Skerries Cycling Initiative June 2014 to August 2015

Skerries Cycling Initiative also reviewed the last year, getting ready for the Skerries Community Association AGM on Fri 11 September 2015. The chairperson, Ray Ryan, writes:

Our activities over the last year or so included:


SCI 2015 SCI at Rás 2015Bike repair and maintenance course.
Ten people attended the bike repair and maintenance course we organised at the Well Fit gym premises at  Skerries Shopping Centre over six mornings in May. It was initiated by Skerries Tidy Towns with funding  by Fingal County Council and the Department of the Environment under the Local Agenda 21 programme. Bike mechanic Paul Callan from The Rediscovery Centre, a social enterprise based in Ballymun, conducted the sessions. All participants enjoyed the course and now feel confident about tackling bike repairs.

The Rás End Stage street party and the fine weather gave SCI a great opportunity to talk to people about improving cycling infrastructure in and around Skerries. The need for a safer cycling route between Skerries and Balbriggan came up many times. People really want to see this happen soon.
We were delighted  that twenty eight  new subscribers signed up to our email Newsletter on the day. To receive it yourself, just send an email to cycling@skerriesca.com.

SCI 2015 fun cycleBike Week Fun Cycle. Our Midsummer Madness Fun Cycle on 21 June was a trip around the town and local housing estates exploring lesser known paths and laneways as well as Town Parks, the Ballast Pit path and Distributor road. We returned from Barnageera Cove via the coast road and finished with a picnic at The Seapole.

 

Submissions to FCC. During the last year we made submissions on 30 km/h in residential areas, cycling in Town Parks and the draft County Development Plan. We continue to press for the completion of the cycle track from Balbriggan to Skerries, and for greater awareness of the importance of cycling to a number of areas, including the development of tourism in Fingal.

Cycling on South Strand As a group working for better cycling facilities in Skerries we had mixed feelings about the proposal to ban cycling along the South Strand path. However we are convinced, having heard many accounts of accidents involving walkers and cyclists that the path is not suited to adult cycling given the potential for conflicts with other users. However, Fingal County Council accept that young children, properly supervised by a parent, may cycle on the path.

Ray Ryan, Chairperson, Skerries Cycling Initiative.
Contact:
cycling@skerriesca.com

Fingal Tourism Strategy is vital for the Skerries Cycling Initiative

Ray Ryan, Chair, Skerries Cycling Initiative, writes:

Fingal County Council (FCC) has just published a Tourism Strategy for 2015-2018.

Crucially, their plan includes what they call The East Coast Greenway from Balbriggan to Howth. This Greenway proposal is vital for the Skerries Cycling Initiative as it matches closely our own cycling tourism concept : The Fingal Coast & Castle Way which links cycling along the coast from Balbriggan to Sutton with all our major parks and heritage sites such as Skerries Mills. We will be watching progress on this proposal closely and will do everything we can to get FCC to give us a cycleway of the appropriate quality. As the document shows, already tourists contribute half a billion euro to Fingal’s economy! Just imagine how much more that figure could be if we had a coastal cycleway with powerfully signposted and advertised links to Ardgillan, Skerries Mills, Rush Harbour, the Rogerstown Estuary, Newbridge House & Farm, the Broadmeadow Estuary, Malahide Castle, Portmarnock Strand, Howth Head  etc!

Contact Skerries Cycling Initiative at cycling@skerriesca.com 

SCI are inviting you to a Midsummer Madness Cycle on Sun 21 June

As part of Bikeweek 2015, Skerries Cycling Initiative are organising a fun cycle for cyclists of all ages, taking place on Sun 21 June from 12 noon.

Meet at Skerries Mills (Car Park), and follow the SCI volunteers on an easy cycle (9 km in total, no hills, suitable for all ages and bikes – as long as they are roadworthy!) that will take in Strand Street, South Strand, the Rugby Club, Hillside, the train station, go past Skerries Point to Barnageeragh Cove and back along the coast road to Skerries Harbour, ending at the Sea Pole some time after half one in good time for a quick picnic (pack something nice for yourself and maybe to share) before heading over to the Lego Fun Day, a fundraiser for fellow-SCA-committee Soundwaves!

Children must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

Bring water, it might be a hot day.

