Back in the 1990’s, down tube gears, narrow saddles, and even narrower tyres were all the craz, people cycled everywhere with little more than a cap on their heads. It’s hard to believe that cycling helmets had only been introduced into the Professional peloton. All those years with huge pelotons, manic bunch sprints and not one of them wore a hard shell helmet.
The country was coming out of lean times and cycling wasn’t a popular sport, especially after a terrible 1998 tour. The tour started in Dublin and ended in a fiasco when drugs were found in a team car at a ferry port in Belgium. It has since transpired that drugs were ruining our sport! The Kelly / Roche era had been forgotten and a cycling club was been formed in the small South Mayo town of Ballinrobe.
Western Lakes Cycling Club was founded in the winter of 1998 but it was 1999 before we got affiliated to the National Governing body, now called Cycling Ireland.
Eight friends (John Halloran, John Holian (RIP), JJ Flaherty, Dessie Woods, Paul Maguire, Eamon Marrey, Noel Gibbons and Padraig Marrey) set up a club to cater for the cycling needs of South Mayo and the West Galway region.
The late John Holian was the club’s first chairman; he gave us the use of his car so it could be used as the club’s first team car.
Since its foundation in 1999, our membership has grown to over 160 members. We have always been known as a cluster club, we have pods of cyclist littered everywhere from Clifden/Renvyle to Shrule, Partry & Hollymount with Ballinrobe the hub.
You might ask why the name Western Lakes Cycling Club? Well it came from a number of reasons, first, most of us lived near a lake and with the whole area being associated with the “Lake District” (an organisation for promoting tourism and enterprise in South Mayo) and with the club based in the West it was just a case of combining the two.
Ballinrobe is beautifully situated in the middle of a cluster of lakes or Loughs called The Mask, Corrib and Carra, for any cyclist there is a great sense of achievement just to cycle around any of these beautiful loughs.
With the club barely formed and under the leadership of Eamon Marrey we set about putting Western Lakes CC and Ballinrobe on the map by first looking to host a stage of the infamous FBD RasTailteann and secondly securing that bid. Bringing over 500 riders, managers, helpers and supporters to the town for a night in May was some feat by the bunch of novices.
Main street Ballinrobe was going to be the finishing straight for a peloton of nearly 200 riders, local man Padraig Marrey was hoping to be the star of the show!! riding for the Hire Equip team from county Kildare but his ambitions were dashed a long way from home with a serious of mishaps… The stage winner was David McCann who went on to win with a solo effort. The following day was to Sligo, Padraig got the chance to redeem himself which you can watch here… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZWVFZwAaVU “see Ballinrobe stage end from 2 min 09 seconds on”.
This was now the standard, leisure spins, youth skills and a host of competitive events brought scantily clad lycra cyclist of all shapes and sizes to the area, ex footballers and rugby players got in on the act too.
Looking for something adventurous to aspire to, these new enthusiastic members were mad for road, an idea was floated… Why don’t we try and cycle the length of the country!!! The goal was set (680k Mizen head to Malin Head), and for the next 5 months elaborate training plans were hatched so that everyone would be fit enough to complete the challenge. Most of the spring of 2002 was spent getting men in rugby and football shorts converted to lycra. Getting them used to the saddle was a whole different ball game! The road was the new football pitch, miles were the new terminology, and the game had changed. There were no more balls, just bikes!
A few recce spins in June and July told their own stories, training plans were great but practice was another thing altogether. The crew were in poor shape…
Against all the odds, the poor accommodation, faulty speedometers, spluttery vans and cars, the strong headwinds and at times even hail stones. There was lashings of sudacream and a huge amount of sacrifice, the group of 16 made the 680k trip a huge success. The club collected a small fortune en-route putting all the coins into a large galvanised garbage bin that they couldn’t lift out .. it was OK as it all went to charity.
Seamus Maloney’s account of the 2002 M2M
“We set off for what I thought would have been one of the biggest cycling challenges I have ever undertaken; most people said we were mad, and I nearly agreed with them but a challenge was set and who were we to refuse it, especially when it was all in aid of a good cause.
It turned out to be the most rewarding 3 days spent with a group of 16 guys along with a big fund raising crew, the craic was 90 and just full of encouragement all the way to the finish by everyone involved. Myself and good mate Pat Grimes (both novice cyclists at the time) learnt that a ‘leisurely spin’ from Mizen to Malin is possible when the company is good. Don’t get me wrong we were challenged along the way, day 1 saw 175 miles clocked (we were told it was 175k), day 2 the head was feeling down but we covered 155 miles and on day 3 when the hail poured down on us in Donegal, I thought we might never see what Malin head looked like but we got there in the end. We had a great celebration I think …I was drunk after the first pint, I suppose the 436 miles took its toll.
With the opposite direction planned the following year it wasn’t too hard a job to convince us to do it again for the Blazzing saddles and NCBI charity. For anyone who does not know Padraic Marrey the consensus is ‘leisurely spin’ does not come into his vocabulary!”
This was the Celtic Tiger era for the club, in these years the club built up monster numbers in our youth ranks with weekly skills and road sessions; the club was getting a name for itself winning numerous national titles across an array of age groups.
In 2004 we brought a new kind of cycling event to Ballinrobe called Cycling superstars, this was a national championship. The name changed in 2005 to Talent Spot. The championship was like a decathlon for cycling, participants had to be good at cycling skills and maneuvering around an obstacle course, have exceptional explosive power which was tested with a short timed sprint. To top it off be good at controlling their bikes at speed on a slippery grass track loop.The winner who accumulated the most points from the three disciplines would make the podium.
The club still pursued more leisure cycle challenges, this time with a Malin to Mizen effort. Going this was way was supposed to be downhill…
More ideas were floated, this time why not go from the most Easterly to the most Westerly points so the Carnasore Point to Erris Head challenge was invented for another 3 day epic cycling adventure, guys talkng to cows, arses covered in white cream! that 3 days seen a lot of unthinkables or was in untalkables …
The racers were up and down the country winning prizes and representing the club in valour!
