As the 2016 Paralympics are in progress and three Irish paracyclists have taken medals in Rio recently, cycling is having a great impact on the country right now. To underline the importance of this kind of sport An Post issued a set of stamps which recognize the growth in popularity of cycling in Ireland. 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.
StampNews.com invites our readers to include these bright items in their topical stamp collections.
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. The rise of the MAML or Middle Aged Man in Lycra is an often used term! A better 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, CycloCross 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 take 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 is 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. Their performances are reviving a great history which reached its peak in the glory days of Irish Cycling during the 1980’s and early 1990’s, when Stephen and Laurence Roche, Sean Kelly, Shay Elliott and Martin Early were all heroes and household names.
It’s the Irish Paracycling squad who are paving the road to glory this week at the 2016 Paralympics. The squad are achieving personal bests and making Paralympic history while representing Ireland. They have also won a bronze, a silver and two gold medals and are aiming for more success in the coming days.