May 18

Antrim Festival criterium

Fast paced actionAs we would like to think you’ll remember from last year, we co-hosted the third race in the SEAT Super 7 criterium series in association with our friends from Antrim Festival.

We are happy to report another night of racing action will be making its way to Antrim town once again this June – on Tuesday the 14th, from 7pm, to be precise.

Given the success of last year’s event, we’ve got a lot to live up to. However we’re positive we’ll be able to not only match but exceed expectations this year. It really should be a LOT of fun.

Here’s some blurb about the racing…

basic info

The action will be taking place from 7pm on 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.


The evening of fast paced thrills kicks off with the Youth Race at 7-00pm. That will be followed by the A4s  a race around 7-30pm before climaxing with the ‘Elite’ A1 to A3s race at 8-15pm.

[If you’re not familiar with racing categories (ie. A4, A3, A2, A1, Youth, Junior etc.) and wish to find out more about them and local cycling generally, please browse the Cycling Ireland website for information]

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


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’.


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

traffic disruption/local businesses

For obvious reasons all motorists are advised to park outside the crit circuit confines on the evening of Tuesday the 14th 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 still be access to the car park at Castle Mall although delays are expected along Castle Way as traffic will be limited to a single lane.

Businesses within the confines of the circuit shall continue to operate as normal and can be accessed by foot. Ask a marshal if you require any assistance or guidance on the night. S/he will be pleased to help. Please come out, watch the races and help boost local businesses by popping in while you’re there.


Entry for events will be run through, opens at 7pm on Tuesday the 31st of May and will close on Monday the 13th of June.

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.

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.

Jan 08

Stuffable water-resistant jacket

Waterproof jacket - frontBefore we start, we don’t want anyone to tell us where our stuffable jacket can be stuffed.

Such crudity (not to be confused with a selection of raw vegetables) out of the way, the Powerhouse Sport elves are putting together some rain jackets for us.

The jackets will be of the lightweight and stuffable variety. Apparently they should cram down to around the size of an apple for easy storage in a cycle jersey rear pocket.

They’ll be for occasional use when, for example, an unexpected shower decides to pay us a visit. The jackets shall provide a little extra heat but aren’t out and out winter jackets.

While not 100% waterproof they will be water-resistant to the point where they’re suitable for use in all but heavy driving rain.

Here is a summary of the jacket’s selling points:

  • ‘Scrunches up’ to around the size of an apple
  • ‘No rain’ fabric – waterproof, windproof, breathable, stretch membrane
  • Full length chunky ‘anti-snag’ zip
  • One back pocket with horizontal zip
  • Reflective strip on pocket
  • Lightweight silicone grip on waist hem

Featuring Old Bleach graphics in the newer colour scheme (as pictured) you can purchase the jackets – for £82-20 each – directly from Powerhouse Sport via our Team Store this link. This is a special ‘jacket only’ single item Team Store and closes at the end of next week – Sunday the 17th.

To ensure you order the correct size we recommend you contact Powerhouse Sport and arrange to call down to try on equivalent jackets. As all clothing is made to order there are no refunds or exchanges and it is entirely down to the purchaser to make sure he or she orders the correct size of garment.

Jan 02

Considering taking up cycling in 2016?

Old Bleach, Randalstownhello and thanks for showing an interest…

At this time of year everyone talks about making New Year’s Resolutions. Often such resolutions last a week or two before they’re broken and forgotten about. That’s not our modus operandi; We don’t wish to set you up with some unachievable goal – we want to help you become happier, healthier and to potentially introduce a fun activity into your life.

Cycling seems to work well for a lot of people in terms of being a sustainable activity one can build up over time gradually and enjoyably without really perceiving it as ‘exercise’ per se. It can be worked round one’s other interests and fit well into most people’s schedules, even becoming part of a healthy, energising and cheap commute to work for some.

Although we’re fairly moronic, we’re not complete and utter halfwits – we realise cycling isn’t for everyone. Plenty of Old Bleach members didn’t necessarily think cycling would be for them but it turns out, lo and behold, it is.

We get a lot out of cycling and it’s possible you may too. Why not give it a try to see whether it’s an activity which ‘clicks’ with you? What have you got to lose?

benefits: socialising, health, fitness & competition

Different people get different benefits out of cycling.

