Sep 26

There’s more to Old Bleach than…

There's more to Old Bleach than cycling...As you’ll have noticed (it may well be what brought you here) we’ve been posting a series of There’s more to Old Bleach than… images and associated blethers on our various social media pages.

There’s nothing dual-layered or pretentious about this; it’s 100% true – there is more to Old Bleach than all the facets we’ve listed. Old Bleach encompasses all these aspects and a considerable amount more.

We’re not alone in this. The vast majority of cycle clubs offer people all those fun aspects and a lot more. All we’re trying to do is point out the enjoyable parts of being in a cycle club and how even those don’t total up to the sum of what a club has to offer.

Here is an tedious informative breakdown of each There’s more to Old Bleach than… blether for your reading pleasure.

There’s more to Old Bleach than cycling…

Sure, cycling is at the core of each and every cycle club. The clue’s there in the first word. However it’s not the be all and end all. We’re not automatons, glued to our bicycles and unable to do or talk about anything else.

Yes, of course there is a strong focus on cycling but being in a cycle club is about more than that. In fact, here’s one of those ‘things’ now…

There’s more to Old Bleach than cycling and coffee…

Coffee and cycling seem to be a match made in heaven – like cobblers and key cutters.

People who love cycling also seem to love drinking coffee. There’s that whole claim of ‘caffeine keeps the heart rate down’ but that’s nothing but hot air. Truth be told we all like sitting nattering over a hot drink. It’s sociable and we’re greedy sorts. Otherwise why burn all those calories in the first place?

There’s more to Old Bleach than cycling, coffee and competition…

Some people want to cycle purely for the social element; getting out with others in the open air and having fun doing so.

For others it’s a different kettle of fish. Their thrills come from competing (at various levels) against others. It can be in the local 10 mile Time Trial or in the National Road Race. Whatever it is, Old Bleach supports all its riders in the style of cycling which makes them happiest.

We’re all equal in Old Bleach and none is more equal than another despite what George Orwell may have had to say on the subject.

NB: We don’t think George Orwell was really writing about Old Bleach. That would be an incredible case of self-important delusion on our part.

There’s more to Old Bleach than cycling, coffee, competition and cake…

Some may regard this as our most contentious claim. After all who doesn’t love cake? Lots of Old Bleach members certainly do.

We help support the local economy by feeding our addiction to cake and traybakes. The more conscientious of us even scout ahead to tea rooms and coffee shops to try out cakes prior to club runs. We’re extremely dedicated to this cause and feel very passionately about it.

Cafe owners must rub their hands with glee when they see us pull up at their establishments.

There’s more to Old Bleach than cycling, coffee, competition, cake and clubmates…

This claim is probably the closest we come to stretching the truth. After all, it’s the members which make the club and, at the risk of sounding pompous, we’re pretty good on that front.

So far we’ve no fisticuffs to report and everybody looks out for one another. We really are a club rather than some individuals who happen to be out on their bikes at the same time.

That’s not to say we’re like some sort of brainwashing cult. Sheesh no! Well, there was that one guy but we don’t talk about him and they never did find all the electrodes…

Cycling is sometimes referred to as an activity for ‘sociable loners’. To us that seems pretty spot on.

Sometimes one feels like chatting away constantly and other times, for whatever reason, it’s simply not the case. That’s fine. Come out either way. Nobody expects you to be the life and soul of the party every time you’re out. Even if you’re only there because you want to wheelsuck and not have to sit in the wind all day by yourself, we’ll still be pleased to see you.

There’s more to Old Bleach than cycling, coffee, competition, cake, clubmates and camaraderie…

From being in a club with some of our clubmates (see previous paragraphs for details) it turns out a few of them find one another mildly tolerable. In fact we’d go as far as to say they proactively get along and have made friends.

Clubs are a great way to get chatting to people with similar interests. Funny thing is it turns out such friendships extend to more than a mere enjoyment of cycling. While that may have been the basis for initial conversation most of us are well enough rounded to have other interests, thoughts and feelings about life, the world etc. etc. etc.

Sometimes we even have reasonably mature adult conversations but we try to keep these to a minimum and stick to the lowest common denominator.

There’s more to Old Bleach than cycling, coffee, competition, cake, clubmates, camaraderie and camp…

We like cycling. We also like it being warmer than County Antrim generally offers. Thankfully we can put cycling and heat together by going away to cycle camps abroad.

As mentioned earlier, some of us don’t hate the sight of one another so plan attending the same cycle camp at the same time. For some it’s ‘training’ and for others it’s ‘eating cake in a warm country’. Whatever the individual’s desire, it’s all good with us and will make for an enjoyable experience.


