Bike Week 2020, an initiative of the Government of Ireland, took place this year between the 19th and the 27th of September. Cyclists from all over the country took to their bikes to support local initiatives run by the local authorities, community and cycling groups.

With changing public health restrictions across the country, now more than ever there has been a surge of cyclists taking to the road as they reassess their transport options. The theme this year was clear and needed no rationale or persuasion – “Cycling is good for you and good for your environment.” The campaign was aimed at a wide audience in Ireland, people of all ages including families, students, commuters and cycling enthusiasts. Bike Week 2020 asked people to think of how much CO2 they could save by taking the bike instead of the car. We encouraged them to use the carbon calculator online to quantify their savings. We shared with them the statistics and the facts – such as how cycling in Dublin saves 28,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year, equivalent to the carbon footprint of 400,000 people taking flights from Dublin to London Heathrow. We challenged people to take one journey on their bike during the week that they may never have done before and to share their stories with us. We re-iterated the message about how getting outdoors to cycle, especially now, was good for your health and good for the environment.

With many people indoors, social media was key to the campaign and the volume of traffic and engagement was proof in point of how successful the campaign was online. A key contributor to the overall success of the campaign was also the creativity of organisers around the country who despite the challenges of the restrictions, organised a variety of safe community events. Local authorities and community groups organised a myriad of events including 100k challenges, treasure hunts, cycles around the locale, virtual screenings, safety and cycling webinars and more. Schools too from all over the country embraced the campaign. They handed out goodie bags, ran competitions, invested in bike racks and took tallies of those cycling to school. What impressed most was the ability to run events and activities safely outside for people to partake in and combine online activity such as webinars, social media live streams and virtual screenings for those that could not always partake outside.

As a new year approaches, our focus will be to keep building on the momentum of this year, a momentum that was well encapsulated with our campaign hashtag #wewillcycle. Active Travel, the umbrella brand of Bike Week (also an initiative of the Government of Ireland) will continue to encourage cycling and walking throughout the year on all the social channels. So keep an eye out and keep cycling!