Today, the 3rd of June, is World Bicycle Day. This year, with the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and the lock-down that followed, there has been a resurgence in the popularity of cycling, the likes of which we could never have envisaged. Bicycle shops around the country are selling out of all types of bikes and repairs are non-stop. A new Sport Ireland survey suggests that over half a million Irish adults are cycling once a week.
The extension of the limit of travel for the purpose of exercise from 2km to 5km allowed cyclists up and down the country the space to enjoy getting in the saddle and getting out of the house again. The more experienced and athletic cyclists will be waiting hard for the limit to be extended to 20km on the 8th of June.
Cycling in the sun
Although the lock-down is undoubtedly the main factor behind the growth in numbers cycling, the great weather experienced in the months of April and May is also a major factor. Total rainfall at Finner Camp in April this year was only 16.3mm, for example. Compare that to February, when rainfall was 263.2mm. The COVID-19 measures coincided with one of the best spells of weather in recent years, leaving Irish families eager to get out in the sun and away from the house as much as possible.
The e-bike boom
Before there was any word of lock-down, there was already a big growth in sales of electric bicycles. That said, the e-bike boom had been quite slow to hit Ireland. There were over 200,000,000 e-bikes in China in 2013. It’s a safe bet that e-bikes will continue to take a hold in Ireland during, and after, the lock-down, as they are ideally suited to the hilly terrain of the Irish coastal counties. They are the ideal way to get around without the puffing-and-panting of the hills. E-bikes are ideal for less-mobile cyclists or the less fit amongst us!
The benefits of cycling to one’s mental and physical health are well known, and cycling will have been many people’s saving grace through the Coronavirus lock-down. Indeed, cycling will be many people’s saving grace for years to come and with the increasing popularity of the e-bike, cycling may be more accessible than before.
Brian, son of owners Séamus and Nóra, was one of the first team members at Donegal Ebikes, having built our original website. He is a sports fan and lover of Ireland’s outdoors, and has summited many of our highest peaks. Brian now works as a Business Development Officer with An Droiched Irish language organisation