I’m a bit disappointed to hear the news on Friday that the Etape Hibernia is to be cancelled, but I’m not really surprised.
For those of you not in the know, the Etape Hibernia is one of a series of events, following on from other successful events such as the Etape Caledonia. But what really set it apart from others was that it was a closed road event, covering 84 miles around County Clare. Normally this wouldn’t really be a factor for me, in that I tend to stick to quiet roads anyway. But without doubt the most spectacular scenery I have cycled around was the Clare coast, so I was really looking forward to seeing what it was like on closed roads.
Having said that, while the concept was good the organisers had completely shot themselves in the foot with the timing. Regardless of how well it is run on the day, the extra cost over other events (I think it was over €50 for entry) would be enough to put off a lot of people. But factor in that the event was always run on the same weekend as one of the flagship Irish sportives, the Sean Kelly tour, well there was ever only going to be one winner. Looks like I’ll be cycling in Waterford in August (NB that’s a good thing!)
Good news for cyclists in Limerick: it was announced yesterday that Limerick was one of the winners of a National Competition for Smarter Travel Areas, along with Dungarvan and Westport.Spread over 5 years, the Limerick proportion will be €9 million). Among the aims of the project, according to the Irish Government website http://www.smartertravel.ie, are:
- improved cycling ways, including safe routes to school and to key business and workplace zones;
- secure cycle parking in town centres or at public transport nodes;
- better walking facilities, including pedestrianisation;
- lower speed limits in residential and town centre areas;
- school and workplace travel planning
- car clubs
- the City Centre
- Castletroy (including the National Technology Park and University)
- And Southill.
- Advanced Stop Lines (ASLs): These basically give cyclists a head start at junctions, making the cyclist more visible, especially to left-turning traffic.
- As some of these ASLs hand & foot rails will be installed, to help balance at stops.
- Bike Pool schemes at certain employers
- A public bike hire scheme
- Cycle safety training for adults