MidSummer Cycle 2015

Bikeweek SCI

Bike Repair and Maintenance Course organised by two of our committees

Fix that bike! Want to learn how to fix punctures and brakes and lots of other practical stuff to keep your bike working safely and efficiently?
Two of the committees of Skerries Community Association have come together to bring you this course:
Sign up now for a free bike repair and maintenance course coming to Skerries in May. The course is open to Skerries residents over sixteen years old and is being organised by Skerries Cycling Initiative and Skerries Tidy Towns.
The course involves six sessions and will take place on Tuesdays and Wednesday mornings (9am-12 noon) over a three week period starting on Tuesday 5 May and ending on  Wed 20 May.
Any questions? Contact Michael, Skerries Cycling Initiative, via  cycling@skerriesca.com
Sponsored by Fingal County Council under the Local Agenda 21 Environmental Grants scheme
bike in front of harbour

2015 An Post Rás to finish in Skerries – for the 10th time!

This will be the 10th time that the this exciting bicycle race will finish in our town. Mark your diaries for Sunday May 24!  After nearly 1,200 kilometres, the riders will be able to look forward to a great welcome in Skerries. The An Post Rás Skerries Stage End Committee (a committee of the Skerries Community Association)  are already on the case!

An Post Ras Facebook snippet

 

Here is some detail from An Post Rás HQ:

Stage 8, Sunday May 24: Drogheda to Skerries (132.6 kilometres):

The last stage of the race is the shortest but Race Director Tony Campbell says that a modification has been made to the finale which could bring about a last gasp change in the overall standings.
After the drop of the flag in Drogheda the bunch will race through Donore and Navan prior to an An Post Prime in Kilmessan, 35.1 kilometres in. The first of five third category climbs will rear up at Newtown (km 63.3) followed by the second at Ardgillan Castle (km. 83).
Soon afterwards the peloton will race into Skerries and cross the finish line for the first time, 91.4 kilometres after the start. They will then begin three 13.7 kilometre finishing laps, each bringing them across the Black Hills category three climb and providing opportunity to strong riders who are chasing overall victory or the stage win.
“The last stage is familiar to those who have been at previous editions of the An Post Rás, in that it finishes once again in Skerries” says Campbell. “It’s actually the tenth year that we are doing so and that finale has been absolutely fantastic for the race. There is a fantastic committee putting it together, and each year it is just better and better”
“This time we have put in an extra lap of the finishing circuit. We believe it could be very close in the overall standings and so the third lap could make a difference and decide the race right in the final minutes. It could be a very dramatic finale.”

Some more details

2015 AN POST RÁS ROUTE TO MAKE FOR THRILLING SPECTACLE
Speed and Tactics will be key to success

Unveiling a fast and tactical route which totals almost 1,200 kilometres, the organisers of An Post Rás today launched what could be one of the most suspenseful editions of the race in recent history.
Deliberately omitting some of the tough first category climbs that have featured in recent years, the emphasis this time around is on opening up the possibility of attacks at any point in the race. This change is set to add greatly to the unpredictability An Post Rás has long been known for.
The 2015 edition of the race will begin in Dunboyne, travelling clockwise around Ireland with stage finishes in Carlow, Tipperary, Bearna, Newport, Ballina, Ballinamore and Drogheda, before the customary finale in Skerries.
Scrapping it out over eight days, the riders will still have 21 categorised climbs to deal with. But with just two of these being second category, surprise attacks, high speeds and strong winds will likely be the biggest factors in shaking up the peloton and deciding the final overall result.
Announcing the route for the May 17th to 24th event in Dublin’s GPO, An Post Rás, Race Director, Tony Campbell anticipates a gripping contest.
“This year’s race is a lot flatter than recent years,” he stated. “However it is very rolling terrain and very exposed and there is very little shelter on a lot of stages.
“The riders are going to have to be careful of winds; if there are any sort of westerly winds, I would say they could be in big trouble. It is going to make for great racing and will also require good bike handling skills.”
As has been the case in recent years, the route was designed by Stephen O’Sullivan. Campbell said that the choice of terrain is intended to strike the right balance between the international and the domestic competitors. The new format will ensure that both groups can influence the outcome.
“Sometimes the flatter editions are the ones with the most attacking, the most action and the most tactics,” he said. “Riders will have to be vigilant every minute of the day.”
Double Olympian and former Rás winner David McCann was on hand to launch this year’s route alongside Irish riders Damien Shaw, Eoin Morton and Sean McKenna. McCann, who lifted the coveted trophy in 2004, believes this year’s route will make for a thrilling spectacle.
“It’s going to allow for typical Rás style racing with plenty of attacking, which is what we love so much about the race. It should be a great one for the neutrals and hopefully this year an Irish rider can take home the trophy.”
Day one of the race covers 154.4 kilometres from Dunboyne to Carlow and has been set up to ensure a fast, aggressive opener. It features four third category climbs at Sherlockstown, Boherboy, Hacketstown and Kilcommon each awarding points towards the King of the Mountains competition. It also includes An Post Hotspot Sprints at Naas, Clonegal and Ballon.
Time bonuses will be on offer at each of these three gallops, but larger bonuses at the finish mean that whoever wins the stage will don the first Yellow Jersey of the race.
At the GPO launch of Ireland’s top-ranked UCI race, An Post CEO, Donal Connell said:
“An Post is Rás sponsor since 2011 and we have seen things change for the positive in this time, with huge growth in cycling as a sport, a form of transport and as part of the leisure and tourism economy. An Post is part of this and we continue with our support for cycling at every level. This helps our business visibility, it allows us to be part of a positive change in the country and we see the huge and longstanding difference our support makes to An Post Rás, as it does with all of our sponsorships.”
Details of the international teams set to join this year’s An Post Rás will be released over the coming months. The An Post Chain Reaction Sean Kelly team has already committed to participating.