Some cycle purely for the fun of being out on a bike, chatting away with others and stopping for a cup of tea or coffee. All the time they’re surreptitiously gaining fitness and increasing their lifespan without proactively focusing on it. The average person who cycles to work will live in excess of 8½ months longer than those who drive. Obviously that shows cycling, without sticking to a definite training plan, can still be of immense benefit to an individual’s wellbeing.

Many people have found cycling equally as beneficial mentally as physically. For some it can be a great way of battling depression and may help with various other mental health issues. Unfortunately it’s not a magical cure for everything but could help and certainly won’t hinder.

Certain groups of cyclists are keyed in on following a strict training regime – using diet, heart rate monitors, power meters etc. This can be purely an exercise in maximising one’s fitness or may be in order to ready oneself for competition.

Competition in cycling takes many forms. The most common events promoted by local cycle clubs are Road Races and Time Trials. Even within these classifications there are many subcategories to suit varied ages, genders, tastes and abilities. Rather than bore you with all the details here we recommend you peruse the Cycling Ireland website (and others) at your leisure.

Old Bleach fully supports all its riders whatever his or her cycling desires are. For example, the time trialist is equal to the leisure cyclist in our minds. We want our club members to be happy and safe on their bikes. Whatever way they choose to use them is purely personal preference.


Safety is always the priority when cycling with Old Bleach. It would be perfidious of us to suggest there aren’t inherent dangers in cycling on a public thoroughfare; however it is possible to limit these to a much greater extent than one may imagine. By cycling in a logical, informed and thoughtful manner a group can remain very safe on our roads.

A ‘good’ cyclist is not necessarily a fast cyclist – a ‘good’ cyclist is a safe cyclist. Have a quick read through our Rules of the Road for a few pointers pertaining to considerate and safe cycling. Don’t feel you have to read it all; It does go on a bit.

goodbye and thanks for reading

Old Bleach is always on the lookout for new club members. We want to get more people to give cycling a go. Sure there’s every possibility you’ll find you don’t like it but there’s also a reasonable chance you’ll think it’s wonderful.

As we asked earlier, what have you got to lose by trying it? It doesn’t cost anything and you might reap huge benefits from it.

Please contact us if you have any questions whatsoever – we would be delighted to hear from you. 

Oct 29

Hallowe’en is coming

Hallowe'en Charis cycle 2015Is it Hallowe’en?

Is it Halloween?

Perhaps it’s Samhain?

Does it matter? Do we care?

Whatever the case, it’s Saturday the 31st of October and Old Bleach is getting dressed up to the nines (possibly more like the fours) to celebrate.

We shall be taking part in the Charis Cancer Care cycle from the White River House Hotel, Toome(bridge) this Saturday.

As you can see from the flyer (image to the left) the minimum donation required to take part is £10. That includes a, slightly late, breakfast upon return to the hotel.

The actual cycle itself leaves from the White River House Hotel at 9-30am with registration opening from 9am. In case you’re not familiar with where the hotel is located, this should work as a link to a map.

Members of Old Bleach are meeting up outside The Old Forge, Randalstown at 8-45am to cycle over to Toome. If anyone wishes to join them, please do. Otherwise we shall see one another at the White River House Hotel at 9-20am.

The Charis Cancer Care cycle covers around 35 miles and Toome is about 8 miles from Randalstown. Therefore, if you are cycling from and to Randalstown, it will be a total of approximately 51 miles.

Now onto the important stuff…

The organisers of the Charis Cancer Care cycle are putting up a prize for the cyclist wearing the best fancy dress outfit. We don’t know what this prize is but that’s not the point – let’s try to get as many people in fancy dress as possible.

Obviously that’s if you want to wear fancy dress. If it’s not something you want to do, then don’t feel forced into it. We’re not some kind of horrible sorority from a bad American teen movie which forces people into things they don’t want to do with heapings of reprehensible peer pressure.

So, getting back on track, please wear fancy dress if you wish to. Remember, of course, you’ll be on a bicycle in among a group of other people on bicycles. It makes sense to wear something which does not obstruct your movement or vision, doesn’t stand any chance of catching on/in your (or someone else’s) bicycle, won’t create huge amounts of drag and provides adequate warmth for cycling in at the end of October. Oh and it should look good and be fun to wear too.

We hope to see a good turnout for this cycle. Looking forward to seeing you then.

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