This interview a bit closer to home… ex-international and world level cyclist Dave Kane has his shop in East Belfast since 1978 and now run by his son Mark (ex-international pro) and his other son Paul (Silver Medal at the Irish National TT Champs 2001) runs the second shop specialist in cycling clothing a few yards away at the Newtownards Rd. The experience they have is awesome, the love for cycling just immense and that reflects on the service you get. The Kaner’s have supported the Belgian Project since the start, always helping out with prizes when I do some fundraising, which I have appreciated and thankful for. Here below the interview and a further news article that gives hope for our future of cycling here in Northern Ireland, including why shopping local is important for our economy…remember that buying online from global giants doesn’t fix that bike when broken…your local bike shop does!! (Photos and video BP media or otherwise indicated)

An interview from Gillian Halliday (Belfast Telegraph) with Paul Kane, very positive news for local family run bike shops like Dave Kane Cycles during this lockdown

Paul Kane, who helps to run David Kane Cycles in Ballyhackamore, said that on Monday alone, they had 40 customers come in looking for repairs – as well as customers wanting to buy bikes to commute to work. The Government has appealed to commuters to return to work via bike or on foot, rather than using trains or buses, to stem the spread of Covid-19. Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Paul, whose store was established by his father, Dave, in 1978, said that while they closed their premises for seven weeks, they have been left astonished by the interest since they reopened. “We only reopened on Monday 11th of May, and from then, we’ve been snowed under,” he said. “From Monday, we were caught off guard ourselves with the number of people, we had 40 repairs left in with us. Typically, we would get 40 repairs over a period of three weeks. “There have been people coming in asking about bikes to commute to work, and those with bikes in their sheds and garages are now bringing them in to get repaired, so they can use them to get to work.” He continued: “With kids’ bikes, we’re nearly sold out of them. The problem with the bike industry now is replenishing those stocks going forward. We haven’t seen it like this in a long time. “We’re easily up 70% compared to the same period last year.” The 46-year-old, who helps run the shop with his brother, Mark, said the store has also welcomed medical consultants who want to commute by bike. He added: “There’s a realization of the health benefits as well, that we can fight these things (Covid-19) by staying healthy, rather than be stuck in a car or on a bus.”

Paul Kane from (Photo taken from the Belfast Telegraph this week)

However, Fraser Duncan, who was a rider in the 2014 Commonwealth Games and ex Team Dave Kane cyclist, now co-owner of The Bike House in Bangor, said that while sales for the store have gone up, it was mainly driven by those looking to buy a bicycle for recreational purposes.

Frazer Duncan second left

“There has been an uptake and we’re half expecting that it will continue with commuters,” he said. “I just think it’s still too early for us to see that yet. A lot of people are still not back at work. “We’ve seen an increase in recreational riders and hopefully that transfers to commuters.” He stressed that for commuter cycling to flourish in the long term, our infrastructure would have to change. This was echoed by Paul Kane, who welcomed Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon’s pledge that cycling and walking would be at the “very heart of our transport policy”. He added: “When my father opened the business in the 1970s, everyone cycled to work and he’s seen the generation where it went away. Hopefully, it is back now.”

A Tour de France winner, one of the best climbers in the world, and a Belfast giant interviewed by Cian Lynch. a cycling commentator from Dublin