Jun 21

Wednesday Sevens – Change of address

As Randalstown Arches Festival is on this Wednesday coming (the 25th of June) this means Randalstown Main Street is closed. Therefore  we shall have to change our Wednesday Sevens meeting place for one night only.

With its own car park, Neillsbrook Community Centre seems as good a temporary change of address for us as any.

We shall still be meeting at 7pm and doing the usual length and speed of route; only the location has changed.

No other club runs (including future Wednesday Sevens) are affected by this. As stated earlier, it is a ‘one night only’ relocation.

Although the Main Street is closed to traffic, we would like to think a polite cyclist may be allowed through. If you want to drive to somewhere else and cycle to the Community Centre, that is another possibility.

As always, if you have any questions, please contact us.

Jun 08


Some FROG 2013 participantsDon’t be fooled into thinking this is a news item about amphibious cycling. We’re not even sure how that could work.

Rather ‘The FROG‘ is ‘The Fun Run of the Glens’ (let’s just ignore that pesky ‘the’ for the sake of acronyms) – a charity cycle taking place in the glorious Glens of Antrim.

The FROG sportive has been going for eight years (the 2014 edition will be number nine) and has helped raise close to £100 000 for charity. In fact that’s a ‘landmark’ which, hopefully, will be broken this year. Funds go to Cancer Focus Northern Ireland (among others).

Rather than demand a specific participation fee in advance, Paul McToal (the organiser) simply requests people donate however much they feel like on the day itself. That means he’s taking a bit of a risk with the weather and fundraising but it is very good from the perspective of the cyclists taking part.

‘The day itself’ is this coming Saturday (June the 14th) with registration opening at 8am. There should be a publicity photoshoot at 8-45am (we hope to see plenty of Old Bleach members, in club kit, there) and the bikes will start rolling out around 9am. The location for the start is Glenravel Sports & Community Complex, 143 Glenravel Road, Cargan, BT43 6RA [map].

We have four courses to choose from:  25 miles, 50 miles, 75 miles and 100 miles. With the 75 and 100 miles courses, they comprise of the same loop as the 50 miles course with an extra loop added on at the end. That should mean most of the club can stick together for the first 50 miles, at least, no matter which course they choose (other than the 25 miles route obviously).

As we are taking part in The FROG we will not be having a standard club run on Saturday the 14th. Normal Old Bleach Saturday service should resume on the 21st. This will not affect any other club runs. Keep checking the calendar for information about all our cycles and contact us if you have any queries.

Jun 01

Which club runs suit me best?

Something people (including the person writing this) can find daunting, when considering joining a cycle club, is knowing which of the array of club runs is the most suitable for him/her.

It can be quite a nerve-racking experience for some of us, heading out for a cycle among a group of strangers. Part of this is the unknown element of ‘Will I be okay going on that club run?‘ and ‘What does the club run actually comprise of?‘.

In an effort to help alleviate any such concerns and assist in making the choice of which club runs are best tailored to one’s desires, we have put together a little table outlining the salient points of each.

Please click on the title of the listed club runs (Wednesday Sevens, Thursday Evenings, Saturdays and Sundays) for more in depth information about the individual cycles.


Do I need to be on a road specific bike? NoYesYesYes
Is it suitable for people who haven't cycled with a club/group before?YesNoYesNo
How much mileage is it likely to cover?15 to 20 miles25 to 40 miles35 to 45 miles50 to 60 miles
What average speed is it likely to be run at?10 to 13 mph18 mph or more14 to 16 mph16½ to 18 mph
What time does it leave?7pm6-30pm9-30am9-30am
Where does it leave from?The Old Forge, John Street car parkThe Old Forge, John Street car parkThe Old Forge, John Street car parkThe Old Forge, John Street car park
How long does it normally last?2 hours2½ hours3½ hours4 hours
Is there a 'coffee' stop during the club run?YesNoYesYes
Do I need to wear a cycle helmet to take part?YesYesYesYes


If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact us and we will do our best to help out.

May 13

Uncle Vincent’s Fun Bus hits the road this Saturday

We expect you to trust this man with your bicycle

The time has come for Old Bleach to spread its wings and share its message of world peace with those across the globe. Well, we might leave a bit of that for a while; in the meantime we can pop off for a day’s cycling from somewhere which isn’t Randalstown. That’ll do for a start.

