WITH a choice of short, medium and long distance routes on offer, the first ever Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive bike ride attracted cyclists from all across the UK and Ireland.
Each route showcased the extraordinary beauty of the North Coast and Glens of Antrim not to mention some of Northern Ireland’s toughest hills and by all accounts both visiting cyclists and locals alike were pushed to their limits.
Speaking at the finish line, Sue and John Moore, who had travelled over from Nottingham to take part in this inaugural event, said “It was absolutely the best sportive we have ever entered. We have cycled in many beautiful places throughout the UK but never before have we cycled a route with such dramatic coastlines contrasted with peaceful countryside and stunning glens.
“We were chatting as we came back into Ballycastle and agreed that it was definitely a tough route but probably the best cycle we have ever done.”
Event organiser, Beverley Pierson, from the Countryside Access and Activities Network (CAAN) commented, “It has been fantastic to see so many people getting involved in the first year of this event. People have driven up from County Kerry and have taken overnight ferries from Birkenhead to take part and it is very heartening to hear them say that it has been worth every mile.”
Each of the three routes provided a challenge for every level of cyclist with the two longer routes offering a chance for participants to conquer the now infamous Torr Head Road which includes up to twenty percent gradient hills.
Beverley continued, “This sportive is certainly a challenging event. We wanted the route to really push cyclists whether they were attempting their first cycle on the 57km route or taking on the 182km Giant Killer option. Despite some tired legs, the feedback from everybody has been very positive and we are now looking forward to getting the wheels in motion for next year’s event.”
The Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive was an initiative of the Countryside Access and Activities Network (CAAN) in partnership with 26 Extreme and was funded by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) supported by Chain Reaction Cycles and Moyle District Council.
Visit the event website www.giantscausewaycoastsportive.com to view pictures and videos from this year’s event. There will also be information on how you can get involved and experience the Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive for yourself next year.