Cycling once loved by Dubliners has declined in popularity. What are the benefits of the bike?

What's the quickest, most efficient mode of transport? Do bicycles, now the Cinderella of a mechanical age, have a new and important value to our lifestyle?

Actor Aidan Grennell, newsreader Don Cockburn, Dr Joseph Barnes a specialist in the Mater Hospital , and Trinity Professor Frank Wynder are all keen cyclists. Journalist Virginia Kennerley splits her commute between driving and cycling a fold-up bicycle. 

She drives to the edge of the cement jungle and then takes her folding bicycle out of the boot.

Professor Wynder describes the economic benefits of cycling and points out that his wife has a greater need for the family car. He believes that people in Dublin just got out of the habit of travelling by bike and feels there is a snobbery towards cyclists.

One rises to the car as soon as one can and after that one prefers to forget one's bicycle.

Virginia Kennerly enjoys the camaraderie amongst fellow cyclists. Fewer people cycle as the weather gets colder and driving or travelling by bus becomes more attractive. 

Don Cockburn has been cycling since 1945 but believes that motorists now look down on bicycles as an obstacle on the roads. 

Aidan Grennell believes that people are just too lazy to use bicycles. 

The main reason for riding a bicycle in Dublin is to know exactly how long it's going to take you to get from one point to another and this you can predict quite accurately on a bicycle.

'Cope' put various modes of transport against each other in a commuter challenge to see which was the quickest during peak rush hour. The route was from the RTÉ Montrose Studios to the GPO in O'Connell Street Dublin by bicycle, car and bus. 

Áine O'Connor travelled by bus, Caroline Erskine by car and Tom McGurk on a bicycle. The race was timed by John Lackey, Tour of Ireland organiser.


The bicycle came in a clear first place followed by the car and then the bus.

Of course, the bike won.

This episode of 'Cope' was broadcast on 15 November 1974. The reporter is Tom McGurk.

‘Cope’was a magazine programme aimed at a family audience that covers a wide range of subjects in a light hearted manner.