We were lucky to get our hands on an auld factory building on the Kilmaine road. With the help of the Ballinrobe scouts we secured a lease from Mayo County Council that we have to this day.
03 to 06 Martin Munroe and Willy Connolly were regulars on Irish teams both on the road and in the velodrome. Martin even got to race the European Youth Olympics in Paris in 2003; a great achievement for any cyclist.
Loads of youngsters cycled and raced their bikes locally, and the lifelong activity of cycling was becoming infectious.
In 2006 Padraig Marrey and Mary Mulchrone dipped their toes into Ultra cycling for the first time, when they both completed the Mizen head to Malin Head in under 22hrs (non-stop).
Later that year Padraig Marrey had caught the bug and went on a solo bid to break the record from Mizen Head to Fair Head (the two furthest apart points that can be cycled in Ireland) with an incredible time of 17:49hrs. That record still stands...
These were lean years for the club. Our youth program went quite for whatever reason? The country was coming into a recession and money was scarce.
In 2007 we built the BMX track at the Cycling Centre, we even got the great Sean Kelly to ride around it on his racer.
The aim was to have another stepping stone for our youth members. A discipline of cycling that looked exciting was BMX, and that fitted the bill nicely.
BMX was to be an Olympic sport in 2008 so we wanted to capitalise on it.
In 2008 the Professional Tour of Ireland was back on the cycling calendar. Eamon Marrey pulled another rabbit out of the hat and got one of the five stage starts for Ballinrobe. Considering the town didn’t have the accommodation or infrastructure to hold such an event, this was a master stroke.
A yellow jersey clad Mark Cavendish led the race for Team Columbia from Ballinrobe, looking through the results it’s amazing to see the stars that were in our home town that day.
See from 1:27hrs onwards https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4loyqklLLk
The Western Covey League kicked off in the summer of 2008, the idea was to tier riders by using a handicap system. The stronger riders were put back X amount of minutes with the aim of all riders finishing together. This didn’t happen often though; it was great training for everyone. Most were encouraged to try out the open racing scene for the first time.
This league nurtured some great talent for both clubs and helped build a great relationship with the Covies. The league is still going strong today, 12 years on.
Above the Western Lakes CC team and Mary Mulchrone at the last round in Swinford, Mary with the help of her team won the Connacht cycling league, she was and believe still is the only woman to win that league against male competition.
In 2009 we were back cycling the length of the country but with a specific Goal in mind, the challenge was to cycle from Mizen Head to Malin Head as fast as possible with a group. Western Lakes CC organised the challenge and had 7 of the 18 riders in our club colours, plus all the backup crew. It was completed in 18:53 which was some feat when you look back at it. It is still the record for a group today…
Looking back, this was the Ras Tailteann era. An Post sponsored the event for 8 years. Once they came on board the race’s profile increased significantly.
A stage end of the 2012 route was announced for Westport. That was the catalyst the racers in the club needed... The Goal was announced Western Lakes were going to put a team in the race. All types of favors were pulled, sponsors, cars, vans and accommodation were all summoned for the project. The aim was simple, get to the start line and be ready to duke it out with some of the brightest stars in the sport. Teams could only enter under the county from where the riders were from, so with the help of Centra as a main sponsor, Team Mayo Centra was born. For three golden years Western Lakes fielded the Mayo Centra Team, what a unique experience for all involved and a huge Thanks to Gary Higgins Centra for making this happen.
In 2012 Mark Cavendish was after winning the Green Jersey in the Giro d’Italia but Donal Harrington from the Mayo Centra ras team took the front cover of Cycling Weekly (a UK Magazine). He also got a 4 page spread on the inside of his journey in cycling.
The photos from that 2012 Ras are still doing the rounds such was the extent that people associated the Mayo Centra team as the real county team of the event!
In 2012 we built a great event with the Covies called Westportif. Using the tourist town of Westport and the know how and infrastructure from our experienced Western Lakes CC members, the event grew to be a thee go-to event for all leisure riders nationally.
Another great event was born in 2012 called The Ladies Sportif. The brainchild of Fergal O Neill, Andrea Heneghan and Marie Fraser the idea was that there were only ladies aloud to enter but there was a little twist, the men of the club had to do all the behind the scenes stuff, like sign on, marshal, look after breakdowns and man the food stops. The event was one of the first only lady events for cycling that now is a trend for the sport.
In the summer of 2012 the BMX track was revamped with a new starting gate and ramp. Over 200 tons of materials was shaped by Shane Gilligan in his digger along with the help of a few committed members. The new makeover completely re shaped the track making great use of an old container donated by Tim Kelly ltd this doubled up as a starting ramp and storage area. Flood lights were installed and now the track could be used during the dark winter months.
Martin Joyce got the leisure scene back on the road with another 3 day effort of Mizen to Malin.
Also in 2012 the Hollymount Wheelers group formed their own branch of the Western Lakes CC reuniting some of the older members with their original roots.
In 2014 for whatever reason the racing side of the club slowed. Most members of the club really got into the leisure scene especially Sportifs (Leisure events with numerous food stops…).
In an effort to get more members racing we started our own club league, based on the format of the Western/ Covey league. With members now multiplying in Clifden (Twelve Bens) and with the (Hollies) in Hollymount plus a scattering more from around the South Mayo area the league was a great success. The early years of the club league were full of hot air with a lot of bragging going on. At the conclusion of each event, there was allot of showing off...who had the best spread, as it was all about the grub on offer, which was just delightful. I’ll have to admit that the Robeen and Renvyle rounds were the most appetising with all sorts of goodies on offer pre and post race.
Sportif’s turned into the new races, members claimed they won this and that sportif’s without ever a result being published or recorded… That didn’t stop the likes of Westportif, The Ladies sportif, The Great lakes challenge, Tour of the Bens and the Hollymount sportif going from strength to strength with big numbers turning up to sample the beautiful routes in the West of Ireland.
On the racing front, Sean O Malley, Janis Blivous, Padraic Hughes, Barry Holian, Kieran Heneghan, Michael Gilvarry, Mark Kelly, JJ Flaherty and John Gill led from the front in their various categories.
