| 7.6°C Dublin

Close

Premium

The Big Read: On your bike - how the commute may change forever

The big read: Covid-19 stopped the traffic and made us rediscover the joys of cycling, but as lockdown is lifted, can the trend continue, asks John Meagher

Close

Pedal power: Martina Callanan, who runs the Galway Cycling Campaign, says retailers have nothing to fear from a rise in the number of cyclists. Photo by Andrew Downes

Pedal power: Martina Callanan, who runs the Galway Cycling Campaign, says retailers have nothing to fear from a rise in the number of cyclists. Photo by Andrew Downes

Andrew Downes, XPOSURE

Three young boys take to the hills on their bikes in the Phoenix Park. Photo by Steve Humphreys

Three young boys take to the hills on their bikes in the Phoenix Park. Photo by Steve Humphreys

Traffic jams were non-existant during the early days of lockdown

Traffic jams were non-existant during the early days of lockdown

Cyclists and motorists negotiate the new lane layout in the Phoenix Park, Dublin

Cyclists and motorists negotiate the new lane layout in the Phoenix Park, Dublin

A Deliveroo rider makes use of a new expanded cycle lane, "streetspace for London" on Park Lane

A Deliveroo rider makes use of a new expanded cycle lane, "streetspace for London" on Park Lane

AFP via Getty Images

A cyclist rides past the Duomo di Milano on Piazza del Duomo in Milan

A cyclist rides past the Duomo di Milano on Piazza del Duomo in Milan

AFP via Getty Images

A cyclist rides in a new cycle lane in the Boulevard Charles de Gaulle in Paris

A cyclist rides in a new cycle lane in the Boulevard Charles de Gaulle in Paris

Corbis via Getty Images

New skills: Susan Lannigan with her twin daughters Isobel and Aoileann Grant (7) who learned how to cycle with less traffic on the roads during lockdown. Photo by Gerry Mooney

New skills: Susan Lannigan with her twin daughters Isobel and Aoileann Grant (7) who learned how to cycle with less traffic on the roads during lockdown. Photo by Gerry Mooney

/

Pedal power: Martina Callanan, who runs the Galway Cycling Campaign, says retailers have nothing to fear from a rise in the number of cyclists. Photo by Andrew Downes

When Susan Lannigan was coming to terms with the Covid-19 lockdown, she quickly noticed some unexpected positives. The quality of the air in her south inner-city Dublin neighbourhood improved significantly and noise pollution dropped. The absence of car traffic had an immediate impact.

She decided it was the perfect time for her seven-year-old twins, Isobel and Aoileann, to learn to cycle. She had always been deterred by the volume of traffic on her street and the adjacent South Circular Road, but in the early weeks of lockdown, the number of cars had reduced to a trickle.

The solicitor and seasoned bicycle commuter bought a pair of children's bikes and every day she and the girls ventured outside. The twins quickly got the hang of cycling. For several weeks, Portobello seemed to be theirs - and that of all the other cyclists who were enjoying both sunshine and car-free roads.