Most days cycling in Belfast to work, to the shops or back home is uneventful. But then it’s Giro d’Italia year in Belfast and magic things are happening. Even a small section of a simple journey can hold remarkable sights within the space of a few hundred metres.
Dunlop/Hume legacy is our chance to hoist Belfast to a unique place in cycling history
Is Northern Ireland about to squander a golden chance to promote its unique cycling heritage? Government agencies are ignoring a local anniversary of world significance as the Giro d’Italia Grande Partenza passes within yards of one of the birthplaces of modern cycling.
Two world firsts
On 18th May 1889, local cyclist Willie Hume took part in a series of races the old North of Ireland Cricket Club Grounds on the Ormeau Road. His safety bicycle (the direct ancestor to modern bikes) was fitted with pneumatic tyres, which were being used in competition for the first time anywhere in the world. Hume had purchased the tyres from John Boyd Dunlop, a Belfast-based Scottish veterinary surgeon, who’s development was the world’s first practical application of a pneumatic bicycle tyre.
A quick whizz through the @nigreenways highlights of the year..
2013 began with a bang in Belfast – remember flegs? – and NI Greenways couldn’t resist getting in on the rush hour hysteria. Amid the rumours of roads being blocked and large roving protests popping up to cause maximum traffic disruption, canny commuter cyclists still had time to observe normal city life; and this commuter caused a mini panic among office workers at 5pm on a Friday night..
Northern Ireland Greenways is proud to launch a unique new tourist attraction, the Belfast Cycling Study Tour. Building upon the concept of the legendary Hembrow Study Tours in the Netherlands, we are targeting a niche but growing market of cycling advocates who want to experience the very worst in government-funded cycling provision. The tour is sure to delight everyone with some of the daftest paint infrastructure ever committed to a road surface.
Aspiring to rank alongside Titanic Belfast and the Giant’s Causeway as a magnet for overseas visitors, tours will start every day from Belfast City Hall. Without even turning a pedal, you can marvel at the lack of any visible cycling infrastructure around the hub of the forthcoming Belfast Bike Hire scheme!
Our professional tour guides (Dessie and Smicks) will lead you on an action-packed tour of some truly original and world-class rubbish cycle lanes and more. Here are some of the highlights..
On 25th August 2013 I fulfilled a wee ambition and took part in my first cycling ‘sportive’ event, Lap The Lough. I had real worries that I would make a fool of myself, both with my gear and the real possibility of not finishing. So how did this amateur do?
As a diehard urban citizen cycling champion (or maybe because I don’t own a road bike?) I used my 8 year old commuter hybrid bike. I seriously began to question this choice as I queued to get off the motorway, it seemed as if EVERYONE rolling down to the Peatlands entrance was in lycra and on race-chiselled road bikes. Would I be ridiculed?