Kilmovee native Jerry Towey nearly qualified for the Rio Olympic games after a number of podium places at para World Cup events at various destinations around the World. In the end it wasn’t to be, national selection processes dictated otherwise… saying all that, he still came along way from where he started as a leisure cyclist!
Martin Joyce again organised another epic 3 day challenge from Carnsore Point to Erris Head, 10 years after our maiden journey.
In 2017 we drew up plans to improve our cycling centre, it was in a bad state and with very limited facilities for training during the winter months the plan was to modernise the building with new showers, changing rooms and a plan to insulate the whole building.
The BMX track made a comeback and the kids got back into cycling with new coaches helping out.
In 2017 the Twelve Bens formed their branch of Western Lakes CC led by the infamous Johnny King; sorry no it’s JJ Flaherty…
Off road cycling was always a part of Western Lakes CC but it was more by a select few on the competitive front. Cong, Clonbur and Moorehall woods are now recognoised as good off road cycling areas, loads of members hit the trails be it in darkness or day light hours it didn’t matter, off road was the new craz.
The club ventured into the World of Audax… For 2 years the club created a 100k and 200k off road route around Lough Mask, this further created enthusiasm for trail riding with many members now into gravel and adventure riding.
The Mizen to Malin route is a huge attraction for members of Western Lakes CC, everyone who cycles around our area wants to say they have completed that route… It takes a big effort to get everything sorted and to get people to give up 5 days to help out, it’s such a big ask for volunteers.
In 2017 Mizen to Malin again was the big challenge when the Hollymount Wheelers put together a composite group.
In 2019 the Twelve Bens put together another challenge on the Mizen to Malin route, again over 3 days. It’s always a huge effort and achievement.
2020 our 21st year.
At the start of 2020 all sports were shut down and by March all races
and sportifs were cancelled. When restrictions lightened over the summer months youth cycling flourished and by September the youth coaches had a great idea. They came up with Bikefest Mayo, it was held at the splendid facilities of the Ballinrobe race course. Every discipline of the sport was covered and coached! There were areas set aside for Cyclo Cross, Track, Road, BMX, road safety, obstacles courses and we even built a mountain bike course. The event was huge success, it sold out. 120 kids participated from all over Connacht. Some outsiders said it was the best day out for youth cycling enthusiasts that they had ever seen. In the history of the club this event and day was definitely one of the better days for coaches, officials and volunteers who combined to pull off a great days fun pedalling.
The reward has been tremendous since, with up to 50 plus kids turning up weekly for youth cycling training.
Just before Christmas the club organisied a Christmas evening spin where all participants had to do their bikes up with Christmas lights. They paraded around the town in small pods with over 80 kids involved. This was another great milestone for the club.
Western Lakes Cycling Club at a glance.
We cater for all cyclists including;Leisure, Off-road, Track, BMX, Gravel, Recreational, Racing and we also nurture the young cyclists.Western Lakes Cycling Club is one of the most progressive cycling clubs in Ireland. It is held in high regard by other sports organisations in Mayo and Connacht. Western Lakes has a wealth of experience including youth coaches, reps for each discipline (Cyclo Cross, BMX MTB, Road and track). We have national grade cyclists and administrators at virtually all levels.
The blue ribboned event of Irish cycling is the RasTailteann, the club has had the privilege of entering four squads in the years 2003, 2012, 2013 and 2014 equipped with team car, support van and all the personal to go with it.
At Youth/Junior level our club has had significant successes – winning Gold, silver and bronze medals at National Track and Road Championships. At senior level the clubs boasts numerous national champions in various disciplines. At provincial level every year we always win at least one title and bring home a host of medals.
This is no mean feat for a club in South Mayo with no former tradition of cycling in the area.
One of the greatest honors for our club was seeing Martin Munroe and Willy Connolly wearing the Green jersey for Ireland at five different World Championships from 2004 to 2008 there is no greater honor with maybe the exception of the Olympics. Brendan Butler, Jerry Towey and Padraig Marrey also got to wear green for Ireland at various international prestigious events around the World.
1998 World Junior champion and Tour De France rider Mark Scanlon of Sligo has a long history with the club as he was coached by one of our own who is now the chairman of Western Lakes CC. Cong’s David O Loughlin who was an Olympian in the 2008 Beijing Olympics also has a strong connection with the club.
Over the years the club has organised all kinds of mad, innovative and competitive events to cater to its members. All of our events benefit charities of various natures and its estimated we have collected over €250,000 for them.
The founding members still help direct the ship from time to time and are still very valuable volunteers.
Looking back is 20/20 vision but leaving a legacy is priceless, over the years people come and go into the beautiful sport of cycling, some gravitate towards MTB/Off road, others do all things road but for the club they all come under the one umbrella of cycling.
Keep the pedals turning, keep your head up and clear, open up your spirit and let the wind take you there….
To these great volunteers the cycling community owes you a huge debt of gratitude:
Salute to Breege Connolly, Gerry Butler, Jimmy Durcan and Brendan Scullion.
EVENTS THE CLUB HAS ORGANISED
Ballinrobe 2/3 day
Bogman 2 Day in Tullycross
The Sean Stagg Shield in Hollymount
Tourmakeady festival race
Tour of Kilmore Belmullet
WLCC Ladies sportive
Westportif (in conjunction with Westport CC)
Tour de Bens sportive
The Great Western Lakes Challenge
365 Mile a day challenge
Mayo coastal challenge
Family spin Cornmarket to Castle
Mizen to Malin; 2002,2003, 2012, 2017 & 2019
Carnsore point to Erris head; 2004 & 2014
Mizen to Malin non stop in 18:53 in 2009
The club holds weekly safety and skills coaching session for young cyclists. Weekly Off road spins for Adults, Sunday morning group spins for all abilities, Weekly virtual spin classes during Covid-19 times and this is only a small measure of our commitment to promoting all types of safe cycling.
The club would like to thanks all its sponsors, supporters and volunteers who have put their shoulder to the wheel so that it continues to move forward.
