NOTE : The FILM NIGHT has beed postponed until SUNDAY
Kildare County Council has organised a number of events in the county to celebrate Bike Week 2023. Maynooth Cycling Campaign wishes to support Kildare County Council in its efforts to promote cycling in the county and has organised a number of additional events. The programme is as follows .
If you live in Maynooth you may have seen me trundling around town on my big blue cargo bike. We bought it a couple of years ago and since then it’s replaced 90% of my car journeys. Let me tell you about it, and why I have found it to be a far more useful urban vehicle than any car I ever owned.
Our town has a wealth of amenities, but accessing them can be difficult in a car since the town centre is often congested with traffic. A bicycle cuts through the traffic with ease, but how then do you carry your purchases, kids, or raincoats? That’s where a cargo bike comes in, being a bicycle with room for shopping, passengers, and even cover against the rain!
Let’s dive into the top five benefits of cargo bikes, and why you should consider getting one today.
One of the most significant advantages of a cargo bike is its practicality. No longer do you need to worry about fitting everything into a small car boot or pannier bags on a regular bike. With a cargo bike, you can easily carry kids, pets, groceries, and even awkward loads like furniture. The versatility of cargo bikes makes them ideal for families in Maynooth, as they provide ample space and support for your daily needs.
Fun and Enjoyable
Who doesn’t love a good bike ride? Cargo bikes add an extra layer of enjoyment to your trips. They beat sitting in Maynooth’s notorious traffic, and kids love them! Whether you’re riding to school, work, or just exploring our lovely town, a cargo bike can turn a mundane trip into a fun, memorable experience. Plus, it’s a great way to bond with your family and enjoy the outdoors.
Incorporating a cargo bike into your daily routine is an excellent way to get regular exercise without even noticing it. Instead of driving, you’ll be actively engaging in physical activity while running errands or commuting in Maynooth. You’ll also be contributing to a cleaner environment by reducing your carbon footprint, which is a win-win situation for both your health and our town.
Fast and Efficient
For short urban journeys in Maynooth, cargo bikes are often faster than driving, as they can navigate traffic more easily. With a cargo bike, you’ll never have to worry about finding a parking spot, which can be a real time-saver in our busy town. Additionally, cargo bikes allow you to explore Maynooth in a whole new way, discovering shortcuts and hidden gems along the way.
While the initial investment in a cargo bike can be pricey, there are ways to offset the cost, such as the €3000 Bike to Work scheme. Furthermore, cargo bikes are far cheaper to maintain and run than a car. There’s no need for fuel, insurance, or parking fees, and they require minimal maintenance. Over time, the savings can add up, making cargo bikes a cost-effective and practical alternative to using a car in Maynooth.
Models To Choose From
Mine is a Larry vs Harry Bullitt, made in Copenhagen and imported by Thinkbike of Ranelagh. The Bullitt is a type of “bakfiets” (box bike), with the cargo area situated low and in front of the rider – think MTB with a shopping trolley out front. It’s an arrangement that enormously versatile and surprisingly graceful, but it can be difficult to store.
For those with less space, or who prefer a more traditional riding style, there also exist rear-loading “longtail” cargo bikes like the Tern GSD.
To Electrify Or Not ⚡️
Most all cargo bikes are available with an electric motor. I opted for a non-electric model, and in the flatlands of Kildare that’s been enough for me. If you anticipate regularly carrying heavy loads or commuting to neighbouring towns, an electric motor would be a worthwhile upgrade, flattening hills and shortening journey times.
The cargo bike life has provided me with countless benefits and transformed my daily routines in ways I never imagined. From the practicality and versatility they offer to the fun, healthy, and efficient nature of their use, cargo bikes are truly an investment worth considering for Maynooth residents. If you’re looking for a more enjoyable, eco-friendly, and cost-effective way to navigate our charming town, it’s time to take a closer look at the world of cargo bikes. Who knows, you might just fall in love with the cargo bike life as much as I have!
Well, we finally launched the Cycling without Age trishaw in Maynooth at the parade on St. Patricks Day. That was our goal from last September but although we thought that we had everything in hand, there were a number of last minute hickcups which threatened to spoil the occasion but everything fell into place in the final week – apart from the weather.
The rain held off for the early part of the parade but as we approached the viewing gallery, it turned very wet. We also lost our passenger. We had planned to carry Peter but on the day he preferred to walk like most people in other groups so the trishaw looked a little empty with only the pilot on it.
We could see that the trishaw received a number of puzzled looks. Most people recognised it as a special type of bike which is what we wanted so we ended up happy with our efforts and a determination to have a bigger show for Bike Week which takes place in May from 13th to 21st. But that is for another day!
When the parade was over, we were even happier when wen learnt that Maynooth Cycling Campaign’s entry was selected by the Parade Organising Committee for the Best Portrayal of Environmental Awareness.
Maynooth Cycling Campaign is delighted to reveal that before Christmas, it ordered a Danish trishaw as part of Cycling Without Age (CWA) in Kildare. Cycling Without Age is an international community based movement which enables the elderly or people with mobility problems to enjoy the pleasures of cycling by riding a trishaw although they may not be physically able to cycle on their own. A trishaw is a cross between a tricycle and a rickshaw which carries a pilot and two passengers. The pilot controls the trishaw and brings the passengers to a park, along a greenway or just around their local town.
