PICK any weekend and the chances are that the most common sight on the roads are .... cyclists.
Whether they are in groups, individuals or as families out for enjoyment and exercise, there’s no doubting the tremendous upsurge in the sport in recent months.
In addition to the long-established clubs such as Ballymoney, Bann Wheelers, Scott Roof Tiles, etc., new clubs have recently been established in Ballycastle, Loughgiel and Dunloy.
One of the most successful is Dunloy where more than forty members have now become affiliated including two Slovakian residents of the village which has delighted club organisers.
It all began last year when a modest cycle ride formed part of a village fun day.
Paul O’Kane, vice-chair of the club, explained: “We had a great deal of interest after that and it just snowballed. Right now we have forty plus members and it’s growing all the time.”
There’s no doubting the enthusiasm amongst members and last Sunday three groups - advanced, middle class and beginners cycled 50, 42 and 28 miles respectively taking in local towns and rural routes.
The club use the new facilities at the Sports Academy courtesy of Dunloy GAC as their base and are delighted at how things have progressed.
The club are very grateful to Dunloy GAC for the use of the premises.
Wearing smart new tops, Dunloy have got the backing of local businesses including Dixon Contractors, S. G. Molloy Building Contractor, Home Pave, (Tommy McGuigan) Dunloy, Kilrea and Rasharkin Credit Union and Leo McKee Solicitors and have even gone as far as getting their own logo emblazoned on their tops courtesy of young Darol O’Kane, a graphic student at Magee College.
One of the features of the club is the willingness of officials to embrace all ages and abilities.
“We are a club open to everyone and they’ll get plenty of enjoyment. No one will be put under any pressure. It’s a fun thing for most and if the advanced team like to ‘put the pedal down’ that’s fine,” Paul told the Times.
A number of female members make up the team and one of them, Claire Doherty, says it’s a great way to spend a Sunday morning out in the fresh air with friends.