Cycling Ireland Interim CEO Update
I have been in post for almost two months and the time has flown by. There is a huge amount to do in Cycling Ireland but the sport has huge opportunities for growth particularly in the general participation area.
Cycling along with running and swimming are identified as priority sports to get Ireland moving. We have a fantastic sport with a host of variations from track to cyclocross and BMX to road racing and we need to get the focus back on the sport and what it can do.
Cycling Ireland is currently in a stable financial position however there will be a significant deficit for 2023 and budgets for 2023 are particularly tight.
This is in part due to the cost of living situation and inflation which like many homes and businesses nationwide has hit Cycling Ireland too. Many areas are much more expensive to deliver.
There have however been a number of other issues around finance and we are now in the process of a complete review of the finance processes and procedures.
We have had to take a number of steps in an effort to increase revenue and control costs. One such measure was an increase to the One Day Licence Fee. The fee does not affect members and we would always encourage people to get full membership rather than an ODL for many reasons. We are however pleased to be able to introduce the ability for those who purchase a One Day License to upgrade to Leisure Membership and pay only the difference.
Membership fees have not been increased in recent years. As such, they have not kept up with inflation and are significantly better value for money for our membership options. However, due to the significant financial pressures, the banking and transaction fees previously absorbed by Cycling Ireland are now to be applied in addition to the membership fee.
We would encourage members to make full use of the discounts and benefits available to them in order to save money on cycling related products and services.
Community Bike Rides
Cycling Ireland is delighted to confirm that the Community Bike Rides initiative will be financially supported by the Department of Transport in 2023.
With over 5,000 members, Community Bike Rides provides an important resource for new and returning cyclists in Ireland as a community that offers free social leisure rides for adults of all ages.
Cycling Ireland and Sport Ireland have received formal notification that planning approval has been granted for the National Velodrome and Badminton Centre at the Sport Ireland Campus in Dublin.
Designs for the new centre include a 250m cycle track, with 12 badminton courts within the infield. Other spaces, including the entrance and café, changing rooms, offices, training facilities and bicycle hire/stores, will sit under the track at ground level.
The velodrome will act as a landmark within the wider Sport Ireland Campus, capable of hosting national and international cycling and badminton events. The building will be multi-functional, with approximately 1,000 permanent seats and 2,500 temporary seats to accommodate events and activities.
Further details on the development will be released in due course.
Membership figures for 2023 have been very strong and as of the end of January, 18,000 members have registered for the year. It promises to be a great season with a wide variety of competitive opportunities across the disciplines. With a growing leisure membership the sportives and club social cycles are sure to be popular again in 2023.
We are trialling a Commuter membership option in 2023 with packages available to both employees and employers designed for those who cycle as a means of transport to and from work.
Employers can purchase commuter memberships in bulk for their employees and avail of several advantages and benefits. Analog Digital are an example of an employer who have been involved in the Cycling Ireland commuter membership scheme and have increased the percentage of their employees cycling to work from 4% to 11%. This has a massive impact on the health and wellbeing of their workforce, reduced carbon emissions and congestion in the local area. We are looking forward to engaging with more companies to help them make the switch to cycling.
Get Ireland Cycling
We are delighted to announce the appointment of Paul Norton as our Get Ireland Cycling Officer.
The initiative aims to introduce cycling to sectors of the community currently underrepresented in the sport as well as supporting life-long participation for those already involved.
Get Ireland Cycling embraces participation across all cycling disciplines including recreational and competitive cycling as well as cycling for transport.
It aims to identify and remove barriers to participation through consultation with both cyclists and non-cyclists and with a wide range of partner organisations and interest groups.
In so doing, the initiative will encourage and facilitate increased diversity and inclusivity within cycling in Ireland.
Since starting the role in January, Paul has been working with key stakeholders to finalise and officially launch the Get Ireland Cycling strategy in the coming months.
Cycling Ireland has provided grants to nine events taking place in 2023, including strategically important events such as the Rás, Rás na mBan, Junior Tour of Ireland and Cross Clonmel.
Applications were received from 33 different events. Unfortunately, Cycling Ireland was unable to provide grants to all events or to the level requested for some due to the high volume of applicants and limited budget availability.
2023 is an important year for the Cycling Ireland High Performance Unit as qualification for the 2024 Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games comes into focus.
The qualification process has either already begun or will kick off across a number of disciplines and the HPU continue to work tirelessly to ensure Irish athletes are afforded the best opportunities to represent Ireland and compete at the highest level.
European and World Championships will be a primary focus in 2023, including this week’s Track European Championships taking place in Switzerland.
The 2023 Cycling World Championships take place in Scotland and Cycling Ireland hope to enable our athletes to compete on the world stage.