Not only are the The Fréd Awards a way of recognising the people behind the scenes who help create a better bike culture they are a great way of taking the pulse, finding out what's going on out there and making some attempt to tell the wider public about it.
The awards were presented in Place NI by Nuala McAllister, Lord Mayor of Belfast
BEST LOCAL BIKE SHOP
Brownfields Bike Repair and Restoration
“The Local Bike Shop has been going from strength to strength over the last 5-6 years with many new shops springing up in the last 18 months. This award has yet to be won by one of the larger super stores which reinforces what a LBS is all about - customer service and honest advice. The award moves out of Belfast for the 1st time and goes to Brownfield Bike Maintenance and Repair." Podium:The Bikehouse Bangor & Velo Café Magasin complete the podium.
NOTABLE: Roe Valley Cycles, Kinnings, McConveys, Green Bicycle Co.
BEST BIKE CAMPAIGN
See The Cyclist
“We haven't had the category for campaign in a few years as they've been a bit thin on the ground. It was a bit of an oversight on our part - the hastag #seeTheCyclist started appearing in lots of other categories… The award goes to the PSNI for their See The Cyclist Campaign ”
NOTABLE: Dundalk Cycling Alliance , Bridge the Bannfoot.
BEST CYCLE WRITER
"Best Cycle Writer goes to a prolific time trialist with multiple records over multiple distances and also a prolific writer on all things cycling - author of books such as The Hour, Faster and Re:cyclists: 200 Years on Two Wheels. It's for his Weekly column as Dr. Hutch that he picks up the award." Podium:NIGreenways and Sticky Bottle complete the podium.
NOTABLE: Solo Stan, Paul Kimmage, Shane Stokes
BEST CYCLE BRAND
"Introduced a few years ago to recognise the people who are innovating and creating great new bike products and jobs along with it. This year's winner has been consistently producing ridiculously great cycle clothing at ridiculously reasonable prices - Galibier." Podium: See.Sense and Victory Chimp were 2nd and 3rd.
NOTABLE: Donard Cycles, Tadais,
Lap the Lough & Bikes Beach BBQ
“The annual lap around Lough Neagh celebrated its 12 year of encouraging people to get on a bike and cycle around Ireland's biggest landmark and The Bike Beach BBQ is what everyday cycling is all about. Podium: Air Ambulance Sportive and Cyclovia take 2nd and 3rd emphasising once again the variety of cycle events now on offer."
NOTABLE: Bangor Coastal Challenge, Ulster Cyclocross League.
BEST BIKE INFRASTRUCTURE
“The pulsating green artery through East Belfast toward Comber becomes more popular year on year and shows active travel and traffic free spaces are more popular than ever.” Podium:Connswater Greenway and Newry Towpath round off another year of Greenways!"
NOTABLE: Foyle Greenway, Davagh & Rostrevor MTB Trails, Belfast Bikes.
BAD BIKE INFRASTRUCTURE
“Our own nomination for the worst bike infrastructure goes to the Stephen Nolan Show and we recommend all cyclists should avoid it like a cavernous pothole. However, the winner this year is an example of triumph in the face of Bad Bike Infrastructure - despite poor facilities and lack of funding the dedication and determination from a handful of volunteers have produced regional, national and world champions! When we have floodlit football pitches every 5 miles - the relatively small investment in one indoor track would transform cycling across Ireland - the award goes to Anthony Mitchell and the Cycling Ulster Track Commission”
NOTABLE: The Albert Bridge, Belfast City Centre
BEST BIKE CAFÉ
Bow Bells, Donaghadee
“The award swings back from the Sperrins to the east coast. Like last year's winner (The Auction Rooms in Maghera) the best indication of a welcoming bike café is a clatter of bikes lined up outside. Bow Bells in Donaghadee is where you'll always see a bike or 10 parked outside.”Podium: Auction Room Maghera, & Harrisons Greyabbey complete the podium."
NOTABLE: Schoolhouse Rostrevor, Gilbery Fayre, Daft Eddies.