Aims of Western Lakes Cycling Club:
· To encourage non-competitive cyclists to take up what is a healthy outdoor recreational activity.
· To encourage children to use what almost every child has, a bicycle, constructively – learn bike handling skills, rules of the road, and the pure enjoyment and the FUN of cycling
· To organise and facilitate Coaching Courses and upskilling for our members
· To bring major cycling events to our region
· To bring cycling to as many people as possible – we aim to have 200 active members. We are putting particular emphasis on women, and youth.
· To further enhance the club’s profile through a year-round programme of activities – training camps, Charity cycles, races, education and embracing social activity.
· To provide the necessary technical and physical back-up to our cyclists that will give them the very best chance of succeeding in this Sport.
Western Lakes CC have stepped into the world of Audax events for the 2nd year running where athletes test themselves over a route by completing it inside a time limit.
The Mayo Western Lakes Audax MTB, has 2 event distances 100k and super tough 200k held on Sunday 30th June 2019.
Both routes are steeped in history and geography, starting in the old garrison town of Ballinrobe, following the Monk's trail to Moorehall woods along the banks of Lough Carra and onto Ballintubber Abbey. Chance to refuel at Corleys bar, a trek through the boglands of Killawalla to the hidden and deserted villages of Srah, the watering hole at O Toole's bar (Foodstop), Tourmakeady waterfall and the old escape routes through to the Black valley of Glensaul. High up in the Partry mountains over looking Lough Mask, drinking water out of Glacier lakes and hidden waterfalls. To the Murderous Maam Trasna pass, the Irish quarter of Finney to the end off the leg of the Mask, over the hill of the CO-OP and descend out onto Lough Corrib via the longest land peninsula of Europe. Climb Heart attack hill and the old Sean Bothar from Cornamona, travel back in time in the Joyce country Geo park and through the majestic woodlands of Cong and Ashford castle, through lane ways and Turloughs over the hill of Cairn and along Ballinrobe Inishmaine Trail: Takes in a variety of archaeological and historical points of Interest including a Souterrain, Caves, a Ringfort, a Cornmill, an Abbey, a Sweathouse and a Hillfort, the final few kms are along the river Robe on the Bowers riverside walk.
Entry fee €6 for the 100k and €11 for the 200k
Audax Ireland Medal €7
ACP (Audax club parisien) €7
MTB, Gravel or cyclo cross bikes suitable (Make sure to bring plenty of spares if using a Gravel or cyclo cross bikes)
Potential food stops
Only one of the above have a deli that is Ballintubber stores, all the pubs do teas and sandwiches.
For now we want people to try out the different sections of the route, we have recce more or less it all now, starts off on by roads, with occasional off road section, from Section 2 on alot more fire track and bog sections, end of section 2 gets hilly, section 3 is savage, section 4 and 5 are tough, section 6 is all off road and section 7 is a ramble through the lanes....coming via the Bowers river side walk, the finish line is back at the Western Lakes cycling centre on the Kilmaine road.
What to get of the road and onto the beaten track for a few weeks ?
Both routes were designed and recce for the Audax event that the club is organizing on June 30th 2018
Audax don't allow short, they don't encourage racing, the only challenge participants to try and finish a set out route inside a certain time limit.
Each route is broken into sections, a normal club spin could do one or maybe 2 sections at a time, as each section is about 30k return, depending where you start from.
if you want to see the route clearly download the free version of ridewithgps onto your Garmin, phone or Wahoo device.
The 200k route starting at the Cycling Centre section one finishes once you complete the lap in Moorehall, Section 2 finishes at Ballintubber Abbey, section 3 finishes in Tourmakeady (hilly), Section 4 finishes in Finny (The hardest section) section 5 finishes in Cornamona, and section 6 finishes in Cong and Section 7 takes a looping way home to Ballinrobe taking in the sites.
When out on these routes ideally go with a buddy in case of mishap and bring the usual breakdown stuff and your phone.
Beautiful Weather bike fans
Leisure & MTB Reports
The mid-week spins will commence on Tuesday evening’s for Leisure groups, please check the Facebook page for times dates and routes. These are great spins to start cycling or to improve on the Bike. Please see poster for leisure Information Evening on Monday April 3rd at the cycling centre. Tuesday evening spins will commence on the 11th of April.
Congrats to Sinead Waters who took place in the Mountain Bike Battle on the Beach race in the UK at the weekend. She took the 1st lady home on a 2 lap 28km course. Well done to Sinead.
Also Kudus to all WLCC members who took part in the Westport Spring Duathlon on Saturday
The Ras Maigheo took place at the weekend in Westport, with a 3 stage race, John Gill and Janis Blinovs took part in the A2-A3 race. Well done to the lads and they finished well on each stage. There was an A4 race on Sunday and many WLCC lads took part in the race, some of which for the first time in a open road race. The lads did really well and finished in the bunch. It was great to see new young faces on the road racing scene. Noel, Connor, Tom & Mike starting their A4 racing careers.
Congrats to Patricia Harte who won the ladies race on Sunday, she is going from strength to strength.
Congratulation to John O Holleran who finished 2nd in the A4 race, life in those legs yet, showing the young lads how its done. This is a great achievement for sure. Thanks to all who helped out with club car and provided support to the racers.
The Mayo league is starting on Wednesday evening with a 16km time trial, it would be great to see WLCC riders take part in eth Mayo league this year. A 16km TT is achievable by most riders. Check Facebook for details of the races.
Please see details below for Round One (TT) of the Mayo League this Wednesday, March 29th.
Sign on: Amenity Park, Kiltimagh Road, Swinford (adjacent to Tesco)
Sign-on Times: 5.30pm to 6.15pm
(No entries will be taken after 6.15pm)
Please arrive early and remember as this is the first race, please ensure you are in possession of your Cycling Ireland Licence.
