Bumper turnout for start of Fun Tour series

The scene on Saturday morning at the Rex Bonar hall where the Ballymena Road Club launched the start of their annual cycling fun tour series. INBT 37-906H
The scene on Saturday morning at the Rex Bonar hall where the Ballymena Road Club launched the start of their annual cycling fun tour series. INBT 37-906H

Last Saturday heralded the start of this year’s autumn and Winter 13 week series of the Ballymena Road Club – Chain Reaction Cycles - “Fun Tours”.

Unlike the opening day for last year’s series, which was a washout, with just 20 participants, Saturday saw 75 riders assemble at Rex Bonar House.

This was just one short of the best ever turnout but the most encouraging aspect was that there were 17 non club members who availed of the Cycling Ireland “one day licence” facility.

The, 40 miles, fun tour route took in Slaght, Kellswater, Oldwood road, Lenagh Road and then Barnish road Cookstown junction, Milltown, Maghereagh road, Ballylurgan and Magheralane road into Randalstown.

Next it was Ahoghill road to Whiteside’s corner, Ahoghill and Cullybackey and a quick visit to Arthur Cottage. The group will return to Arthur cottage again this Saturday when it is European Heritage open day at the venue.

John Maxwell took the “B” group on a 48 miles (average speed 17.5 mph) ride to Cushendall, Waterfoot and Carnlough.

This year’s charity fund will benefit the Chernobyl Children’s appeal NI and already the total stands at £365. (Plus £175 from the Nine Glens Challenge)

Once again the tours will receive support from Ballymena Borough Council who will host a presentation at the end of the series.

The normal well tried and tested format will continue for this year’s series.

The participants will be divided into at least two groups with the more experienced riders scheduled to cover about 50 miles on their tour.

Club members will welcome newcomers to the touring section’s group where the average speed will be kept to around 15mph.

This speed isn’t exactly slow for novices so anyone who turns up needs to have been doing some training in preparation for the event. The minimum age of the participants is set at 13 years and all those under 16 must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or other nominated adult.

Experienced club members are asked to make themselves available as “travelling marshalls”. They need to be fit to do this job as it means riding ahead of the group, to cover junctions and corners and then staying in position until everyone goes past, and then cycling back up to the front again ready for the next turn. This will certainly be good training for those volunteers!

Certificates and medals will be awarded to the successful participants with five tours earning bronze, eight for silver while eleven wins gold.

Participants are advised that crash helmets must be worn. They are also advised to dress appropriately for the weather conditions and to bring a rain jacket, spare tube, food and money. It goes without saying that bikes must be fully road worthy. There is a minimum one off entry fee of £5 to cover the fun tour series with the donations going to the Chernobyl children’s appeal NI.

GROUP RIDING TALK

BRC secretary Hazel Hughes has organised a talk about group riding which will be conducted by Cycling Ulster’s Colin Hughes.

“I have asked Colin to do his talk about group riding to the new people on the fun tours. We asked him to come to the clubrooms on Monday 22nd September. The talk will last about an hour so he will start at 7.30 pm

The talk will include instructions about the importance of calling out potholes and obstructions, how to move around in the bunch and also cornering . The kind of stuff we all have had to learn. (And in some cases perhaps have forgotten)” Added Hazel.

There will be tea and coffee on the night.

Colin’s talk on group riding has been used by Cycling Ireland; he has a slide show and now British Cycling want a copy too! So it’s well worth attending whether a novice or experienced cyclist.

TOURING SECTION

Last Sunday 7th September. Ballymena Road Club’s touring section held their final “away for the day tour” when their, “last resort”, tour of the harbours took place from the duck pond in Ballymoney.

This end of season tour proved again to be very popular with 31 taking part and it was ridden at a moderate pace. The route included Macfin, Mountsandel, Coleraine, Portstewart, Portrush, Portballintrae, Dunseverick, Port Bradddan and Ballintoy, where there was a tea stop at a new venue “the Red Door”.

Then it was on to Ballycastle and the inland route along Moyarget road to Toberdoney cross roads and then Dervock and on to the finish at Ballymoney for a total of 57 miles at 14.5mph average. The tourists were also joined by a number of other club members who had cycled from Ballymena to take part. By the time they were home they had 95 miles in their legs.

LORI’S FUND-RAISER

BRC touring section member Lori Phillips organised a charity dance at the Michelin Athletic Club last Friday evening.

Lori said “The Cycling Girls of Ballymena Road Club and Michelin’s Team Bibsport held a charity fundraising dance supporting the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice in celebration of Brigid Quinn’s 70th birthday on Friday 5th September at the M.A.C. Great Fun was had by all dancing to the “SandyMac Band”. £1,044 was raised, thanks to the generosity of the 100 plus family and friends of Brigid who attended, together with the donations received from those who were unable to attend. Thank you to everyone who made this possible. The Charity will have a total of £1,305 (with gift aid) to put to good use at the Hospice.” Added Lori. Everyone at BRC congratulates Brigid on her big birthday and also extends their thanks to Lori for organising such a great event, well done.

TREVOR IN SPAIN

Still on the touring and charity theme – Ballymena RC members wish Trevor Thompson a successful trip to Spain next week.

Trevor heads off to Seville from where he will set out on a 1000 kilometre bike ride on the famous Camino cycle route heading north to Santiago. The ten day challenge will be formidable with high temperatures and also high mountains to overcome. The charity to benefit is “Friends of the cancer centre” which is based at the City Hospital in Belfast. Trevor too has suffered from cancer and he sees this particular challenge as a personal pilgrimage marking his journey from sickness to health. Those participating in the event aim to raise £50000 for the cancer centre. To donate please visit www.justgiving.com/caminocycle2014.

Good luck to Trevor.