Cycling Ireland has partnered with AXA Insurance to create AXA Community Bike Rides, a new programme that aims to inspire people all over the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland to get out on their bikes.
AXA Community Bike Rides are free social leisure rides for adults of all ages and abilities.
A trained Ride Leader will ensure that the bikes of those taking part are both safe and that the experience they get from cycling as part of a social group is enjoyable.
Participants can choose from ‘Easy Going’ or ‘Challenging’ rides meaning there is a range and a progression as people develop more confidence.
Participants can also earn free rewards when they take part in AXA Community Bike Rides. Rewards to encourage regular participation include buffs, water bottles and technical t-shirts with claims possible after the first ten rides.
“We wanted to get involved in sport and physical activity but we didn’t want to just badge an existing programme,” said AXA CEO Phil Bradley speaking at yesterday’s launch.
“We’re delighted to have partnered with Cycling Ireland to support local communities in this new and very community-based way.”
“This is a local, free programme giving people the opportunity to get regular exercise in a safe and controlled environment, where the group is there to help and support each other.”
“We are committed to supporting it through the funding of the operation and a digital campaign to encourage participation over the next three years.”
“This is a fantastic way for new and returning cyclists to enjoy the sport in a safe and supportive environment. We are looking forward to working with AXA to grow the AXA Community Bike Rides programme over the next 3 years and inspire even more people to enjoy the benefits of cycling.”
The programme is being administered by Cycling Ireland and has already seen 570 people register, 31 leaders be trained and vetted and 87 rides complete during the pre-launch phase over the summer.
It is being promoted in partnership with Local Sports Partnerships and there is great potential to have it reach out to people that might otherwise be daunted by the challenge of taking on a more strenuous ride.
“It’s great fun and a fantastic way to get regular exercise,” said Dermot Gaynor who has already taken part in a number of the rides.
“You don’t have to be an accomplished cyclist to join in, once you are comfortable on the bike you will enjoy it.”
“You are looked after by the Ride Leader, you never feel like you’re not able for it and you make lots of new friends.”
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Image credit: Morgan Treacy, Inpho.ie