A fold-up bicycle is really the way to go
Last week in a national newspaper a columnist wrote a piece criticising cyclists for breaking the law. He argued that cyclists must stop 'peddling excuses for rule-breaking'.
Since the introduction last July of fixed-penalty fines for cycling offences 600 cyclists have been fined. Three hundred were caught going through red lights. Another 125 had to cough up for not having a front or back light while cycling after lighting up time. Seventy people were fined for cycling without due care and consideration. The basic fine is €40. After 28 days it goes to €60. On non payment it's to court and the possibility of a €2,000 penalty.
Ciaran Cuffe of the Green Party, while admitting cyclists should keep the law, thinks the figures are somewhat on the high side. Cycling has become extremely dangerous. Many cyclists are travelling too fast and too dangerously. Motorists need to show more care towards bicycles and there is need for more cycle paths and better ones too. The Bike-2-Work scheme has proved a great success but it means there are many inexperienced people out on bicycles.
But that's the way it is, so we simply have to get on with it and do the best we can. When cyclists break the law they should take it on the chin, pay the fine, get back up on the saddle and cycle in a safe and proper manner.
Some months ago I bought myself a fold-up bicycle. It is sensational and why I waited so long to buy one I simply cannot understand. Right now I'm sitting on the 11.00 ex Heuston Cork train on my way to Castlegregory in West Kerry. I left home in south Dubiln at 10.20 and cycled to Heuston Station. Was at the station at 10.45.
Yes, it is very tempting to cycle along the platform but it's against the by-law and also, I have been caught doing it. I have been converted and now wheel the bicycle to the train door. In less than 60 seconds the bicycle is folded and within another 60 seconds it's neatly packed on a luggage rack at the end of the train coach. And guess what? It travels for free. It really is an amazing facility. Some time back Irish Rail stopped taking conventional bicycles on trains between certain hours. Also, to take an 'ordinary' bicycle on a train you have to pay dearly for it.
When I arrive at Tralee it's the bus for the first 18 kiolometres and then cycle the next 10 kilometres. And if by chance I get a lift from the station, again simply fold up the bike and throw it in the back of the car. It is a magic piece of engineering. Cycling around Dublin is great fun. If it begins to rain, the traffic is congested or you simply get tired, then you can just jump on a bus with the bicycle under your oxter. Again, buses take it and take it for free. Most of the fold-up bicycles have seven gears and they are ideal for cycling anything up to 20 kilometress. After that an 'ordinary' or regular bicycle makes more sense.
It's that freedom to jump on and off trains and buses with it that makes it so special. There is never any need to lock it as you can carry it into most places with you. You can get a bag for it and simply carry it over your shoulder. Yes, the rain and wind are a problem but there's no cover or umbrella with a conventional bicycle. A fold-up bicycle is the way to go.