We are grateful for financial assistance from Kildare Sports Partnership, Kildare County Council and Healthy Ireland for its purchase. Delivery is due in March – before St. Patrick’s Day. We propose to use the trishaw at weekends so are looking for a number of people to volunteer as pilots. If you are interested, email us at email@example.com. Training is provisionally arranged for early March. We have had preliminary discussions with Genil Training/St. John of God regarding use of the trishaw Monday to Friday. The one outstanding problem is somewhere to store the trishaw. We have raised the matter with Maynooth University and are hoping that they will grant us permission to store it in one of their secure bike sheds but to date this has not been confirmed.
Cycling Without Age was started by Ole Kassow in Copenhagen 2012. Ole wanted to help the elderly get back on their bicycles, but he had to find a solution to their limited mobility. The answer was a trishaw and he started offering free bike rides to the local nursing home residents. It spread from Copenhagen across Denmark and then went international. Now it has a presence in more than 50 countries with over 3,700 trishaws and 35,000 trained pilots.
It was established in Ireland in 2017 by Clara Clarke in Dun Laoghaire but now there are over 70 CWA trishaws in locations including Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, Blanchardstown, Clonakilty, Wexford Town, Cashel and Tipperary. Next month Maynooth will join that list.
On-street parking may be a given for cars, but for bikes, it is not an option due to the threat of theft. Most homeowners will wheel their bikes around through the side gate for storage in a locked shed, but what are residents in terraced houses or apartments with perhaps shared or first floor entrances to do? The answer is either to store the bicycles in the house, wheel them through living areas or lock them to an outside railing and hope for the best.
For the recreational weekend cyclist, wheeling a very light bike through the house is not a problem, but for commuting cyclists, perhaps with multiple bikes for the school run, this is not feasible to do twice a day.
One solution that has been rolled out by Dublin City Council and more recently by Waterford Council are bike hangers (which are also known as bike bunkers). These hangers are designed to fit in a parking space, have space for eight bikes, and enclose bikes in a lockable hood to allow access to only those with a key.
A solution for Maynooth?
In Maynooth, most housing estates do come with side access, but there are a few areas of terraced housing and high density apartments that this solution is tailor made for. Maynooth Cycling Campaign have approached Councillors with a proposal for a trial installation at Leinster Cottages, just behind the Main Street, with the Councillors and area engineer responding positively with possibly the main barrier being the administrative burden.
There are other bicycle storage solutions in Maynooth at both Tesco and the train station; the one at Tesco is operated by a private company and so is pay by the hour, so unsuitable for long term habitual storage. The train station lockers are based on a similar model. Both of these models allot a large enclosed storage area for a single bicycle tenant, and so are aimed at the owners of expensive bicycles, as the alternative of chaining the bicycle to a rack is riskier but free of charge. They are not a suitable model for households which may have multiple kids bikes and need to store overnight, every night.
Maynooth Cycling Campaign are currently looking for other suitable locations around the town with terraced houses or apartments without street access to a garden. If you have need for a bike hanger and think that there is a suitable location near you, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I wish to make the following submission on the proposals for the Meadowbrook Cycle Scheme:
Newtown Road, which links Maynooth town centre to Castle Dawson and other residential estates to the south west of Maynooth, is a narrow regional road with inadequate footpaths and no cycle facilities. While it is outside the area of the proposed works, the proposals fail to address traffic management in the wider Meadowbrook-Newtown area which has implications for the junction radii and the road crossings by vulnerable road users. The Council should bring forward plans for area wide traffic management in conjunction with cycle proposals for the Meadowbrook Road and Beaufield Close.
Maynooth Cycling Campaign welcomes Kildare County Council’s (KCC) recent upgrade of cycle facilities on the Meadowbrook Link Road. This will allow cyclists to proceed from Meadowbrook Road to the Straffan Road junction off road instead of being unceremoniously dumped onto the road halfway along.
The existing width of cycle track on the Meadowbrook Link Road is 1.5m. While the Council maintained that width where space was limited, Maynooth Cycling welcomes that where space was available the Council increased the effective width to 2m. However, it was noted that the Council omitted to provide a kerb on the road side of the cycle track with the result that the quality of workmanship is poor in places. It was also noted that the original 1.5m width has been reduced to 1.4m due to the encroachment of grass. It would have been nice had the Council took the opportunity to cut back the grass.
It is regrettable that the Council maintained the shared path at the Straffan Road junction. Shared paths are opposed by both cyclists and pedestrian groups due to potential conflicts. Designs in Dublin, which now allow Dutch style protected junctions and separate path for pedestrians and cyclists, are long overdue in Kildare.
The Council also wasted an opportunity to do anything about the poor quality of the workmanship on the cycle track at the entrance to Hayfield Estate. Maynooth Cycling Campaign has complained about the flooding after every shower of rain but the Council failed to do anything about it. The Council’s response was to the effect that repair works are required but there are no plans for the Council to do anything soon. The bigger question is why was the developer allowed to leave it in a substandard state.