A GALWAY man has launched an ambitious project aiming to give every child the tools to learn how to cycle safely.
Cycling has always been a popular mode of transport in Ireland, but has taken off particularly well over the past year as people took to their bikes to explore their local areas, made easier due to less cars on the road.
A new scheme has been launched to provide every school in Galway with 'cycle training': teaching children how to ride a bike for the first time as well as how to do so safely and how to share the road with cars and other vehicles.
But while this cycle training is available for every school in the Galway area, some disadvantaged children may not be able to afford their own bike, and schools in deprived areas do not have the funds to supply them.
This inequality led local man, Patrick Skinner, to launch a fundraiser aiming to buy 10 bicycles for disadvantaged schools in Galway, so that should a child not have a bike of their own, they would be able to take part in training with the rest of their class by borrowing a cycle from the school's 'pool' of bikes.
"This way, all children living in Galway get the chance to learn how to ride a bike and enjoy the freedom and health benefits this brings," Patrick, the founder of Pedal Monsters cycle training, says.
"Learning to ride a bike is one of the healthiest and most liberating activities a child can do.
"Not only does cycling help fight against diseases like type 2 diabetes and obesity, but it also gives children the freedom to explore new places and the option of cycling to school, as well as contributing to a better environment."
To help raise awareness for the fundraiser, Patrick plans to do a sponsored static bike ride in Salthill in the coming weeks.
To help a disadvantaged child gain access to the the same skills and training as their peers, and to stay healthy and learn to explore their locality on a bike, you can check out Patrick's GoFundMe scheme here.