Retired Dubs star Conal Keaney sets up bike business
By Maurice Garvey
ALTHOUGH recently retired from inter-county GAA with Dublin, Conal Keaney continues to ride the crest of a wave – recently kick-starting a bike hire and tourist service in Phoenix Park.
Woodstown resident Keaney and co-founder Paul Ashmore established Phoenix Park Bikes last month – taking over the enterprise from a previous business that was in operation at the park.
After a positive start, the pair are hopeful the venture will take off during the summer months.
Located at the Parkgate Street entrance, the company offer a range of services and packages to visitors, including the rental of high-spec bikes, electric bikes, tandems to bring little ones with you, Segway tours, school/club tours, and history tours of the park.
With a strong background in business, including tourism, outdoor adventure, and event management, Keaney has utilised the park’s natural resources, to provide customers with an extensive package to enjoy a day out.
“I’ve always been an outdoor person,” Conal, who also operates outdoor adventure centres in Avon Rí, Blessington and in Dun Laoghaire.
“When you’re playing inter-county, you don’t get a lot of time, but I’ve always wanted to do something on my own terms. Now after retiring from inter-county, I have a bit more time to develop the business.”
The company has invested in high-quality Lapierre bikes, and are working on an agreement to upgrade and recycle the trek bikes at regular intervals throughout the year.
Conal continued: “We got a new fleet of over 200 bikes. The plan is to change them every six months. They are a bit more expensive, but they are high-spec and won’t require a lot of maintenance.
“Also, it’s good for insurance – people aren’t generally going to go out on them and have any problems. The plan is to sell the older bikes on to colleges, universities, and bike shops.”
The business employs three staff, and will take on six additional staff to cope with an expected increase in outdoor activity over the coming months.
“We have something to suit all ages and sizes,” said Conal.
“The pedal bikes are popular for elderly people, or if it’s windy. The bikes are really popular with tourists, whilst the Segway tours are proving popular with locals.”
For further information on services, prices, packages, and tours, visit phoenixparkbikes.com, or on their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.