An Post Rás route 2015 (UCI 2.2, May 17th – May 24th):
Stage 1, Sunday May 17: Dunboyne to Carlow (154.4 kilometres)
Stage 2, Monday May 18: Carlow to Tipperary (137.2 kilometres)
Stage 3, Tuesday May 19: Tipperary to Bearna (155.9 kilometres)
Stage 4, Wednesday May 20: Bearna to Newport (155 kilometres)
Stage 5, Thursday May 21: Newport to Ballina (142.4 kilometres)
Stage 6, Friday May 22: Ballina to Ballinamore (160.1 kilometres)
Stage 7, Saturday May 23: Ballinamore to Drogheda (142.4 kilometres)
Stage 8, Sunday May 24: Drogheda to Skerries (132.6 kilometres)

 

Submissions by our Committees re Town Park

There is considerable interest in Skerries in the redevelopment of Skerries Town Park, and rightly so. In addition to the direct submission made by Skerries Community Association to Fingal County Council, a number of our committees also made their thoughts known. Some of them can be accessed here on our website – see rough summaries and links below.

Active Transport

Skerries Cycling Initiative made a comprehensive submission to Fingal County Council regarding the Town Park redevelopment. In summary:

Skerries Cycling Initiative (SCI) welcomes this plan in principle. The proposed new entrances and paths have the potential to create better access to amenities in the park and more importantly, to provide links between the North, South, East and West of the town.
The Town Park serves many purposes and its redevelopment gives Skerries a unique opportunity. Our comments in this submission are directed towards improving the Town Park as an active travel hub as well as improving access to the many amenities -existing and planned- in the Town Park. As such our focus is on extending the capacity of the Park to provide safe routes of travel for persons walking and cycling, using wheelchairs and other mobility vehicles including cycles adapted for persons with disabilities. We want the end result of the redevelopment to be the creation of an inclusive, age friendly and attractive space. We wish also to point out that increasing numbers of battery powered mobility vehicles are in use around the town and it is important that the users of these vehicles are catered for through well designed pathways in the Park.

Click on the following link to open the full submission, which includes maps and tables, in a new window: SCI Submission Townpark Redevelopment

 

Community Food Garden

Adding a community food garden was at the heart of the submission made by our Sustainable Skerries Committee. They write:

Sustainable Skerries wishes to submit a proposal to Fingal County Council with respect to the Skerries Town Park development to allow an area for a Community garden in the plans.

Site specification: Good drainage Easy to secure 600 -1000m2

We believe that the ideal location for the community garden would be beside the Bowling green, where the shipping container is at present. This area has easy access for young and old people alike, and is somewhat secure.

You can read their submission in full here: Community Food Garden Proposal to FCC Sustainable Skerries

Skatepark

The Skerries Skatepark Committee, also part of the SCA, wrote:

As part of the new Town Park Development Plan we would like to see a skatepark included in the overall plans. It has been the vision of the committee to construct a skatepark that is sensitive to its surrounding from a visual and environmental viewpoint. … Ideally 700 m2 area would suit a skatepark, this give enough room for mixed ages and abilities to participate at the same time. As a comparison a football pitch is around 7,000 m2.

See the full submission here: Town Park Plan – skatepark

Skerries Tidy Towns  also had direct input to Fingal County Council in this regard; we will add their submissions as they become available to us.

