Public health chiefs saddle up for cycling challenge

Public health chiefs saddle up for cycling challenge

The Public Health Agency (PHA) is welcoming public health leaders from England and the Republic of Ireland as they embark on an eight-day ‘Cities of Culture’ cycling challenge.

Last year, the cycling team visited Belfast to see the PHA’s cycling initiatives and this time round they’ll be visiting Derry/Londonderry, Enniskillen and Armagh before cycling on to Kells, Co Meath and then Dublin. From there, the cyclists will sail to Liverpool and then cycle to Hull.

The tour is organised through the Association of Directors of Public Health, in association with East Riding of Yorkshire Council. The group rides for around 50-60 miles each day and aims to highlight the benefits of cycling for health and make links throughout the public health community.

Apart from burning calories and maintaining a healthy weight, cycling reduces the risks of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, and can improve emotional health and wellbeing.

Mary Black, Assistant Director for Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement at the PHA, said: “We are really delighted to welcome our public health colleagues from England and the Republic of Ireland.

“We have been developing and promoting a number of active travel initiatives over recent years here, as active travel improves people’s physical and emotional health, as well as benefitting the environment.

“Cycling and walking are activities that can be incorporated into everyday life and are an easy and fun way of getting more physically active and staying healthy. They can also be a much more efficient way of getting around, especially in the city.”

The Yorkshire Public Health Bus will travel with the cyclists and in Armagh a number of activities will be run at the bus including health checks, cookery demonstrations and a ‘’smoothie bike’.

Dr Tim Allison, Director of Public Health at East Riding of Yorkshire, said: “By eating well and moving more, you maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk of heart disease. Through this partnership ride we are showing that it is easy, no matter what age or physical ability, to get on a bike and cycle. I am extremely pleased that we have true international participation for the Cycle Challenge this year.”

Cycle schedule:

  • Saturday 20 May: leisurely warm up cycle round three bridges in Derry/Londonderry
  • Sunday 21 May: Derry/Londonderry to Enniskillen
  • Monday 22 May: Enniskillen to Kells (via Armagh)