Paddle your own canoe can be great way to commute

Meet the man who’s pushing the boat out as part of a new initiative to promote alternatives forms of travel to work.

Mark O’Donoghue is set to paddle his canoe from his home on the outskirts of Cork City down the River Lee to get to work in the city centre as part of the Cork Environmental Forum’s (CEF) ‘Mix Your Mode’ campaign.

The campaign runs until Mar 24 and will see the CEF working with organisations across the city and county in a bid to encourage commuters to consider alternatives to the car.

Commuters will be told how they can get fit and save money as part of the campaign.

Mr O’Donoghue, who lives in Ballincollig and owns a beautifully-crafted 17ft cedar wood Canadian canoe, is among those spearheading the initiative.

“I’m incorporating my hobby as part of my commute to work,” he said.

“I find it a wonderful way to travel — just the peace and quiet and the lack of stress.

“There are no traffic jams, no traffic lights, and no rage. I might get delayed by the odd heron or flock of ducks.

“But on bright sunny mornings like we’ve had recently, there is no better way to travel.”

Mr O’Donoghue cycles from his home in Ballincollig and parks his bike at the Mardyke, before putting his canoe in the river for the final leg into the city centre.

He ties his canoe up at the Port of Cork pontoon before starting work as an automation engineer, overseeing gate and barrier access to some of the city centre’s largest car parks.

His wife also cycles regularly from their home to her workplace in Blackpool.

Mr O’Donoghue’s canoe can fit three adults comfortably and he travels with all the associated safety equipment, including a VHF radio.

“I would encourage people to give these alternative forms of transport a go,” he said. “Thinking about it is worse. But I can assure you, it’s never as bad as you think it’s going to be.”

Staff at St Colman’s College in Midleton are also getting on board with the initiative.

A group of teachers are boat-pooling and taking a rib from Cobh to East Ferry before completing their journey in an electric car.

The CEF says commuters could get fit and save up to 50% on travel costs by changing their transport modes.

Train and bus users could save more than 50% through tax-saver tickets available from Íarnród Éireann and Bus Éireann.

Bernie Connolly, CEF development co-ordinator said: “Alternatives like GoCar and Avego can be more cost-effective and environmentally friendly than owning and running a car themselves, and most people don’t realise this.”


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