Speed Limits – Skerries Cycling Initiative Draft Proposal

As part of a review of vehicle speeds in housing estates Fingal County Council has invited members of the public to submit their views, by 22 January about the adequacy of the speed limits in their local area.
Speed Consultation FCC
Skerries Cycling Initiative  (SCI) has prepared a draft submission. It is linked to below.
Briefly, we are in favour of 30km/h in residential areas as it would improve safety for all and would encourage more people to walk and cycle around the town.
SCI would welcome any comments and suggestions on the draft before it is forwarded to the Council.
Please email comments to cycling@skerriesca.com
Click on the link below to open the full draft submission.
hard and fast facts

Skerries Cycling Initiative 2014

Michael McKenna, Skerries Cycling Initiative, looks back on the year which this committee of Skerries Community Association had in 2014: 
We ended the year with our second Newsletter of 2014 and an online survey about walking and cycling in Skerries. The survey responses included many useful insights and suggestions and we sincerely thank all who took the trouble to complete it. The results will be published early in 2015. The Newsletter also generated over 20 new subscribers as well as the very welcome prospect of new people joining our committee in the New Year.
SCI Bikeweek
We got some encouraging news that funding for a cycle track from Barnageera to Balbriggan and for the Broadmeadow Estuary crossing is to be provided from 2015 on.
Fingal County Council has asked for views by 22 January on reduced speed limits in housing estates and for submissions on the redevelopment of Skerries Town Parks by 27 January. Both of these items are of  huge importance to improved walking and cycling in Skerries.
We would like to thank you for your support during 2014 and will continue to work to make Skerries an even better place to grow up and grow old in over the coming years. 
Skerries Cycling Initiative
SCI Christmas

Get on your bike and see the Skerries countryside!

Bike WeekLR (3 of 7)Skerries Cycling Initiative are looking forward to welcoming lots of new faces to their  “Rediscover your Bike” cycle (20 km) along quiet roads (Saturday evening, 21 June, from 7.30 p.m.), and their much-loved Family Fun Cycle to Ardgillan Park and back (Sunday 22 June, from 12 noon).

Rediscover Your Bike – Saturday 21 June – meet at Sea Pole at 7.30 p.m.

It is amazing how beautiful the surrounds of Skerries are, and how suitable for cycling!

Bike WeekLR (6 of 7)When I recently tested this route with the organiser from the SCI, I was pleasantly surprised – most of the tour was free of traffic, and very well suited to cycling. The beauty of the rolling hills around Skerries more than makes up for having to cycle up and down those said hills, and with a half-way decent bike, this is quite do-able.

Bike WeekLR (7 of 7)A half an hour took us past the Golf Club and on very scenic roads to the outskirts of Lusk. Then we turned towards Loughshinny, which we reached in another half hour. The evenings are possibly the ideal time for cycling – the light was only beautiful on the day we were out, and the break at Loughshinny Harbour was lovely.

Bike WeekLR (1 of 7)
Refreshed and rested, we pushed on land-inwards, past Baldungan Castle (which I myself had never seen up close before, so we stopped for a photo), crossing the Skerries-Lusk road near the former Daffodil Gallery, and then on another beautiful back road down to Skerries again, where we rolled into town just in time to enjoy the last of the summer evening at the harbour.

This cycle comes highly recommended! It is aimed primarily at adults, including those who have bikes but may not have used them for a while.  Not suitable for complete beginners. See here for a map of the tour.

bike in front of harbourStarting from the Sea Pole at 7.30 p.m on Saturday evening 21 June; we anticipate returning there at around 9.30 p.m.

And don’t forget the Family Fun Cycle to Ardgillan with a picnic by the Rose Garden. Meet Skerries Mills 12 noon on Sunday 22 June!

Photographs: Michael McKenna (4), Sabine McKenna (the last one).

 Skerries Cycling Initiative is a committee of the Skerries Community Association.

Thank You from the Rás Committee

The Skerries End Stage Rás Committee would like to say a massive THANK YOU to all who supported and helped this year with the An Post Rás End Stage and Street Party. It was a triumph of community spirit and cooperation. Thanks to all the marshals and stewards, to Fingal Tri Club and all the stallholders, the schools, community and sports groups, to our photographer Michael Johnston, the Sphinx ladies cycle group, to St Patrick’s Church, Skerries Community Association, to Coca Cola for the bottled water and to Ollies Place for the packed lunches for stewards, to Skerries Mills for their car park, Holmpatrick School for the Race Centre, to the local businesses and residents, and anyone inconvenienced by traffic restrictions, and to the spectators who turned out in droves for this great event. We could not have done it without you.

Fingers crossed for a record 10th in Skerries in 2015!

Greg Reddin, Skerries End Stage Rás Committee

Greg Reddin on Rás Day

Greg Reddin on Rás Day