Among the European capital cities that have embraced shared bike schemes, Dublin has been a success story. Over 42,000 people who live or regularly frequent the capital subscribe to the Dublin bike scheme. Since 2009, when the scheme was launched, there have been 7 million rentals, with more than 95% of trip durations within the free first half hour.sd
Yet it’s not just the locals who are pedalling to make the scheme a success. By the end of June, the scheme had clocked up almost 5,000 short-term subscriptions this year. For just €5 (with the same rates per hour as long-term subscriptions), a three day pass gives the tourist the perfect way to explore the city this September.
It won’t be hard to find one of the scheme’s 100 operating stations. Then get registered and start exploring. During a time of light traffic one route could be along the quays, cycling on the south side till you get to Heuston Station. Cross the bridge there and head into Phoenix Park. Do a lap of one of Europe’s largest public parks, taking in its monuments, greenery, deer and other attractions before cycling back along the north quays.
On either side of the river you can observe the landmarks, the twenty four bridges over the Liffey, and normal city life, including its edgy traffic. There’s a station to deposit your bike at the end of the northside’s quays, where the river meets the sea.
Another option is to find a bike at Grand Canal Dock and cycle along the leafy, placid canal. There’s Patrick Kavanagh’s seat, the willows that dip into the water, the barges, and a pub or two that make for good stopping.
Hang a right onto Dolphin’s Barn Road and wind your way through the Liberties and the older, cobbled parts of the city that ooze with a whiff of the past. Spot Christ Church Cathedral, follow it, then glide down Christchurch Place, Lord Edward Street and onto Dame Street. A spectre of characterful new and old buildings will greet you on either side. Take a right at Trinity’s entrance, then a continuous straight path will bring you to Merrion Square, or a right turn on Nassau Street brings you to Kildare Street, home of many notable institutions.
Wherever you cycle, keep your eyes and ears open at all times. You’ll need a credit card for a three day ticket and only a third of the 100 working stations take credit cards. But for less than half the price of a city bus tour, you can discover a capital by bike, and you don’t have to go Dutch to do it.