Changing and showering Facilities: Amenity Park
Race Time: First rider off at 6.30pm sharp
Route Distance: 16km
Route Details: Starts on the N5 approx 1km east of the Charlestown turn and adjacent to the new link road. The race will proceed east for approximately 7km and then veer left onto the Old Charlestown Road and head towards Carracastle. After approximately 1Km race will go left at Regans pub, travel under the N5 and then veer left again onto slip road and left again onto the N5. The race will finish approximately 500 meter west of the start on the opposite side of the road.
Refreshments and results in Cambell’s public house afterwards.
The Western/ Covey league starts on Wednesday the 5th of April, sign on in Partry & 18.45. Check Facebook and Website for further details of this league.
Hi all, it’s the start of the cycling season and the events are fast approaching, from “Sportif Charity spins” Club Races and Open Races and the MTB scene is also busy.
Leisure & MTB & Youths Report
The MTB Blitz was held in Derroura last Sunday, with a great crew from WLCC taking part and finishing up on the podiums aswell. Sinead Waters finished second in her event on Sunday and she also had a 3rd spot on the podium last weekend in Ballyhoura. It won’t be long until the top spot is achieved.
Congrats to Colin Snow who came 7th in the Grassroots endure series in Bike park.
The Tuesday evening MTB spins are ongoing and the Sunday spins, watch Facebook or Whatapp for details
The Sunday spins are ongoing also with the KM’s increasing. The Tuesday and Thursday evening spins will be starting shortly so keep an eye on Facebook for details. The club has put together club Rules and Etiquette for the safety of all members on the roads. Please take time to read this below.
Club Rules & Etiquette
Rules and Etiquette for Riding in Groups
Western Lakes Cycling Club wants riders to gain maximum enjoyment from their group rides whether highly energetic or social. All riders do so at their own risk, but experience shows that adherence to these rules and etiquette will create the safest possible environment in which we can all enjoy our cycling. The rules and advice incorporate long-standing practices and will be familiar to all experienced riders. Whilst they have been drawn up to help members who have never ridden in a group, we would like everyone to make a point of reading and following them. We have taken the opportunity to include items of general advice that may help new or relatively inexperienced cyclists.
Ahead of all the other suggestions below always remember the Rules of the Road, rules, regulations and laws of the road apply. You’re responsible for your safety so ensure your bike is road-worthy and you’re confident riding on the open roads. Helmets are compulsory
Safety and Risk Management
All riders take part in the group runs at their own risk. Those risks can never be totally eliminated but can be minimised by following this leaflet in the spirit as well as the letter. Senior club members will be happy to offer general advice and answer any questions
Warning Calls When Riding in a Group
These calls and signals are universal to all experienced cyclists – please use them at the appropriate times
- “Car UP ” . There is a vehicle coming UP through the group from Behind
- “Car DOWN ” . There is a vehicle approaching towards the Front of the group.
- “Single out” A call from riders at the back of the group when a vehicle is unable to pass the 2 abreast column safely. This call must be relayed forward by everyone to ensure that the move to single file is executed quickly and safely. The standard procedure is for the outside rider to drop back behind the inside rider. The call “single out” alerts everyone to the need to slow up and create spaces in the inside file.
- “Clear” and “Car” on Left/Right” This call lets following riders know at junctions, when the group is joining or crossing another road, whether or not the road is still clear. If the group cannot stay together the first ones across ride slowly until the others catch up.
- Re Calling Potholes/ Manhole covers Any pothole that could cause a rider to fall.
- Call” Hole Left or Right” If possible indicate where it is so that following riders can steer away from it and not into it. Please remember that the Front Riders are responsible for the first call
- “On the Left/Right” A general warning of some kind of hazard – usually parked cars or pedestrians. For hazards on the left, an alternative warning is to put your left hand behind your back, pointing to the right, away from the hazard. Give way to pedestrians – they can feel intimidated by cyclists just as we sometimes feel intimidated by motorists.
- “Stopping” “Slowing” “Easy” “Right Hand moving in an up and down action”. If you brake without letting those behind know your intention they can easily run into you
- “Puncture” Let the others know . 2 members of the group should stay behind to help. The Rest of the group will carry on for 2 Kilometers and turn back ..
- “Horse(s)” The group is about to pass horses and special care is needed. Pass as widely as possible. Make sure that both the horse and rider are aware of your presence and if you are approaching from behind call out. “keep pedalling slowly as you pass to keep noise from your freewheel and gears to a minimum” Pay attention to any request by the horse rider – they know the temperament of the horse and its likely reaction to a group of brightly clad cyclists.
- Let others know if you are unable to keep up, have a problem or have decided to leave the group. Always pass the instructions along; if a rider cannot keep up, the leader needs to know. So be aware of the riders around you
- If you wish to remove items of clothing you must go to the rear of the group. You may feel secure in removing your hands from the bars but please consider the safety of those around you
- You are asked not to answer your phone if it rings but if you feel you have to Please move out and back to the rear of the group
- Ride steadily. Keep a steady line and constant speed while in a group. Any sudden change is magnified as it reaches riders at the back and so can have dramatic consequences.
- No racing. You can race to your heart’s content in organised competitive events but please not on group runs. Do not overtake the rider/riders at the head of the group. If you have to, then do not push your way back into your original position but rejoin at the back of the group as soon as possible.
- Ride two abreast where it as safe to do so but always be prepared to single out when necessary. Ride immediately behind the rider in front – do not overlap either forwards or sideways. Overlapping forwards gives you no chance to avoid the rider in front if he swerves or falls, and overlapping sideways results in the group presenting a three abreast profile. Never ride more than two abreast.
- When approaching a hill anticipate the gradient and change gear in good time. Missing a gear change on the steep bit can bring you to a sudden halt – not a good thing for the riders behind you! Ride safely at all times. Follow the requirements of the Rules of the Road as they apply to cyclists and guidance from your leaders.
- Treat members of the group and other road users with courtesy. Acknowledge with a wave courteous behaviour by other road users. (Many oncoming motorists will slow down or stop when they meet a large group of cyclists, whilst others allow the whole group to join or cross a major road). Do not “wave through” a following vehicle that is waiting to overtake – let the driver make this decision. This will avoid the risk of being held responsible if the overtaking results in any form of accident.
