Published Friday, 20 June 2014
The Lord Mayor, Nichola Mallon, met hundreds of cyclists participating in one of the highlights of Bike Week which began last Saturday.
Breakfast was available between 7.30am to 9.30am for cyclists who registered on arrival at City Hall.
Participants could eat in the Bobbin cafe or, if they were short of time, had the option just grab a complimentary coffee from a van on the front lawn.
"We are encouraging everyone to get on their bikes and ride to work, college or the shops," said the Lord Mayor.
"Besides the treat at the end of the ride, it is an easy way to keep fit, reduce carbon emissions, and save money on petrol or bus fares," she added.
"With the thousands of people enthused by the Giro D'Italia we are hoping that even greater numbers than usual will take to two wheels for the day."
Belfast City Council is promoting the 'Bike to Work Breakfast' as a part of Active Belfast and in partnership with the Department for Regional Development.
Free advice from the PSNI on anti-theft and bike marking was also available at City Hall.
Speaking to UTV about Bike Week, Transport Minister Danny Kennedy said that, in light of recent accidents, safety remains of paramount concern.
"All efforts have to be continued to be made to make cycling safer and the overall infrastructure easier for people to travel in," he commented.
He said that cycling proficiency is "important" and added there are strong arguments to take it further than the school setting.
Mr Kennedy said his ambition was for Belfast to become the 'Copenhagen' of western Europe.
"It will take time to achieve that, it will be a cycling revolution that will take time," he added.
"I think it's important to stress that we have momentum, Giro d'Italia helped that, but I think more generally people increasingly are using cycling as a sustainable mode of transport - [there is] 20% extra in terms of cycling in Belfast itself."
Gordon Clarke, director of Sustrans NI said that he would like to see every child in Northern Ireland trained in cycling proficiency.
"Ultimately, if they don't become a cyclist in later life, they're a car driver, and that training will have helped them significantly so it's an investment in both the appreciation of the driver and the cyclist so we're very supportive of that."
He stressed that more infrastructure and improvements to the "disjointed" network need addressed.
"Where there's good infrastructure, more people cycle and that's important but equally important is behavioural change - and that [means] working with drivers but also school children.
On Thursday night, the mayor also held an event honouring the volunteers who helped make sure the Giro d'Italia spun through Northern Ireland smoothly.
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