25 years after the first Velo-City conference, Dublin is hosting the 2005 event. It's a global conference for "the best and the brightest in cycling, transport, leadership, politics" and it ain't cheap: the full fee is €975. Speakers get a discount: they pay €790.

Velo-City: what’s it all about?

With 500+ delegates from 35 countries paying good money to be here, Velo-City is not for what one delegate called "sandal wearers."

Top international civil servants mingle with the great and good of cycling.

Most delegates make a stab at attending some of the papers. Some see their time more profitably spent networking away from the formal business and the multitude of Powerpoint presentations.

Velo-City exists to "provide a forum for the communication of ideas, to "demonstrate the role of cycling within an

integrated strategy," and to "provoke discussion, debate and action."

The host city usually pulls out all the stop to prove its pro-cycling credentials and Dublin has been no exception.

Basking in its Celtic Tiger, boom-town status, Dublin wants to become more bike friendly than Amsterdam. The city is currently being dug up to create a super-modern transport system, including a tram network to rival anywhere in the world.

The city plans to double the number of cycle lanes over the next decade at a cost of €30m.

500km of what Dublin calls ‘cycle tracks’ will be installed by 2015. Amsterdam’s network runs to just 400kms.

Such vision is what powers Velo-City, said series director Olly Hatch.

"We are pushing an open door. More people from more sectors are now involved in cycling, and more people recognise the positive role that bikes can play."

Hatch said Velo-City conferences are a means to an end:

"They are all about promoting cycling, but not cycling as just an end in itself, but as a means of helping councils, individuals and businesses all to achieve their aims and targets too.

"Velo-City moves from city to city but has always had a big impact and left a positive legacy."


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