Colm Ryder – Velo-city 2019
“I’m involved in cycling advocacy, making cities better and more liveable, so that people can get around easier by bicycle.
I’m the chairperson of cycling.ie, which is the national network of groups involved in cycling around the country, and I am also a member of the European Cyclists’ Federation.
Velo-city is the largest cycling congress in the world. The location for the congress alternates between Europe and somewhere outside of Europe every second year. This year we were fortunate enough to have Velo-city come to Dublin with 1,400 delegates attending The CCD and it was a fantastic conference.
We have tried to host the Velo-city conference for some time and previously held a much smaller conference in Dublin in 2005, at a point when cycling wasn’t moving forward, and we wanted to make this better. In 2014, we held a meeting with the European Cyclists’ Federation here in Dublin and, through that, we began to see that there was support available to hold even small meetings here in Dublin. For that particular meeting, we got support from Fāilte Ireland and it was really successful. People came from all over Europe and they got to travel around the country and experience the hospitality of Dublin and Ireland. This led us on to think about hosting the larger Velo-city conference.
Although, we are a small organisation in Ireland and for us to host it on our own wasn’t possible, so we partnered with Dublin City Council, who were very keen to make it happen. Our conference organisers, Abbey Conferences, did a sterling job all the way through in terms of documentation, organising social calendars around the conference, and organising the conference itself.
Dublin is an attractive city for a lot of people and there are so many stories here. It’s the tech capital of Europe, so it was a relatively easy sell to bring the conference here. There were only two cities involved in the final stage of bidding process for Velo-city 2019, Helsinki in Finland and Dublin. We thought we hadn’t got a chance, but we came out on top. A large part of the reason we won was The CCD and Dublin as a city.
It was a dream come true in a sense to see so many international delegates coming and cycling around the city. Overall, the conference was a massive success. The feedback we got was just fantastic and The CCD is made for conferences, so it was a perfect fit.
My advice to future conference ambassadors would be that if you are serious about trying to bring an international conference to Dublin, go for it. The support is there for you to make it happen. It is relatively easy when the work is done by a Professional Conference Organiser. Don’t be scared and take the big step”.