BEST EMPLOYER FOR CYCLING
"One of NI's largest employers has supplied over 1000 bikes via the bike to work scheme, 80 capacity secure bike cage, showers and almost 200 people in their bike group - the award goes - for the 2nd time - to AllState NI. Podium:Belfast City Council and the PSNI"
NOTABLE: Derry City Council, Seagate
MOST ENGAGED POLITICIAN
Chris Lyttle, MLA
“Previous winner have included Danny Kennedy (recently lost his seat) and Dathaí Makay (resigned his seat). We wish the winner all the best with his new career :) Without a local executive in Stormont for most of this year there's been a distinct lull in progress on Greenways and the Belfast Cycle Network. However, the winner continues to champion of everyday cycling, he chairs the All Party Cycling Group at Stormont, making sure that the cyclists' voice is heard across all departments and political persuasions." NOTABLE: Mark Brooks, Stephen Agnew, Andrew Muir
BEST BIKE SCHOOL
Bloomfield PS, Belfast
"Introduced last year as a way to recognise the schools who want to give kids the opportunity to get to school under their own steam. Incredibly, cycling is not part of the national curriculum so there's no onus or incentive for school to do this. Any school making any effort should be commended. This year's winners are Bloomfield Primary who in partnership with Sustrans have created a more active travel culture at their school". Podium:St.Anthony’s Craigavon, St Francis NS in Blackrock Dundalk came in 2nd and 3rd.NOTABLE: Friends Lisburn, Lisnaragh.
FRÉD OF THE YEAR
Chris McIlhenny (FoyleCC) | Colm Watson (VCG) | Eric Blaney (NDCC)
“This awards the person behind the scenes toiling away for years to try and make a difference. It's previously gone to a politician who's goes beyond the call of duty to make a positive cycle contribution. This year has seen a break with that trend and instead we've seen 100s and 100s of votes for cycle club members who have dedicated their time to building their local clubs and giving people regardless of their age or what foot they kick with the opportunity to start cycling.”Chris McIlhenny:
- "Has really helped elevate the status of Foyle CC…";
- "Always working behind the scenes…";
- "Never looks for any credit but without doubt none of these events could happen without his input…"
- "We don't have much money as a family and I know nothing about bikes bit Colm would lend my son his bikes and give him tips that make my son feel like he has special inside…"
- "…young people in our club have more confidence in their cycling ability and everyday life because of the opportunity he has provided them…"
- "…dedicates his time, energy and knowledge every weekend to support Glendale Imps…"
- "…stalwart of NDCC for many years, provides opportunities for many young people to try out cycling in a safe environment…"
- "Legend for tireless promotion of cycle sport from the early 90's…"
- "My da, Eric Blayney - got so many kids into the sport in the 90's through his mtb league…"
HOPES FOR 2018
Voters were asked to give their "hopes for 2018".
- More cohesiveness between campaigners, clubs and organisations to pressure Govt. for more opportunities to ride a bike.
- A bridge on the Bannfoot
- A proper Cycle Network for Belfast backed by politicians.
- More bike events for more people to enjoy. 'Strict Liability' law for NI - like Holland/Denmark. Safety would improve overnight.
- 1.5m passing law
- A bigger BBQ, some decent cycles lanes, new employer and some sunshine
- A crit in Stormont , inside it. currently empty
- A cycling friendly culture with a transport policy to back it up.
- A new velodrome or refurbished Orangefield track
- A safe cycle link between Bangor-Ards and Comber\Belfast
- All disused and abandoned railway lines converted into cycle and walk ways and a new cycle path along side the train line from COLERAINE to Londonderry
- Another Gran Fondo
- Anything that gets more people on bikes.
- Armagh to Newry Greenway, to include Lissummon tunnel As I'm not a huge outdoor cyclist, I enjoy indoor spin but would like to have the confidence to get outside on a bike.
- Good decent & longer cycle lanes would be a huge advantage & help timid riders start
- Attitudes of drivers become more patient and accepting of the need to share the space and keep cyclists safer.
- Belfast-Bangor cycle way!
- Better bike lanes. Not just paint on a footpath or road.
- Better Cycle safety infrastructure in Belfast and beyond
- "Better cycling awareness. Stiffer penalties for motorists that endanger, injury or kill cyclists.
- Cyclists also need to obey the Highway Code, the majority do but they're are a few who give cyclists a bad name.
- Better cycling routes on Road's between Belfast and Bangor
- Better road safety
- Better segregated cycling infrastructure.
- Brexit means we all have to ride fixed wheels?
- Cameras everywhere!! Lots of see the cyclist camera logos on kit and drivers wising up
- Cargo bikes!
- Communication between all on the road!
- Connect the Comber Greenway to city centre
- Cycle paths alongside all B roads
- Cycling on the rapid transit lane!
- "Decent cycling infrastructure - ie not shared use with pedestrians, unless in areas of very low footfall.
- More kids cycling to school.
- PSNI close-passing initiative (like West Midlands version)
- Greater consideration of everyone's journey by all road-users (including some cyclists!)
- Greater political commitment to active travel (and not pandering to car lobby)"
- Decent feckin' bike lanes in Belfast in the main arterial roads ie Ormeau Rd, Lisburn Rd, Antrim Rd etc. A line on a footpath or road IS NOT A BIKE LANE IT NEEDS TO HAVE A KERB!! .
