It will be ‘rail’ good cycle fun!

BALLYMONEY Borough Council in association with partners Sustrans and Translink together with Ballymoney Cycling Club and Travelwise NI would like to invite you to come along and enjoy a FREE family fun cycle event to celebrate the opening of the new shared use railway bridge in Ballymoney.

The 232 metre walkway (PICTURED RIGHT) makes it one of the longest footbridges in Ireland!

The event will take place this Saturday, March 9th from 10am - 2pm at the Joey Dunlop Leisure Centre. Ballymoney Cycling Club will host a fun and games session between 10am and 11.30am and this will be followed by refreshments before an opportunity to join a group ride to the bridge for photographs and return to the leisure centre via the new shared use path network.

Noel McGregor of Outdoorlife, Ballymoney will be available to carry out some basic bike maintenance to help get your bike up and running for the summer season and there will be a display by Ballymoney Museum illustrating some of the highlights of the superb bridge construction and development. After the event the display will be available to view in Ballymoney Museum from Monday 11 to Saturday 16 March.

The event is a great opportunity for a free fun morning out. All you need to bring is you and your bike. Under 16’s must be accompanied by an adult and wear a helmet and bring some waterproofs in case of wet weather. There will be goodie bags available and several prizes up for grabs including an adult bike, a family day Translink travel pass and a top of the range cycle helmet. The event will conclude with refreshments following the group ride and the prize giving.

Councillor Tom McKeown, Co-chair of the Steering Group and Connect2 Champion urges everyone to come along and join in the fun.

Tom said: ”As a keen cyclist myself, it’s great fun to get out for a bike ride. Not only can you enjoy the fresh air, but there are many other benefits to active travel. It is quite often faster to travel by bike given levels of traffic, there are no parking charges or fuel and insurance costs and the health benefits far outweigh travelling by car. This event to celebrate the new shared use railway bridge is not only a community celebration but a chance to try out the walking and cycling path network on your doorstep.”

Patricia Wallace, National Cycle Instructor with Sustrans will be at the event to provide cycle training skills and advice. Patricia said: “Spring is just around the corner, get your bike out for a free check and have a free cycle lesson and short cycle ride with Sustrans, this is a great opportunity for residents in Ballymoney to use the cycle network and new cycling and walking railway bridge in Ballymoney - there is a great buzz cycling over a bridge - come and try it”

Sonya Crawford, Countryside Access Officer, Ballymoney Borough Council has been monitoring usage of the bridge since its recent launch in November 2012. Sonya said: “The number of people using the bridge has been very encouraging, averaging 2,500 people per week. Even better is the fact that, since the bridge development, the number of cyclists in Riverside Park has doubled since the same period in 2011.

“It’s fantastic that the bridge has had such a positive impact from its inception and it truly is something to celebrate. So come along to the morning of cycling fun and join in the celebration!”

For further information contact Sonya on 028 276 60227 or email sonya.crawford@ballymoney.gov.uk