The organisers of Sunday’s  Bangor Coastal Challenge Charity Cycle are asking road users to exercise caution and patience when a thousand cyclists will take to the Ards Peninsula this weekend.

The Challenge is one of the biggest charity cycles in the country and this Sunday (16th) some 1000 cyclists plan to leave Bangor Sportsplex on the Old Belfast Rd from where they will along the seafront and esplanade before joining the Groomsport Rd from Sheridan Drive to embark on a clockwise circumnavigation of the peninsula.

The Coastal Challenge has been a vehicle for the Club to put something back into the community through cycling and last year the event raised over £13,000 for local charities including Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) and the Make a Wish Foundation who again will be the main beneficiaries this year.

North Down Cycling Club’s co-ordinator, Tim Johnston, said it is hardly surprising that more and more people are taking up sporting activities such as cycling due to the Government’s recent push regarding the importance of a healthy lifestyle and such has been the growing popularity of this event that the organisers have had to limit the number of entrants to 1000, with many being turned away disappointed.  Entrants have not been confined to the North Down locality with scores coming from all over the island of Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales.

To mimimise the congestion on the roads, the event is held on a Sunday morning and it is hoped that motorists will be patient as the participating cyclists make their way around the Peninsula during the morning and early afternoon.  The group though large, passes quickly.  The cyclists will leave Bangor’s Sportsplex at 10am and proceed via the Old Belfast Road, Rathmore Road, Bryansburn Road, Grays Hill, Seacliff Road, Ballyholme Esplanade, Millisle, Ballywalter, Ballyhalbert, Portavogie, Cloughey, Ardminnan and Portaferry.  Returning via Shore Road, Abbacy Road, Deerpark Road, Rowreagh Road, Portaferry Road, Newtownards, Bangor Road, Rathgael Road, returning to Bangor Sportsplex from 1.30pm onwards.  The first cyclists should reach Portaferry around 11.30am however, most of those taking part will fit into the category of being simply “cyclists for one day” and they will take much longer to complete the journey.