With all of that in mind, why not give cycling with a club a go? It’s good for the body. It’s good for the mind.

Obviously we have a bias and would like people to come out with Old Bleach but we’re realistic and not everyone lives within an area which makes that practical. Don’t let that put you off. Have a search online to see which is your local club and give them a try. What do you have to lose?

There’s always the possibility you won’t have fun but maybe it’ll be the start of years of enjoyment. If ‘club one’ doesn’t work out maybe ‘club two’ will etc. etc. Don’t let one bad experience deter you from the potential of years of enhanced cycling pleasure.

You can see a map of Irish clubs here if you’re interested.

Don’t be backward in coming forward. Have you got some questions/concerns you’d like to voice before going out with a club? No worries. Get in touch and let your voice be heard. Plenty of us went out on our first club runs with some trepidation; it’s only natural.

Any club worth its salt will be delighted to hear from you and only too happy to do what they can to help out.

Clubs exist to facilitate their members – to make their cycling more pleasant. Why not avail of this service?

Sep 08

Evening club runs cease for 2016

The nights are fairly drawing in etc. etc.Thanks to everyone who came along, showed interest, ‘Run Skipped‘ and generally helped support our Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evening club runs in 2016.

Unfortunately, due to the relative position of our part of Earth to the Sun, it’s now darker earlier at night than it was a wee while ago. As yet we have no means of changing this although we will be putting together an online petition to remain bright until 9pm all year round, make our average daytime temperature in around 22°C and only allow it to rain at night. Wish us luck with that!

Given the black cloud of darkness hanging over us, which we already covered in tedious detail above, we have been forced to put the kibosh on our evening club runs until spring/summer 2017.

Thanks once again to everyone who helped out. We will look forward to seeing you all next year and hope to greet plenty of new gents and ladies then too.

In the meantime, please remember our Saturday and Sunday cycles run throughout the year. We’d love to see plenty of faces (old and new) there.

Jun 16

Antrim Festival crit – results and more

Chris McGlinchey (Chain Reaction Cycles) pips last year's winner, Angus Fyffe (Omagh Wheelers), to the line in the 'Elite' raceWith apologies for taking a few days to get off our fat bottoms (thanks to The Auction Room for plying us with delicious buns) here is a brief rundown of what went on in Antrim town on Tuesday night. 

If you’re reading through and find anything you either wish to know more about or which needs correct (eg. the spelling of someone’s name) please contact us and we shall remedy the problem ASAP. Our apologies if there are any such errors.

Please read on…

youth race

The first race up was the U16 boys Youth race. It finished up as follows…

1st – Adam Ward – Omagh Wheelers
2nd – Shay Donley – Ballymoney CC
3rd – Jack Murdock – Apollo CT

a4 race

The ‘filling’ in the ‘sandwich’ was a well contested and exciting A4 race. It went like this…

1st – Luke McMullan – Ballymena Road Club
2nd – Neil  Bolger – Unattached
3rd – Gavin Moore – North Down CC

‘elite’ race

The crescendo to the night’s entertainment was a high quality ‘Elite‘ race, which resulted in…

1st – Chris McGlinchey – Chain Reaction Cycles
2nd – Angus Fyffe – Omagh Wheelers
3rd – Gary Donaldson – Omagh Wheelers
4th – Aaron Swan – Ballymoney CC
5th – Shaun Byrne – Bann Valley
6th – Jason Henry – Unattached


Thanks firstly to everyone who turned up – both to compete and watch. We hope you all enjoyed yourselves.

Our appreciation goes also to the two stalls – The Auction Room and Victory Chimp – for coming along and treating us to their wares. Both are excellent companies.

We strongly recommend you stop in at The Auction Room for a coffee if you’re in or near Maghera. They even have a ‘velo hub’ with spare tubes, a pump, gels and some Victory Chimp artwork and t-shirts. Everything any discerning cyclist or cycle fan could ask for as well as great coffee and tempting treats.

Chain Reaction Cycles more than merits our thanks once again for supporting our event for the second year running. We greatly appreciate your help in promoting cycling at all levels.

Last and by all means most, we have to express our deepest gratitude to the kind men and women who make up Antrim Fesitval Group. They selflessly put themselves out once again to make our crit possible. Without them we couldn’t possibly stage it. It’s really their event – we just piggyback on and take credit.

We hope you all had a good night and maybe we’ll do it again sometime.

In the meantime, please have a look at our Flickr (yep, we’re still using Flickr) account here. We will be adding more and more photos as time goes on so please keep checking it.

