Next week (June 10th-18th) is National Bike Week, a government-funded week-long series of events in celebration of 200 years since the invention of the bicycle, encouraging the nation to get out and about on their two-wheeled modes of transportation.
Hundreds of cycling-themed events will be held across the country throughout the week, including the arrival of Ireland’s first ever street velodrome in Dublin’s Smithfield on Sunday June 11th. These events will be promoting how cycling can improve your health, the environment and your wallet – cycle safety skills and free bike repair workshops will be on offer.
“The variety of events organised by the local authorities and cycling groups around the country shows huge imagination and creativity, there really is something on for everyone during Bike Week. I would encourage people to give cycling a go during Bike Week, particularly those who have a short journey to school or work, it can often be as quick to cycle as it is to drive in our cities,” said Minister for Transport Shane Ross.
So how can cycling give your finances a boost, and what are the most cost-effective ways of getting on your bike?
Any form of physical exercise is to be encouraged – according to the HSE adults between 18 and 64 years of age should be getting at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week.
If you get into the habit of cycling to work, around your neighbourhood or down to the shops, the health benefits including weight loss, improved mental health, stress reduction and increased muscle and bone strength, hopefully reducing your annual trips to the doctor.
If you’ve got an old bike that needs to be spruced up a little, check the prices in your local independent bike shop, as they’ll likely be a lot cheaper. When I recently dusted down my old university bike and brought it in for a tune-up in my local shop, a comprehensive check, including new brakes and tyres, was almost half the price of a national chain.
Lock it up
It might seem a little counter-productive at first, but invest in a sturdy lock (which are usually relatively expensive) for your bike. It’s a big outlay now, but cheaper locks are generally easier for bike thieves to break. No lock is 100% theft-proof, but a decent device will at least slow them down, or convince them to opt for easier pickings.
DublinCycling.ie recommends purchasing a U-lock bearing the Sold Secure silver or gold accreditation.
Keep in sight for free
All of this kit can add up, so it’s nice to know there are some freebies available. The Road Safety Authority (RSA) provides a number of items including high vis jackets and armbands for free – simply order online.
For more information about National Bike Week and how you can get involved, visit bikeweek.ie