Resident Old Bleach ‘one man media army’, Vincent, has been kind enough to fashion an excellent bicycle rack for a van he has access to. It can take up to thirteen bikes (nine indoors and four externally via a rack on the ball hitch) at a cost of £5 per bicycle (to cover petrol costs). Unfortunately Vincent is not insured to transport meaty humans in the van unless they work with him. As none of us works with Vincent, that means we all have to arrange our own transport/car sharing. Chances are, unless you are particularly smelly, you should find someone happy to give you a lift there and back. If you are particularly smelly, you’ll probably have to drive and keep the windows down for your passengers. We’ll all pong after the cycle so don’t let it get you down.

At the time of writing we haven’t made a firm decision about the start time or destination. We know it will be (weather permitting) taking place this coming Saturday (the 17th of May) but haven’t agreed on a departure time. It’ll most likely be around 8-30am or so. We will, of course, update this once we know for sure.

For the route, we are going to choose between Enniskillen and the Ards Peninsula. Either route will comprise of around 60 or 70 miles of fairly flat cycling and will contain at least one stop for coffee and most likely an additional lunch stop. It’s supposed to be fun for everyone involved so we won’t be racing round it with our heads down and bottoms in the air.

We hope to see plenty of you there and please remember this replaces our normal Saturday club run. There will be no club run from John Street car park this Saturday. If you go there, you will be very lonely.

UPDATE: As it is to be wet in Fermanagh and sunny in Down, we have made the wise choice and shall be cycling round the Ards Peninsula on Saturday. Here is a link to the route we will be doing. As you can see from the elevation, it’s an extremely flat day’s cycling.

Chances are we’ll have at least two stops during Saturday’s jollifications – a coffee/tea stop in Donaghadee and a longer lunch stop somewhere between Portaferry and Downpatrick.

We will be leaving Randalstown no later than 8-30am with a view to being in Comber by 9-30am. All being well, we should be meeting some of the lovely members of Killinchy Cycling Club (outside Comber Leisure Centre at 9-30am) who shall accompany us on our excursion. If you and/or your bike need a lift to and from Comber, please get in touch and we shall attempt to organise something.

Expect a day of acting like tourists, eating ice cream, taking photos, making new cycling friends and generally having fun on a bike. Woo hoo!

NB: We should point out Vincent is neither our uncle or The Man from UNCLE, the ‘bus’ is actually a van and Old Bleach Cycle Club in no way  guarantees or condones ‘fun’

Apr 17

Return of the Wednesday Sevens

0 - 60 in Ten WeeksHoorah! We are absolutely delighted to welcome that part of the year where ‘The nights are fairly drawing out‘ – how come nobody ever says that?

In addition to our Thursday evening club runs, which goes into its second week tonight, this means we can start up the Wednesday Sevens again.

Make no secret of it, we LOVE our Wednesday Sevens club run; if it was a person we would marry it/them/him/her – well – if it/them/him/her would have us.

For a growing club like Old Bleach, the Wednesday Sevens is a vital run. It is a wonderful way for us to entice people who haven’t cycled before, have been off the bike for a while or who simply want to get some more mileage in with friends out for a short spin everybody can enjoy with absolutely no fear of struggling. We are very careful to run it at a pace to suit everybody taking part and make it good clean fun for all involved.

For a Wednesday Sevens run, you can turn up on practically any roadworthy bike. That means road bikes, touring bikes, mountain bikes, hybrids etc. are all suitable. In the interests of safety we ask people not to come on tandems, recumbents, unicycles or Penny-farthings (even if we would very much like to see one) but nearly anything else is great.

As we like to keep our noggins in the same condition they were when we started, we require all participants to wear a cycle helmet during all our cycles. It would probably be wise to have (at minimum) a working rear light on your bike if possible too.

If you wish to attend and are under 18 years of age, please contact us first so we can arrange to have two Access NI approved adults present for our club run – thank you. If you will be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, that’s wonderful and you don’t need to contact us beforehand, although it’s always nice to hear from people before meeting them face to face.

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