Fun Tours off to an excellent start.

06 September 2015
Last Saturday heralded the start of this year’s autumn and Winter 13 week series of the Ballymena Road Club – Chain Reaction Cycles - "Fun Tours”

Saturday saw 69 riders assemble at Rex Bonar House. This was just seven short of the best ever turnout but the most encouraging aspect was that there were 19 non Ballymena Road Club members who were either visiting from other clubs or who were non club members and availed of the Cycling Ireland "one day membership” facility.

The, 36 miles, fun tour route took in Slaght, Kellswater, Oldwood road, Lenagh Road and then Barnish road Cookstown junction, Milltown, Maghereagh road, Ballylurgan and Magheralane road into Randalstown.

Next it was up the Church road and right on to Tannaghmore road and on to Groggan road to Taylorstown and the Grange.

The final miles took in Loughbeg road Carnearney road and into Ahoghill before returning to Ballymena via Gracehill and Galgorm.

John Maxwell took the 13 rider "B” group, who rode to Garvagh via Cullybackey, Rasharkin and Kilrea. Then it was on through Swatragh to Maghera and home by Gulladuff, Clady and Portglenone. 

This was a total of 50 miles at 18.5 mph average speed. 

The "A” group completed a 62 miles ride at an average of 20mph.Their route took in Dunminning, Glarryford, Dunloy, Ballymoney, Balnamore, Loughan, Mountsandel, Coleraine, Macosquin, Ringsend, Garvagh, Kilrea, Clady, Portglenone and then up Finlaystown road to Tully and back in through Ahoghill. 

There is a minimum "entry fee” donation of £5 and this year’s charity fund will benefit the Chernobyl Children’s appeal NI and already the total stands at £395. 

The Road Club hopes to receive support from the new Mid and East Antrim Council whom they hope will host a presentation at the end of the series.

The fun tour participants will be divided into at least three groups with the more experienced riders scheduled to cover about 55 miles on their tour.

Club members will welcome newcomers to the touring section’s group where the average speed will be kept to around 15mph.

This speed isn’t exactly slow for novices so anyone who turns up needs to have been doing some training in preparation for the event. The minimum age of the participants is set at 13 years and all those under 16 must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or other nominated adult.
Experienced club members are asked to make themselves available as "travelling marshalls”. 
Certificates and medals will be awarded to the successful participants with five tours earning bronze, eight for silver while eleven wins gold. 

Tips for Beginners

1. Basic Requirements
a) A roadworthy bicycle in good running order - 
A bike that is fully functional and well lubricated with efficient brakes and gears and with all bolt-on items well tightened. Tyres and tubes should be sound and well inflated (under-inflated tyres do not roll easily and invite punctures and rim damage). Wheels should be tightly spoked and true with all bearings lubricated. Mud-guards should be fitted in the winter season (or whenever necessary). 
b) Adequate clothing for the conditions - 
Comfortable and protective clothing ranging from summer wear of light top/vest and comfortable shorts to winter wear of warm leggings, thermal under/outerwear, hat, gloves and overshoes. Comfortable and stiff-soled shoes which properly fit pedals are essential. A helmet is a requirement on the fun tours and advisable on all other club runs. In races, and for juvenile/junior club members, a helmet is mandatory. Rainwear - a waterproof jacket should be carried. 
c) Some basic items of spare equipment etc. - 
A good pump, tyre levers, at least one spare tube, a repair kit and some basic tools (e.g. allen keys, multi-tool).  These items can be carried strapped behind the saddle, wrapped in your waterproof bag or in a small bag. Some form of identification should be carried, with a contact telephone number for emergencies, ALSO a statement of any special medical condition, treatment, allergies or medication being taken. 

2. Food/Drink
Never set out on an empty stomach - hunger weakness ("knock") is easier to prevent than cure. A bottle of water or juice is worth carrying, also a "reserve" energy bar/ gel. Money should be carried for the purchase of food/drink or to telephone home in the event of an emergency. 

3. Riding Conduct
For beginners, but if the cap fits... 
a) Do not brake unexpectedly when other riders are behind you.
b) Do not free-wheel when riding uphill, changing gear or when leading the bunch; do not "kick-back" into the following rider when rising from the saddle on a hill.
c) Do not "half-wheel" your partner when leading - it is bad manners.
d) Do warn your companions of potholes, glass, vehicles and other road hazards.
e) Do shout to let club leaders know if you puncture or have other trouble, or if you see another rider in trouble.
f) Do ride safely, steadily and considerately; do not overlap the bike in front and do not switch about.
g) Do choose the right gear, change quickly and smoothly - one gear at a time. Normally you will use moderate gears in the small chain ring on club runs.