22 September 2009

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Ciaran on the Move

Ciaran Andrews, the chairman of North Down Cycling Club is a man with an inexhaustible energy and a passion for doing things to perfection. Unfortunately for the cycling club, pressure of business has resulted in the local architect having to reluctantly decide to relinquish his role as chairman for the incoming year.

This is indeed regretted by everyone in the club as Ciaran gave his time selflessly throughout his tenure in office and he presided over the club at a time when it saw unparalleled expansion. Whilst Ciaran may not be at the reins, however, it will hard to keep a good man down and I have no doubt that he will still be heavily involved in all aspects of the club.

The search is now on to find a replacement for Ciaran at the up-coming AGM. There are many in the North Down Cycling Club who have the capacity of chairing meetings effectively and acting as an ambassador for what is one of the most progressive clubs in the country. What it takes is simply Ciaran’s attitude of being prepared to sacrifice a little time each month to ensure that the club continues to go from strength to strength. As Ciaran would confirm, with the support of a secretary like Julie Stevenson and a treasurer like Myles Geddis the role of chairman is made immeasurably easier.

A date everyone should put in their diary is Friday 16th October, when the club will hold its Annual General Meeting. This has been a hugely successful year and it would be great to see standing room only at this important event.

Hostelling weekend

In the past the club regularly undertook weekend hostelling trips to get the opportunity to cycle in different parts of the country and allow the club members to get to know each other better. After an absence of a few years it was decided that with the diversity of our growing club membership it was time to re-establish these weekend trips.

This first trip was to the excellent hostel in Gortin, Co. Tyrone, for a weekend of cycling in the Sperrin hills. Sixteen club members embarked on this adventure and for six of the group the adventure started by riding from Bangor to Gortin! A tough head wind all day made the ride more challenging but with no set time schedule the cyclists ensured the 165km ride was a relaxed affair with several refreshment stops and a full sit down lunch taken en route. With everyone arriving within a couple of hours of each other, the Friday evening turned into a great social night.

Saturday morning saw a lot of enthusiasm with several of the group even going for a pre-breakfast ride. With breakfast finished, the group headed out for a spin that took them through the Sperrins to Cookstown for a cafe stop before returning to Gortin by the scenic and challenging Glenally Valley.  Indeed many who are conditioned for peninsula riding found the relentless undulating nature of the terrain tough and were happy to see the hostel for a well deserved lunch. The rest of the day was spent relaxing and it is believed some even had an afternoon sleep! After a fantastically nutritious dinner, the group headed across to the 'local' for Saturday night, the big night out, in Gortin. The 'local' was crowded with the villagers as well as the North Down contingent and the band entertained – to varying degrees.

Sunday morning saw a requested hilly ride to try out climbing skills. With a route of 60km the distance was manageable but the route took in two of the toughest climbs in the Sperrins to test the ambitious and the undulating route between the climbs meant although a short ride, it was very demanding. The group always rode together and the fun and humour made the cycles enjoyable, which was the main objective of a trip like this. Indeed the 'banter' over the weekend was the highlight of the trip and everyone got to know each other a bit more. The ride ended as some said all cycles should, by being able to freewheel the last 5km to the door of the hostel. On arrival lunch was ready and all got well fed and refreshed before loading up the bikes for the return to Bangor and the end of the weekend.


A great weekend with great enjoyable cycling in different terrain, many laughs and great experiences, the consensus being "bring on the next one", which is in the process of being organised at this moment. A big thanks to all the organisers on a great weekend trip.

Prize Presentation and Social Night

The prize presentation and social night will be on Saturday 7th November at Pickie Bowling Club. The template of the evening will be forged on the successful event organised by Eric Blayney, in the same venue, last year. As was the case last year, the night was short on speeches but high on good food and excellent craic. There will also be a short series of presentations to honour our successful athletes this year and even a little dancing to challenge the co-ordination of many of the guests. Eric warns, though, that numbers will be limited with places being already being snapped up. The cost of the night has been kept low at £10 per person to suit everyone’s pocket and payment may be made to Eric Blayney before the Saturday or Sunday morning club runs, at the Bokhara worlds social this Sunday or at any Friday club nights. He warns though, he won’t accept bookings without cash.

Notices of Motion

Anyone who desires to change any of the laws of either Cycling Ulster or North Down Cycling Club should send their requests to the secretary of North Down Cycling Club, Julie Stevenson, immediately, so that they can be formally presented. As with all organisations, the AGM provides the opportunity for rank and file members to have laws considered and possibly changed or amended. The Cycling Ulster AGM is 17 October and as one of the biggest clubs in the country North Down have the right to more delegates than most and with it they wield a considerable power.

The World at the Bokhara

Everyone is reminded of the innovative promotion this weekend at the Bokhara, when there will be an opportunity to watch the 2009 World Championships on the big screen, have some excellent food as well as a cycle to burn off some of the calories. Tickets for the event, which commences at 9am and includes both lunch and dinner, are £25. For full details visit the North Down CC website and enjoy an excellent day’s entertainment.

First Aid

The North Down Cycling Club is organising a fully certified first aid course for members. The courses will be held in the evenings of Thursday 30th October and Friday 6th November. Anyone wanting to reserve a place should contact Julie Stevenson immediately.

McCann set new British Record

Belfast cyclist David McCann (Phoenix CC) produced one of the best performances of his career at the weekend when he smashed the long standing British 25 mile Time Trial record held for the past 16 years by Chris Boardman, the former World Hour record holder, Olympic and World gold medallist and one of the few English riders ever to have worn the yellow jersey in the Tour de France. McCann recorded an amazing time of 45 minutes and 54 seconds in the Port Talbot Wheelers "25" which represents an average speed of almost 33 mph for the solo effort taking three seconds off Boardman's long standing record. Runner-up was Michael Hutchinson (In Gear Quickfit) 15 seconds down on McCann. This is a fantastic result for the modest Belfast rider who is today competing in the World Time Trial Championships. Everyone in North Down wishes him every success.

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