- Excited to see Allstate Northern Ireland's 80 capacity weatherproof bicycle enclosure with secure access and Dutch style two tier cycle parking facility built and opened.
- Footbridge across the Bannfoot
- Greater education to help people in learning to share the roads with one another safely and empathise, particularly, with vulnerable road users.
- "Greenway fully connected Belfast, Bangor, D,Dee, Newtownards, Comber, Belfast and further!
- Hard shoulders replaced by cycle lanes
- Hope for less hostility on the roads, but that may be in vain
- I could wish for something normal like more investment in greenways and infrastructure but this is Norn Iron...So I'd settle for e-bikes to become unclassified as motor vehicles.
- I hope to see more off road cycle pats to support safe commuting.
- "I want to see every top with a camera logo
- I’d like someone to actually read and implement our cycling strategies!
- I’d love to see better cycling lanes put into towns and in Belfast. And the new road from ballymoney to ballymena could have had a good cycle lane put in... why did this not happen?
- Keep taxis out of cycle lanes.
- Lagan gateway, peace 4, dfi cycle master plan, BCC open space strategy
- Law changes that act as a deterrent to protect cyclists. More support to campaigns from those who matter
- Less assholes not caring about fragile cyclists
- less carbon, more sweat, less pictures, more kms
- Less cyclists injured or killed on roads and better mutual respect with other road users
- More businesses/office buildings providing showers, lockers and bike parking.
- More closed road events like the Gran Fondo. What a feeling to ride for almost 4 hrs on closed rds!
- More closed roads events
- More cross border cycling from our club, the success of the Carlingford Lough Ferry and the go ahead for the Narrow Water Bridge, and miles and miles of cycling.
- More dedicated cycle paths less moaning from motorists
- More Greenway
- More miles on better roads and bike lanes
- More progress on building the bicycle network in Belfast!
- more public hire bikes in south belfast
- more safe cycle promotion from government
- More than 1 Ciclovia.
- More tolerance of cyclists on the road by vehicle drivers. More young people enjoying cycling as part of a way of getting fit.
- More usable, safe and direct cycling infrastructure with money committed to fund widespread projects. More events like Cicloclvia (ideally one Sunday a month). Action taken on 'quick fixes' which should have been done long ago (like filling in gaps between bollards on Alfred Street). More people cycling and less people driving. Better, informed safety measures implemented (because a police leaflet telling a driver how to drive properly is as good as useless).
- Movement on the big Greenways project beyond the limited scope announced this year.
- Movement on the Comber - Ards Greenway - and beyond
- No more angry motorists, crazy motorists, cycle fatalities, cycling deaths
- No More tar and chip resurfacing CHRIS HAZZARD!
- Not getting dropped!
- Ormeau Park / Gasworks Bridge
- Please cars, let's make love not war 🙏🏼🚲❤️
- Poor roads surfaces
- Portadown, Lurgan & Banbridge town centres more cycling/pedestrian friendly.
- Pro active police action against speeding on narrow roads by cyclophobic motorists.Less riding selfishly by groups of cyclists:Two abreast is legal if it doesn’t impede other road users (maybe try g to earn their living!)Cycling 3 abreast is illegal per se!
- Proper cycle infrastructure in Belfast city centre
- PSNI #SEETHECYCLIST to make and impact on all road users.
- Ride my bike with family and keep safe
- Road safety campaign needed,the public's attitude to cyclists is not funny and needs addressed.I competed in Motorsport all my life but would consider cycling on NI roads much more dangerous
- Safer cycling in the city, starting with existing cycle lanes being car free. Drivers should be punished for unsafe/dangerous driving towards cyclists. More car free cycles paths would be great!
- Safer roads x 20
- See the cyclist logos everywhere
- Some decent weather
- Someone from Holland in charge of the Dept of Infrastructure.
- To take a bike on a train before 9.30am.
- Bike carriers on Belfast buses.
- Tubeless road tyres
- Space on the road
- Stop victim blaming and enact presumed liability
- Sustrans to get involved in getting a proper Belfast/Bangor/Belfast cycle path
- That the Greenway is extended
- That there is more respect between all roads users.
- The Bangor to Belfast coastal path should have been developed properly into a cycle/walking path decades ago and will hopefully be developed into this in the future and the sooner the better, especially as it will take the cyclists off the main road and stop them risking their lives twice a day every day they cycle to work.
- The start of some greenways.
- Would like to see all references to non existent ‘road tax’ abolished from the key board warriors moaning about cyclists not paying to car manufacturers calling it ‘road tax’ in advertising!
- Would love the 1.5 meter cyclist road space to be made Law