- Do not react to bad driving incidents with gestures or provoke retaliation. Remember a road rage motorist has a one ton weapon!
- Ride with the group which best suits your ability. It is usually better (and less embarrassing) to start low and build up. If in doubt senior club members will be happy to advise. It is sometimes nice to try an easier group, especially if you are a bit off colour. It is considered bad manners to hold back a strong group when an easier group is available.
Helpful Hints for New Cyclists (and a useful reminder for the more experienced)
Potential New Members are welcome to join us for 2 spins but must take out club membership to continue
- If you do not currently take regular exercise and/or are in any doubt as to your health, please consult your doctor before starting. Some general fitness is necessary so you might find it useful to try a short ride on your own, to check your fitness and familiarity with the bike, before joining a group.
- Don’t try to push yourself too hard, particularly on the hills. Ride up at your own pace, nice low gears are better! The group will wait at the top. Carry personal details – name, address, contact phone number and some money. Carry drinks and food, even on short rides. The food can be some form of high energy bar to get you to the next café stop. If you have problems or decide to leave the group then please inform fellow group members.
- Wear cycle-specific clothing if possible as it provides a better level of comfort and practicality. It doesn’t have to be Lycra – there are now casual style tops and shorts designed for cyclists. A brightly coloured jacket or jersey makes you more visible to other road users. Carry a waterproof jacket, not only for the rain but also to give an extra layer if you have to stop with a puncture and cool down. A club jacket or jersey will help to publicise the club and also make you very visible.
- Carry enough tools to get you out of everyday problems like punctures or nuts or bolts working loose. It’s easier to change an inner tube than it is to repair a puncture at the roadside (especially if it’s cold or wet). Carry two spare inner tubes, tyre levers, a pump and spanners / allen keys to fit as the minimum. A puncture outfit will also be needed in case you get more than 2 punctures.
- Helmets are Compulsory. Mudguards and Front and Back lights are compulsory during winter riding. Mudguards prevent you getting wet and dirty and also reduce the amount that you deposit on the rider behind and Lights make you visible in dull overcast days
- Keep your bike in good condition and replace any worn out parts. The group will help if something goes wrong but will not be best pleased if the problem was caused by poor maintenance. Keep a close check on your tyres which should be fully inflated, especially the one on the back wheel as it’s always out of sight. Look for bulges or cuts as well as the actual tread depth and pattern. Remember that just as we tend to notice only the inconsiderate or bad drivers so other road users see poor behaviour by some cyclists. Make sure that you do not provide ammunition to the anti-cyclists lobby.
Tri-bars are not permitted on Club Runs for safety reasons.
The racing season has kicked off in last few weeks and Sean O Malley have recovered and took part in his first race of the season last week. He finished in 4th place in Clonard, which is a great result since Sean injury earlier on in the year. Also Patricia Harte who finished 3rd at Ras Naomh Finian 2017
Congrats to both.
The club racing scene is starting shortly with the Western/Covey League starting the club racing calendar on Wednesday April the 5th.
Please see below for details of the races.
Keep an eye on Facebook for the time and dates or the races.
These events are for people who would like to try racing in a safe friendly environment, there is no shame in getting dropped and trying these events is the main thing.
Cyclists must have a LC (Limited Competition) licence or open race CI licence.
The races will be “Handicapped” in groups of similar ability. These are friendly events with a little bit of local banter included to spice thing up. Please take time to read the rules below.
Rules of the League
1 Helmets are compulsory.
2 Rules of Cycling Ireland apply
3 Sign on for individual races will close 15 minutes before the start. Riders who fail to sign on will be refused race entry.
4 Every rider must wear their numbers (as they have indicated at sign-on), pinned to the lower back of their jersey at every race, and this must not be covered by a rain jacket or clothing..
5 Riders must wear their own club jersey or a plain jersey. Pro team jerseys are not permitted under Cycling Ireland rules.
6 No tri bars allowed in the Road Races.
7 Handicap committee decision is final, no debating on the start line.
8 Obey the Marshalls.
9 The league will be held on open roads and all competitors must obey the rules of the road. Riders found to be breaking these rules or riding in a dangerous manner will be subject to penalty, which may include disqualification from an individual race or from the entire series. Decisions made on this matter will be made by the organisers and are final. Riders must obey marshals instructions.
10 Earphones, Ipods, MP3 players etc. are strictly forbidden in all events. Riders found to be using these are subject to automatic disqualification.
11 Each host club is responsible for the organisation of their league round and must provide venue, safe and marked out route, map of route, sign on personal, lead cars, marshals, shower & changing facilities, refreshments and presentation venue.
Prizes Presented at Presentation Night
Overall Winner of the club leagues
Ladies Winner of the club leagues
Top 10 overall
Most Improved Rider
Most Aggressive Rider
Best Young Rider
WLCC Club Champs winner and top 3
TT League Winner and runners up
Western/Covey League 2017
|5 April||Laps of Srah|
|31 May||Lap of Maire Luke|
|5 July||Laps of Srah|
|All races to start at Partry Barracks|
Western Lakes Cycling Club League 2017
|17 May||Hollymount||Noel Stagg/Dave Connolly|
|24 May||Robeen||John Conroy|
|26 July||Tullycross||JJ flaherty|
|16 August||Kilmaine||Gerry Sheridan|
|23 August||Partry||Noel Gibbons/Philip Staunton|
|1 April||21km Hollymount|
|17 June||21km Hollymount|
|26 August||21km Hollymount|
WLCC Club Champs 2017
Saturday 2 September
Western lakes Cycling club sportifs
|20th may||Cross 100k/50k|
|25th June||Great Lakes Sportive|
|15th July||Ladies sportive|
Mayo Cycling League Dates 2017
|Day||Date||Format||Distance||Start Time & Venue|
|Wed||29-March||Time Trial||16k||6.30pm - Swinford|
|Wed||12-April||Handicap Road Race||40k||6.30pm - Ballina|
|Wed||26-April||Mass Start Road Race||50K||7.00pm - Ballinrobe|
|Wed||10-May||Handicap Road Race||55K||7.00pm - Ballaghdreen|
|Wed||07-June||Mass Start Road Race||55K||7.00pm - Cong|
|Wed||14-June||Mass Start Road Race||60K||7.00pm - Westport|
|Wed||21-June||Handicap Road Race||50K||7.00pm - Ballyhanuis|
|Wed||28-June||Hill Climb TT||7K||7.00pm - Castlebar|
|Wed||12-Jul||Team Time Trial||40K||7.00pm - Swinford|
|Wed||19-Jul||Mass Start Road Race||60k||7.00pm - Belmullet|
|Wed||02-Aug||Mayo Road Race Championships||70k||TBD - (mass start with prizes per category)|
Please see Facebook and the WLCC website for details of all these races. There are plenty of events for anyone trying out races this year.