May 16

Antrim Festival crit

Angus Fyffe raises his arms in victory - winning the 2015 Antrim Festival critOld Bleach is delighted and excited to help our friends at Antrim Festival in bringing the Antrim Festival Crit to Antrim town centre, on Tuesday the 14th of June, for the second year ‘running’; or perhaps that should be ‘cycling’? 

basic info

The event itself will be taking place Tuesday the 14th of June in and around the centre of Antrim town.

The circuit for the race starts on High Street before turning onto Railway Street, followed by another left onto Castle Way, down to the A6/Antrim Road and in the bus lane back to High Street.


You can see a map of the circuit here.


6-30pm – Sign on opens
7-00pm – Youth boys/Junior girls race
7-30pm – A4 race
8-15pm – ‘Elite’ (A1 to A3) race
9-00pm – Podiums

It promises to be an unforgettable night of entertainment for all those who come along. What’s more, it costs literally nothing to watch!


Pre-entry for events was run through and closed on Monday the 13th of June.

Those who have not pre-entered can enter on the night. It costs £10 per person for the ‘Elite’ and A4 races and £5 per person for the Youth race. Please bring exact change.

sign on

The sign on area will be located in Market Square – at the back of The Old Courthouse – opening at 6-30pm and closing at 7-30pm.


We request those in attendance keep children, dogs (in our experience dogs aren’t particularly interested in cycle racing anyway) and themselves off the circuit while the races are taking place, especially if taking photos.

Cycling makes for a great spectacle where one can get closer to the action than many activities can offer. Please make sure ‘close’ does not become ‘too close’.

traffic disruption

For obvious reasons all motorists are advised to park outside the crit circuit confines on the evening of Tuesday the 16th of June. Those wishing to watch or take part can park in one of the free car parks at Castle Street, Lough Road or Bridge Street.

There will also be a few ‘quick stop’ spaces available at Ulster Bar Corner for those taking advantage of the local businesses.


A couple of our chums from Maghera are making their way to our crit.

The Auction Room will be there to ply you with coffee and buns (which we can heartily endorse from plenty of personal experience) and Victory Chimp shall provide a selection of cycling related art.

local businesses

All local businesses are operating as normal. The crit is put on to promote Antrim so please come along and help support the businesses in the town centre as well as our visiting stallholders.

Short stop parking will be made available at Ulster Bar Corner for those wishing to visit retailers.


Thanks must go to our friends in Antrim Festival without whom hosting this race would not be possible.

We better not forget the kindness of Chain Reaction Cycles either, who have again helped us out immensely.

further details

For further details please look here, our calendar, on our Facebook and Twitter pages and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions whatsoever.

Apr 07

Evening club runs start up again

Old Bleach, RandalstownWonderful news – it has reached that time of year when we have enough light to start up our evening club runs again.

These will be taking place on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings. Here is a little synopsis of each…

tuesday evenings

Following a popular start in 2015, Tuesday’s evening club runs return for their second year.

Unlike almost every other club run Old Bleach hosts, the Tuesday club runs leave from Antrim. To be specific they depart from St. Comgall’s Primary School car park at 6-30pm on Tuesday evenings.

Like the Wednesday Sevens, Tuesday’s club runs are suitable for all attendees –  from the beginner to the experienced cyclist. You don’t even need to be on a road specific bicycle to take part.

wednesday sevens

The Wednesday Sevens, or W7s, have proven to be one of Old Bleach’s most successful club runs.

They have been a great introduction to cycling for some of our club members and an excuse to get a few extra sociable miles in for others.

As the name suggests, the W7s meet on Wednesdays at 7pm. This takes place outside The Old Forge, Randalstown.

On a W7s club run nobody will find s/he struggles. It is formatted to suit all cyclists in attendance and very much all-inclusive. Road bikes are not a necessity on Wednesdays – hybrids, mountain bikes etc. are very welcome too.

thursday training

Thursday’s club runs are specifically for those people training for the likes of Road Races and Time Trials.

They are not group cycles. Thursdays will be structured in a manner unlike any of our other club runs, geared 100% toward improving the cyclist’s ability to compete.

Each week may consist of different training eg. one week may be purely repeated laps of a hill climb and the next may comprise of an unofficial time trial for club members. This will be decided by those partaking in training/racing.

Training runs meet outside The Old Forge, Randalstown at 6-30pm on Thursday evenings.

further info

We hope to see plenty of you in the evening from here on in.

NB: All riders taking part in evening runs are strongly advised to have working rear lights on their bicycles. As with all Old Bleach rides, cycle helmets must be worn during the club run. Any minors must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Please remember the evening club runs take place in addition to our Saturday and Sunday cycles, which keep going all year round and should complement them well.

If you have any further questions pertaining to our evening club runs (or anything club related) please contact us and we shall endeavour to help as best we can.

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