Case Study - Abbey Conference & Events

Velo-city 2019

Executive Summary

Velo-city 2019 took over Dublin!

The Velo-city conference series is the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) annual global cycling summit, organized by the ECF and selected host cities. Velo-city conferences are widely considered as the premier international cycling conference series and serve as a global communications and information platform and target to influence decision makers, and improve the policies, planning and provision of infrastructure for cycling and the daily use of the bicycle in an urban environment. The conferences traditionally involve experts, representatives of associations, institutions, policymakers and social agents, universities and companies.

In August 2016 Dublin City Council made a formal submission to bid for Velo-city to take place in Dublin 2019. Dublin, along with Helsinki, were shortlisted as potential host cities for Velo-city 2019 in September 2016.

The European Cyclists’ Federation conducted a site visit of both Helsinki and Dublin over the week of the 21st of November 2016. Over 3 days, Dublin City Council showcased cycling in the city with a range of stakeholders, alongside visits to both complete and proposed cycle routes. The team held meetings with Chief Executive Owen Keegan, the Lord Mayor’s office, Councillor Ciarán Cuffe as Chairperson of the Transportation SPC and the Cycling and Walking Sub-Committee, and Minister Shane Ross in Dáil Éireann. The NTA presented to the team and they also met with the Dublin Cycling Campaign and Cycling Ireland. The team took part in a cycling tour of the Grand Canal Route and parts of the Royal Canal Route as well as an extensive site visit of the Clontarf section of the S2S. In early December we heard the news that Dublin had been successful in the bid to host Velo-city in 2019.

Dublin previously hosted Velo-city in 2005 and became the first city in the world to be awarded the conference twice. Hosting Velo-city in 2005 proved a catalyst for cycling growth in the city – the number of cyclists in the city increased by 147% since 2005, but also the conference showed that cycling was a real and viable mode of transport for Dublin despite its decline over the previous years. The experience that the delegates shared with Dublin and their insights really changed attitudes at a number of levels to cycling and showed that there was a need for strong policy decisions, ambitious targets and an integrated approach to encouraging sustainable travel.

Conference Snapshot

Delegate numbers – 1,373

Sponsors & Exhibitors – 41

Countries Represented – 65

Economic Impact – €2.1m


The Venue – The Convention Centre Dublin

The Convention Centre Dublin (CCD) was developed to provide a world-class conference venue in the heart of Ireland’s capital city. Located just 15 minutes from the airport in Dublin’s Docklands, the finance and technology hub of the city, the CCD is ideally positioned to entice the international business tourism market.

Programme and Content

The theme for Velo-city 2019 Dublin was Cycling for the Ages, which focuses on encouraging cycling for people of all ages and abilities, young and old, male and female, as part of their daily transport and recreation. In 2019, Velo-city also explored the “City of the Future”, and the opportunities and challenges that technological advances pose on urban mobility and policy development. While the first sessions of Velo-city 2019 looked towards the future, the final day of the conference highlighted the importance of creating “The City of Today”. Topics ranged from the implementation of sustainable urban planning practices to the importance of cycling advocacy, to the different ways to create incentives for the use of cycling as a sustainable form of mobility.

There were 6 tracks in total across the 4 days with a wide variety of speakers and topics. In addition, a number of exciting features were implemented into the programme including:

  • A bike available to hire for each delegate!
  • The Smart Pedal Pitch – A Dragon’s Den style event where participants pitched their latest ideas and initiatives around cycling technology
  • Technical Visits during the programme to facilities and cycling infrastructure of interest
  • A Bike Parade for all attendees from Convention Centre Dublin to St Anne’s Park in Raheny where delegates could enjoy an afternoon of fun and entertainment in the Dublin sunshine
  • A Conference Dinner in the world famous Guinness Storehouse which presented another wonderful opportunity to showcase what Dublin has to offer and give delegates a further opportunity to network in a relaxed atmosphere

Please find a copy of the agenda for the event here.

Sponsorship & Exhibition

Velo-city 2019 had a very large exhibition with a total of 41 stands in the Forum of the Convention Centre Dublin. Exhibitors included cycling embassies, cycling equipment manufacturers, technology companies and transport infrastructure organisations. We also offered an area for start-up companies to be represented on the exhibition floor which was greatly appreciated and proved to be very successful.


With almost 1400 participants, more than 300 speakers, in over 80 sessions over four full days, Velo-city 2019 was a massive success, due to the great knowledge and enthusiasm that event participants brought to Dublin, with a view of creating a better world for cyclists.

We hope that the whole experience and the feedback received from delegates will lead to a hugely positive legacy, benefitting everyone who wants to cycle in the city.

See the official event video here!


Just as in 2005, we hope that hosting Velo-city becomes a game changer for cycling in Dublin. There has never been a better time to radically improve conditions for people of all ages to enjoy cycling in the city centre and the suburbs of Dublin City. The consequences from congestion, climate change, air pollution, noise pollution, sedentary lifestyles and obesity will be severe, if many more citizens and visitors aren’t afforded safe and enjoyable means to safely and enjoyably cycle and walk everywhere in Dublin.

Lets make cycling for the ages a reality together!


Overall the feedback on Velo-city 2019 was extremely positive from all stakeholders. Dublin proved to be a very popular host city for delegates and the interactive and engaging programme was very well received by all those who attended. From a hosts perspective, there is a firm belief that this conference will accelerate the efforts by Dublin City Council and its partner agencies to further the development of Dublin as a world class cycling city.

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