St Patrick’s National School in Calry and Jesus & Mary Secondary School in Enniscrone were two schools selected to receive a 100% funded covered cycle storage unit from An Taisce recently. In May this year the Schools were awarded the Green Flag for Sustainable Travel and as they continue to travel through the Green-Schools programme their bikes will be kept dry and secure when they cycle to school.
Pupils and parents at St Patricks’s gathered with staff on Wednesday 26th September to officially launch their new cycling facility. Thirty four pupils had travelled to school by bike on the day for their ‘Cycle on Wednesday’ event and the official ribbon was jointly cut by 6th class cyclist Conor Melvin and Roisin Gilmore from 1st class.
The principal Mr Stenson said “Congratulations to all the children for getting involved, especially the Green-Schools Committee and Mrs McDaid, who worked closely with Imelda Ryan-Jones, Green-Schools Travel Education Officer, in promoting more sustainable travel to school.” Imelda also spoke to the large crowd, complimenting the parents for taking the time to get out walking and cycling with their children and reaping the benefits.
Imelda added “An Taisce and the Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport will be delighted to hear that the cycle storage unit is being put to such good use. Well done indeed to all the families.”
One of the youngest children to cycle to school that day was Calum Guckian, pictured above,
in Junior Infants, who was delighted to receive a Green-Schools recycled pencil and bright reflective armband from Imelda as a reward for taking part on this special occasion. “I was so pleased to meet Calum and his mammy when I arrived at the school for the launch” said Imelda “they were just leaving the school as home time is earlier for Junior & Senior Infants, Calum was proudly wearing his helmet and he was delighted with his Green-Schools reward.” Imelda later gave the children who had cycled that day a bright Green-Schools reflective arm band each, as well as giving prizes & stickers to the Green-Schools Committee to present to other children who will cycle in the future.
Following a reminder to all the children and parents about how to correctly wear a cycle helmet all the lucky children on bikes went for a spin with Imelda and the parents. “I wish I cycled” one of the pupils watching was heard to say, “I will tomorrow.”
Proud Parents at St Patrick's NS in Calry with 34 bikes in their new Cycle Storage Unit
Two days later on Friday 28th September Imelda attended the launch, which included raising the Green Flag for Sustainable Travel, at Jesus & Mary Secondary School in Enniscrone.
The Green-Schools Committee invited ex student and professional full time cyclist Patrick Clarke to do the honours of officially launching the new cycle facility and raising their Green Flag.
Patrick cycled to school when he attended at Jesus & Mary, where he graduated in 2006, and is delighted that students can now park their bikes in a sheltered and safe storage unit. “From an early age my bike was a ticket to freedom” said Patrick “I would cycle the 6km journey to school, to my friends houses and later when I got a part time job at weekends it was my bike that got me there”.
Patrick has been based in Belgium for the past three years, since he finished his college Degree, and has raced professionally on the continent UK and Ireland. Last year a group of 5th year students travelled to Belgium where, guided by Patrick, cycled a 280km loop in three days. Patrick educated them on safe cycling and the enjoyment that can be had from regular cycling.
“Irish roads are as safe for cycling as they are for driving, if you follow some simple rules” said Patrick during his speech at the School “always wear both a helmet and a high visibility jacket, as well as ensuring you are aware at all times of the traffic around you and that you use your hand signals.”
left: (L-R) Caretaker Richard Coleman, Teacher Helena Rhyder, Imelda Ryan-Jones, An Taisce Travel with Patrick Clarke - Professional Cyclist and ex student of Jesus & Mary Secondary School
Imelda thanked the students and staff, most especially teacher Helena Rhyder, for supporting the Green-Schools Travel theme and congratulated them on setting up a Cycling Club in the School as part of their Green-Schools programme. “An Taisce and the Department of Transport are delighted to support your great achievements in promoting cycling, as well as Sligo County Council who funded the ground works necessary for the installation of the Cycle Storage Unit” said Imelda.
She also added “cycling and walking are great for your health, wealth and wellbeing as well as the environment. I want you to especially remember that these two particular forms of exercise release natural endorphins into your brain that give you the ‘feel good’ factor, therefore when you are worried about anything going out for a walk or cycle can really help you feel better about dealing with those worries.”
Pupils from the local national Scoil Chriost Rí, which also received their Green Flag for Travel earlier this year, will be at a great advantage when they move on to secondary school as teacher Ann Marie Clarke said “we will encourage those who had been cycling to primary to keep up the good habit when they join us here at Jesus & Mary”.
(L-R) Principal Sr Mary, Teacher Helena Rhyder, students of Jesus & Mary School, Patrick Clarke, Imelda Ryan-Jones, An Taisce & Teacher Ann Marie Clarke at the launch of new cycle storage unit.
The future is certainly bright for cycling to school in Calry and Enniscrone. Well done to all involved.Always be first with Sligo news - Never miss a story - Join us on Facebook