25 December 2007

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Reflections on a Year in Cycling

As another year comes to a close it is traditional to reflect on the year that has just passed. Although membership continues to rise, the numbers taking part in recreational activities increased dramatically and the club won no less than four national championships it was still a year of sadness with the passing of our esteemed member, Brian Marshall in a tragic accident.. Brian’s loss was such a catastrophe and his passing has left a hole that will be very hard to fill.

Yet as we reflect on the 2007 year we have much for which to give thanks. The membership of the club continues to increase and North Down can be proud of the fact that it is so multi-functional. For example, with 700 entrants the Coastal Challenge is the largest recreational cycle in the country. Not only does this event encourage local residents to become more active, it also attracts a huge number of competitors and their supporters to the borough each June.

On the racing front, the out-going secretary of the North Down Cycling Club, Anthony Mitchell noted, at the club’s AGM:… ‘the highlight of the year was undoubtedly Stuart Henry gaining national representative honours to compete in the European Youth Olympics.’ Indeed, the youth section of the club was very much to the fore with both Rachael Mitchell and Gareth Boyle representing Ulster in 2007.

The North Down club can also be proud of its record in 2007 with regards to promoting ‘Open’ events. With races such as the Northern Ireland Youth Championships and the Northern Ireland Hillclimb Championships to name but a few it is obvious that the club is vibrant on many fronts.

Throughout the year, the club was indebted to two local businesses for their continued support. Without the assistance of the Bokhara and Aquatech, it would have been quite impossible for the club to have achieved as much as it did.

One other big change in 2007 for the whole Northern Irish cycling community, not just those in North Down, was the amalgamation of Cycling Ulster and the Northern Ireland Cycling Federation, although the NICF did retain autonomy in some specific areas. Generally speaking, this unification has developed without many hiccups and the pooling of resources has many obvious benefits.

From an objective stand-point it must be accepted that 2007 has been a real success for cycling in general and North Down in particular. With new vibrant personnel such as Flo Millar in key positions, it could be envisaged that 2008 will be even more successful.

Membership Signing-up Nights

Members are reminded that their memberships and more importantly their third-party insurance is now due for renewal. Although members can rejoin via the website two sign-up nights have been arranged for the convenience of all. These will take place on Tuesday 15th & 22nd January.

Awards Night

Following the great success in recent years of the NICF Awards nights, it has been decided to include Cycling Ulster as well this year. This, therefore, promises to be a night not to miss and one well worth noting in your diary. The venue is once again the Newforge Country Club and the date is Saturday 2 February. Tickets costing £15 can be reserved with Anthony Mitchell.


Mince Pie Cycle

Mince Pie Run will take place on Saturday 29th December, giving us an opportunity to dispense with some of the extra calories taken on (under duress of course) over the festive season. The programme organised by Noel Boyce and Ciaran Andrews kicks off around 10.00am with the choic
e of four different cycles, all starting and finishing at the Marquis Hall (at the carpark just off Abbey Street):

Tour 1

 10.05   25 Mile Run led by Terry

This tour will go via:

Groomsport, Donaghadee, Millisle, Ballywalter, Carrowdore, Six Road Ends, Marquis Hall

Tour 2

 10.15  15 Mile Run led by Harry

This tour will go via:

Groomsport, Donaghadee, Millisle, Six Road Ends, Marquis Hall

Tour 3

10.20   10 Mile Run led by Mark

This tour will go via: Groomsport, Donaghadee, Six Road Ends, Marquis Hall

Tour 4

 10.35   2 Mile Tour within Castle Park led by Alistair

Afterwards everyone is invited back to the Marquis Hall, Castle Park (just off Abbey Street) for a complimentary cup of coffee and a mince pie (11.30 – 12.30).  Certificates will be presented to the younger members at this juncture.

It will be appreciated if those members helping out with the marshalling and organising could be at the Marquis Hall at 9.45am. 

North Down CC wishes everyone a very happy, safe and enjoyable New Year.

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