Ciclovia Belfast casts a second magic spell

Bikefast looks back at a successful second running of Ciclovia Belfast and the plans for the future

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It was a very Happy Hallowe’en as Belfast hosted its second Ciclovia (cycle way) event on the morning of Sunday 30th October 2016. Following on from the successful first running in October 2015, thousands took to streets cleared of vehicular traffic and enjoyed a calm and relaxed potter around the city.

A one-mile route between Botanic Gardens and Belfast City Hall was closed to traffic between 9.30am and 12.30pm.

The streets were filled early by the rolling start from Botanic Gardens, and numbers reached a peak around 11am. Civic leaders including Belfast’s Lord Mayor Brian Kingston and Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard, along with councillors and MLAs, were on hand to support the event.

An array of stalls lined the route from local bike shops offering tune-ups to a Hallowe’en-themed “bling your bike” opportunity for kids of all ages.

The popular Beat The Street initiative caused a logjam on the Dublin Road through the morning as kids and parents logged journeys, while a Belfast Bikes sponsored ride and seek treasure hunt took place during the morning.

Belfast Bikes were in evidence along the route showing the benefit of our wildly popular public hire bicycle scheme to those without their own bikes in the morning.

A significant amount of tourists were in evidence walking and cycling the route, who would otherwise be wandering a city centre will shutters up until 1pm.

Huge credit goes to the Pioneer Group for delivering the event on behalf of Belfast City Council, the Public Health Agency and all the other funders and sponsors. Here’s to Ciclovia Belfast 2017 and beyond!


Comment

Either fortune favoured the brave or lightning struck twice (pick your metaphor) but the weather in October blessed Ciclovia Belfast again. There were fears that a cold/wet/windy spell would spell the end for this popular event, but the sun shone, numbers grew and we are set fair for the future of Ciclovia.

What is required now is to turn the event from a council-driven managed event to a community-based event organised by a dedicated Ciclovia body which draws funding from the council, Public Health Agency, government, third sector and private sponsors.

Local restaurants and cafes have already seen the impact on their bottom line, but more needs to be done to pull community groups, schools, businesses, churches into the planning and ownership.

The original vision for the event became secondary to expedient delivery (and the steering committee and Pioneer Group have delivered in spades) but going into the third running should see the event begin to set down firm roots. For 2017 there needs to be at least four dates, set as soon as possible, with the aim for at least two of those to shift the event from South Belfast to East, North or West.

And let’s get Ciclovia organised earlier than October – our luck has held until now, let’s not tempt fate for a third time..


Read more

Ciclovia Belfast 2016 in pictures as the city is overflowing with cyclists
(Belfast Live)

Hundreds take to their bikes across city for second Ciclovia Belfast cycling event
(Irish News)

Ciclovia Belfast
(official site)

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