An Post – the postal service provider in Ireland – have issued a set of stamps today which recognise the growth in popularity of cycling in the country. The ‘Cycling in Ireland’ stamps are designed by Zinc Design and feature four different aspects of the sport in Ireland: Commuting and safety, family and leisure, sportive and charity and high performance and competition.
Cycling in Ireland has grown hugely as a pastime for people of all ages and abilities. People are getting on their bikes for a variety of reasons, for fitness, as a commute option, a competitive sport or for charity.
A measure of the popularity of the sport is the 800 events organised annually in the Cycling Ireland* calendar.
From grassroots to elite level there are competitive Road, Off-road, BMX, Cyclo-Cross and Track events with leagues and racing 12 months of the year.
On the leisure and charity cycling side, every weekend a plethora of events are now taking place all over the country, often providing a cash injection to local charities and communities. All of this happens through the volunteers who make up the 450 registered cycling clubs nationwide.
As a travel to work option 2011 Census figures show that from 2006 to 2011 the number of Irish people cycling to work, college or school increased from 53,960 to 61,177. This figure is sure to increase again when the latest Census figures become available.
The growing number of people in Ireland who view cycling as a life-long activity is reflected in the membership of Cycling Ireland shooting up from 6,000 members to 23,000 over the past five years. In fact, membership is up a whopping 720% in the past 10 years and 65% of those who have joined up are leisure or non-competitive cyclists, with women making up about 20% of total membership.
At elite level, Ireland has been well represented in recent years, with Irish riders such as Dan Martin, Nicolas Roche, Sam Bennett and Ryan Mullen, Caroline Ryan, Olivia Dillon and Lydia Boylan all racing for Ireland on a world stage.
This week it has been the Irish Paracycling squad who have been winning medals at the 2016 Paralympics. They have won a bronze, a silver and two gold medals so far and are aiming for more success in the coming days.
The set of four, 72cent stamps are available in main post offices and on http://www.irishstamps.ie