Beth McCluskey, University Technical Officer, commutes 60km
My commute starts from a small town called Greystones in county Wicklow and finishes at St Stephens Green in Dublin city centre. It takes 60-70 mins depending on the wind direction, with the last 30 mins of the inward commute being on a bike lane on a very busy dual carriageway. I have at least one near death experience every day. I’ve had several accidents, all of which have happened while I was in the bike lane. It wouldn’t be a commute I would recommend for a novice cyclist.
There are lots of cycle lanes in Dublin but a lot of them are very badly designed and maintained. They are probably ok for children cycling to school and very nervous cyclists but in general they are not a realistic option for the serious commuter who travels in excess of 20km/hr and more than 2km.
Apparently there are 10,000 bike journeys every day into the city over the 2 canals between 7am-10am.
The Dublin bike-sharing scheme has been the most successful one in Europe and has been great for city cycling as it has improved driver behaviour in the city since there are now so many more cyclists on the road than before. Apparently there are 10,000 bike journeys every day into the city over the 2 canals between 7am-10am. That’s an average of 100,000 per week!!
For novice cyclists Dublin would be quite a scary place to learn the skills of city commuting. Phoenix Park would be a good place to learn as there are hire bikes available and off-road cycle paths.
My tips for cycle commuting: be hyper vigilant for cars turning left, and move as close to the right-hand side of the lane as possible; use hand signals to show you are going straight on. If that fails and the car starts to turn, slow down and if you can’t stop try to turn left with the car. Stay in control and try not to panic. This is what I do, though it has taken many years to master!
Una May, aged 47, Director of Participation, Sport Ireland, commutes 32km
I commute from Celbridge to Blanchardstown and almost all of it is on cycle paths, with about half on a completely traffic free canal tow path (the Royal Canal). It’s an absolutely lovely way to start the day when the conditions are right but in winter it gets very muddy and is unlit which is a small bit off-putting – I could handle the unlit bit with decent lights but would hate to end up sliding in the mud and ending up in the canal in the dark!
On a sunny day a big challenge is dodging the fishing rods and trying not to swallow too many flies in the evening going home! My favourite part of the cycle is the game I often end up playing with a heron which flies ahead of me and then stops and then flies ahead again!
Commuter tips: Always have spares of the obligatory undergarments in a drawer at work because without fail you’ll forget one of them one day! Try to be patient and don’t put yourself under time pressure – it’s not good if all the benefits of cycling are wasted because you’re so wound up by the time you get to work.