European cycle routes. This project expects to contribute to a low carbon tourism development. Its rationale is to stimulate, to structure, to promote and to take part in the development of a cycle touristic offer along EuroVelo 1. AtlanticOnBike should generate positive impacts on the local economy by increasing visits, boosting local economy and creating new activities and new jobs in the tourism sector. It will provide a new touristic offer accessible for a large range of the population but also an attractive leisure destination for locals. Get out there and enjoy!
One of the highlight events from last year ‘Bike Orienteering’ was back for 2020. This popular family friendly fun event which was held in Cleveragh Park closed the weeklong celebration of cycling this year. The safety of the bike trails at Cleveragh allows all levels of cyclists to take part; with a wide range of bikes on display from balance bikes, trikes, hand cycles and even top class mountain bikes. This event really highlighted how inclusive cycling can be as children and adults of all abilities and ages took part throughout the day. The orienteering course designed included staggered starts to prevent overlap of groups and was set up by Northwest Adventure Tours and proved to be very popular with all the participants. Even the local Garda Cycling unit, who called over to support the event got involved; some participants even got competitive on how fast they could complete the long orienteering course, with a record of 16 minutes on the day.
Another great day was organised by Sligo Cycling Campaign, a Bike NCT at Strandhill Peoples Market celebrating the School Cycling Bus by children and parents of Scoil Asicus Naofa, Strandhill.
Experienced road cyclists had an opportunity to compete for the Mooney Trophy in a Time Trail organised by Eire Óg Cycling Club on Sunday 27th, with Shane O Connell from Blarney Cycling Club taking it home in a time of 24 mins 58secs.
Bike Week showcased the vast opportunities Sligo has for cycling throughout the county with events held in Mullaghmore, Ballinafad, Enniscrone, Doorly Park, Ballygawley and Streedagh to name a few. Bike Week showed people can get out on their bikes any time of the day with Bike to Breakfast, Lunch time cycles and Sunset cycles, and highlighted the strong cycling community that exists with events hosted by local cycling clubs and community groups throughout the week. So if you haven’t already done so, it’s time to dust off your bike and get out and explore the endless possibilities Sligo has to offer!
All photos from the week can be view on our Facebook Photo Album Here