Fun Tour Three

21 September 2014
Saturday’s Ballymena Road Club – Chain Reaction Cycles - fun tours saw a turnout of 73 cyclists assemble at Rex Bonar House. The warm and dry conditions no doubt contributed to the big numbers and it does the charity fund the world of good too with another £90 donated on Saturday to make the overall total £795. 
The "A” group completed a 60 miles ride at 18.8 mph. their route took in Dunloy, Ballymoney, Balnamore, Loughan, Coleraine, Macosquin, Ringsend, Garvagh and Kilrea before the climb up past the moss and into Cullybackey.
Club Chairman John Maxwell took a "B” group on a 52 miles ride to Kilrea, Garvagh, Glenullin and then the 20% climb up Matty’s brae before heading on to Maghera and home. This route took in some of the roads which will be used for this weekend’s Carn Wheelers sportive.
The 33 tourists had, what could only be described as "a leafy lane tour” which took in Larne road, Doctors road, Kennelbridge, Lisnahilt, and Douglas road before descending to the main Larne road at Glenwherry.
The group then visited Killalane reservoir before another fast descent of Ardymagh road to Ballynashee road. Then it was along Carnlea road north to Whappstown road, Lislunnan road, Steeple road and Kells, returning to base in the Liminary road for total of 35 miles at 14mph.
The tours continue each Saturday for another ten weeks. Newcomers are very welcome to take part but they, and all non Cycling Ireland members are requested to go with the touring group.
Once again the tours will receive support from Ballymena Borough Council, who will host a presentation at the end of the series.
The normal well tried and tested format will continue for this year’s series.
The participants will be divided into 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.
Certificates and medals will be awarded to the successful participants with five tours earning bronze, eight for silver while eleven wins gold. 
Participants are advised that crash helmets must be worn. They are also advised to dress appropriately for the weather conditions and to bring a rain jacket, spare tube, food and money. It goes without saying that bikes must be fully road worthy. There is a minimum one off entry fee of £5 to cover the fun tour series with the donations going to the Chernobyl children’s appeal NI.
Last year’s series attracted a total participation of 725 over the 13 weeks (average 56 per week) during which 125 different cyclists completed at least one tour.
There were 17 gold medallists who completed at least 11 tours: 27 silver medallists, who had at least 8 tours and 27 bronze for 5 tours.

There was also a record collection last year for the Chernobyl Children’s appeal NI, the chosen charity of the fun tour series with a total of £1050 being collected.