Hi all , spring is in the air, dust down or wash down the bike and head out for "Spring Spin"
"Winter Miles = Summer Smiles"
Leisure cycling & MTB & Youths Reports
As the weather has turned for the worse, its hard to get the road season off to a start. The MTB side is flying at the moment. The first round of the Connaught MTB league was held in Moorehall last Sunday, with a great crew from WLCC taking part and finishing up on the podium as well.
The Expert Men race consisting of 5 laps was won by Colin Snow of Western Lakes
James English won the Junior Men, John Staunton came 4th in the Sport Men and Sinead Waters came second in the sports woman group and Eimear Flannery came first in the Novice Woman and Katriona McHugh came fourth and Robert Flannery came second in the U-10 Boys.
These are great results by WLCC members. It’s great to see the younger members getting in a few races. The next round of the MTB league is the Biking Blitz in Derroura on March 12th. It would be good to see lots of members take part in this event. MTB bikes can be hired near Derroura. Check Facebook for details of the results.
The now annual training camp to Cliften takes place on Saturday the 25th of February. There is about 21 riders leaving Ballinrobe on Saturday morning and cycling back to Cliften in the sunshine and no wind or rain. They will stay the night in the station house hotel where they will have some light salads and some training information. Recovery drinks such as “Hop House 13” or a Gin or two will be needed. Mayo match will be watched and early to bed after the nightclub.
The brave souls will cycle back to Ballinrobe with the breeze at their backs on Sunday at a ADV speed of 37km per hour. We will wait for the stories next week.
Anyone not doing the Cliften cycle, may like to take part in the Saddle Up For Eplisey on Saturday, check Facebook for details. This is a great and well run event for a great cause. Its the first Sportif of the year and has 3 routes for all abilities. You are quartered to put on weight at this event lol. https://www.facebook.com/saddleupforepilepsy/
The new club gear is ready to be collected and is available in Cummins hardware
As you may know by now the dispute with Cycling Ireland over the Ballinrobe 3 day continues on. WLCC has made the decision to pull all the open racers for the year as a result. This is a hard blow for the racers in the club, every effort will be made to resolve the issue. See club website for full report. There is an online petition to be signed, please see link below.
The racers of the club are training hard and all should be flying for the Ras Maigheo on the 25th & 26th of March 2017 in Westport.
Keep up the the training as “tomorrow will be bright” as they say
Western Lakes News December 2016 – Present date
The WLCC AGM was held in December 2016 and the most of the existing officers retained their positions in the club, a few roles had new name and there was a few new roles established.
ELECTION OF OFFICERS FOR 2017
Chairperson: Martin Joyce
Secretary: Michael Kelly
Treasurer: Vincent Cummins
Racers’ Rep: John Gill
Club Racers’ Rep: Noel Gibbons
Leisure Rep: Ken McCarty
Ladies Rep Karen Regan
BMX/Youth Reps: Gerry Butler
Off-Road Cycling Sinead Waters
PRO: David Connolly
Committee: Gerry Butler and Breege Connolly
As the winter season is here, it is a good time to take a break for a while or take up some off roads cycling, like Mountain biking or Cyclocross racing. A few members took part in the Cyclocross race in Clonbur on a bright, cold dry day. This was a great event and well attended by WLCC. Special thanks Sinead Waters who ran a great event.
The Sunday spins are continuing through-out the winter if the weather permits. There are two groups each Sunday the Leisure group and more advanced group. This is going well and is been well attended each Sunday. Many lads and ladies are trying other ways of keeping fit throughout the winter, many are attending spin classes, circuit training and Pilates.
Mountain biking is really taking off in 2017 and there are spins arranged for Tuesday nights and most Sundays, keep a eye on Facebook or Whatapp groups for spin details.
There is MTB hire in Derroura outside Mamm cross, great trail and good work-out
The New Year has come about and along with it the Ireland West Duathlon Series. We have now completed the 3rd event out of 5 and this has been going well with many WLCC and Hollymount wheelers taking part in these events. They are well run by P. Marrey of raceface.ie. The last event in Ballinrobe had about 400 participants. WLCC had a great attendance and had the best 5 person team/squad, this is great for WLCC on their home turf great for the cycle club, especially when up against specialist triathlon clubs. It woul dbe great to see lots of members attend the final two events in Cong and Westport, WLCC have a good chance to become 3rd team/squad overall.
Upcoming events include the trip to Cliften on the 25th of February, this will consist of cycling back from Ballinrobe to Clifton and a few refreshments and dinner that night in Cliften and try cycle back the next day. There are about 21 signed up for the event. Anyone who is not doing the Cliften cycle may like to do the “Saddle up for Epilepsy” on Saturday the 25th of February. This is a great event and a worthy cause, there are various distances so no problem to anyone to try. Please see link to website http://www.saddleupforepilepsy.com/
The WLCC racing scene has been put in to disarray by CI not permitting WLCC to hold the Ballinrobe 3 day on the May bank holiday weekend as agreed on the CI calendar.
WLCC has made a decision to pull the 3 day and all other open races in protest for 2017. The full report was issued to every member via email.
"Keep her pedaling"
The Leisure evening spins have started on Thursday, there was 4 members out and they did a 30km Spin. The spins will be every Thursday evening at 19.00 at Cornmarket. Please check the website for the Calendars of dates, routes etc.
