JUST as the world is coming out of lockdown, the Clonakilty Community Bicycle Scheme is entering one of its own.
At a recent meeting, Tom O’Donovan said members of the scheme agreed they would sell off their existing stock and buy new ones when they are ready to roll again.
Rising insurance costs had hit the scheme hard. In 2019, the committee paid €4,000 in insurance, but the following year insurance companies refused to provide cover at any price.
It meant that the 60 bikes they had initially purchased six years ago at a cost of €600 per bike were left to gather rust. The actual number today is 55, because one was damaged, two were stolen, and two were sold.
The committee is hoping that the sale of the remaining bikes at around €150 each will clear their €5,000-plus bank debt.
‘The scheme is not over. It’s not finished,’ said Tom. ‘The Clonakilty Bike Festival, for example, is going ahead this weekend from June 10th to June 13th with a full programme that will include the cycle to Inchydoney and picnic on the beach, as well as the hugely popular film night where attendees will have to cycle to keep the generator going.’
Long term Tom believes Clonakilty is ripe for the promotion of cycle tours and trails.
‘But we have to get the basics right first – we must source an insurance provider. We don’t want to close down, shut up shop, and go away because our bike circus and bike yard at Spiller’s Lane is a great place for people to learn how to maintain their bikes and do City and Guilds training,’ he added.
‘We also love our Tri-shaw, which we will retain, and use to take older members of our community out for a spin around the town.’
Tom said he is not too disappointed about the sale of the old bikes because ‘when we open up again we will have new, fresh bikes.’
Locally, they were known as Clona Bikes because Clona Milk generously donated €1,500 each year for the privilege of having their logo emblazoned on the bikes – a sponsorship that hopefully will be continued when the new bikes are back on the racks.