With the hour changing it will be good to start the evening cycling.
The Mayo League started on Wednesday, with a 16KM ITT (Individual Time Trial ). Sean O Malley of WLCC was the first man home with a great run. Check out the Mayo League Facebook page for the results. This was a great result considering Sean was laid up with a knee injury for a few weeks. The rest did him good. Check out the calendar for a list of the races and maybe more lads/Ladies would like to try out for the races. All you need is the LC (Limited Competition) licence and away you go.
Congrats to Cathal Usher who completed the Ras Muham last weekend, check the Sticky Bottle for all the stage results and reports.
The Tour of Flanders is on this weekend which is a great one day race to watch the attacks on the Koppaberg. This will be live on Eurosport.
Congrats to Eamonn Marrey who had the official opening of his shop last weekend. Good turnout by WLCC members, it was good to see Stephan Roach attending.
Hi all, I asked Patricia Harte to send a report of her experience of the open road racing events she has entered so far. She sent a great report and her insight in to the open race scene. Have a read below. Trisha has improved each week and finished in 2nd lady home over the weekend in the Seven Springs GP in Loughrea, bare in mind there was no specific ladies race and she had to race in the A4 bunch. Congrats from all in WLCC get it going
"My introduction to open racing began in Dundalk in February with the Traders Cup... My nerves kicked in about 2 weeks prior! As I drove to sign on, warmed up and got to the start line thoughts of 'why am I putting myself through this?' And 'will I get dropped in the first few hundred metres because I can't clip in quickly enough?' ran through my mind! Thankfully, it was a ladies only race with approx 15 starters including some newbies like myself. The course was a flat 40km and with a headwind starting out the pace was steady... Until a few kms later when everyone went 'mad'!! I thought the Supervalu bull had made it's way over from Ballinrobe Mart and was chasing us.. But no.. Someone had attacked and we were all chasing her. And so it began.. I had been forewarned that the ladies races were 'up and down'. I quickly learned what that meant! That day I finished in the second bunch with a few other girls.. Delighted with myself!
The following weekends racing was to take me to NAvan. The ladies race was over 70km. Again approx 15 starters. This time the nerves only kicked in 2-3 days before the event.. Clipping in wasn't a worry.. I had bigger fears.. Like the climb stuck in the middle of the 2 lap circuit! Sure enough, there was a KOH at the top, which initiated an attack at the base, which resulted in me slowly loosing contact with the majority of the field. I did the remainder of the lap on my own and thankfully found 2 other girls for the last lap. Again, I was delighted to finish and finish with people!
My 3rd race was in Clonard. I was warned this would be a fast start as it was a 44km flat course. The field was bigger with 30 ladies signed on. Straight away there was an attack. Not really having a clue what to do I went with them. We were brought back a few minutes later by the main bunch. After that, I had a little chat with myself and decided as a clueless beginner I was better to stay in the bunch and see how I got on. At some point, the eventual winner Michelle O'Halloran (Lakeside Wheelers) made a solo break and stayed away. I joined the sprint at the end and got 4th! I felt like I had won the Tour de France!
Thankfully the following weekend I got a rest from the travelling and the physical and mental stress of the racing. I needed it.
My next race was 7 Springs GP. It was my first A4 race ( 3 Laps of a slightly technical slightly draggy course). Our bunch was big, over 70 riders and by far the biggest bunch I had ever been in. It was a great buzz though tense at times with some braking and shouting. After staying with the bunch for one lap, then 2 laps, I was feeling good and started to feel confident I could finish with them. Then, out of the corner of my eye, a bike and a man flew up into the air. Clanging sounds from behind became audible. Ploughing on to catch the bunch I wondered what carnage was behind me. The rest of the race was thankfully uneventful. A puncture in front of me a few hundred metres from the line meant I lost a bit of contact with the bunch and rolled in just behind them. Again, delighted to finish in one piece, 2nd lady, and have averaged just over 37km/hr over the 51km.
I hesitated in writing this report when asked by Dave Connolly. I didn't know whether racing would be for me or whether I'd enjoy it. I think I may have caught the bug! Thank you to everyone who encouraged me and helped prepare me for racing ( ye know who ye are). Thanks also to my friend Ger Powderly (Tuam CC) for brainwashing me to the start line! ... It's all your fault!! ( meant in the nicest way possible!)"
Good report Triaha, keep it going.
Hi Cycling fanatics
The evenings are bright and the weather is improving, its time to get the bike out and start cycling for your goals of a long Sportive, a Club Race or Mayo League Race.
There was a TT event on St Patrick's Day in Hollymount which had about 21 taking part. The event was won by John Gill of Hollymount and a valiant effort by John Conroy to come in second pace at 11 seconds down and Janis finishing in 3rd place.
There was a good selection of riders out last Sunday for the WLCC leisure spin,6 took part in the second group who did a lap of Lough Carra which 43km. The time is changing this weekend and the evening spins will start soon. Facebook page for time routes etc.
After the heroics of Ras Maigh Eo the last weekend, the racers had a quite weekend, apart from Patricia Harte who took part in the seven Springs GP in Loughrea with a excellent result of 2nd Lady home while also taking part in the A4 race. More to follow on this.
This week is the Ras Mumhan but Sean O Malley is injured and is not taken part this weekend. Cathal Usher is racing so best of luck to him.
The Mayo League times and dates are on the WLCC site.First event been a 16K time trial in Swinford. A great way to ease in to the league and take away any nerves.
Special mention to Eamonn Marrey who is having his offoial opening of Marrey Bikes on Good Friday 25th March with special Quest Stephan Roche.
Dan Martin is also going well in the Volta a Catalunga in Spain with a stage win and race leader.
See you all on the roads soon
Hi all Cycle fans
Please see the Leisure groups training schedule from the end of March to the end of June 2016. The mid week spins will start shortly when the time changes. These are links to the pages so click on the link and see the page.
Times and dates are set and there will be reminders posted on WLCC Facebook page, so keep an eye out for the posts.