Mar 20

‘Floating’ start for Sundays

Ever the revolutionary forward thinkers, we’ve come up with an idea to try out on our Sunday club runs.

Rather than have a fixed start time, we are going to try organising our Sunday club runs so we are back in Randalstown by a certain time each week.

Ideally we would like this to be somewhere between 1-30pm and 2pm. That means we will be altering our start time on a weekly basis to suit.

As an example, say we want to cycle round Lough Neagh. The most likely way we would go totals around 78 miles. As it’s flat and we’re not particularly fast, we would expect that to take a little shy of 4h30m of actual cycling. Add 1 hour for a coffee stop and ‘those random delays which happen for no apparent reason‘ and you’ve got a total of 5h30m. Take that from 2pm and it means we would start off at 8-30am. Simple!

As we mentioned earlier, this is something we are trying out to see if it works. In fact, if you are a fan of terrible contrived puns (which we are) one could say we are time trialling.

All this makes it even more important anyone who wishes to come out on a Sunday gets in touch first. Although the likelihood is we’ll still roll out at 9-30am most Sundays, there is a reasonable chance we will be leaving earlier.

We will send eMails, WhatsApp messages and post in our Facebook group to ensure all our club members are aware what time our Sunday club runs will start at. Please contact us if you are unsure of the start time and wish to know.

Mar 14

Old Bleach goes crazy for TUEs!

That’s right – we’ve gone bananas, dolally, meshuga, bonkers, gaga and utterly off our trolleys and out of our trees for TUEs.

Starting in mid to late April, we’ll have two club runs every Tuesday throughout the summer. We truly are crazy for Tuesdays.

We’ll be running the second year of our ‘higher effort’ Tuesday Evening cycles – leaving St. Comgall’s Primary School car park, Antrim at 6-30pm. Then, if you prefer a more ‘sociable’ ride, you have the excellent option of doing our new T7s run from the same location, leaving at 7pm.

The additional Tuesday 7 o’clock club run isn’t the only change Old Bleach has coming up; We’re very much about listening to our club members and being malleable, to create more enjoyment for those involved.

This being the case, we have moved our Wednesday Sevens back a day so we now have Thursday Sevens. As the name suggests, these club runs will take place at 7pm on Thursdays and will leave from outside The Old Forge, Randalstown.

Combined, the Tuesday Sevens and Thursday Sevens form our T7s runs – fun cycles designed to maximise enjoyment on a bicycle. We’re very optimistic about the T7s and hope you’ll find them as entertaining as we imagine you will.

Please keep checking our calendar to see when the evening cycles will be taking place.

We hope these tweaks and the new club run will help you get more and more enjoyment out of Old Bleach as we head into the spring/summer of 2017. If you have any questions, please contact us for details or feel free to comment below.

Mar 02

Mini Figure Scenes

Mini Wha Now?

You may not have heard of Mini Figure Scenes. That’s quite understandable as it is a new service provided by, young entrepreneur and Old Bleach member, Martin Robb.

Martin offers various options, for people who would like to get a personalised scene put together, featuring a figure (or figures) set in an environment of your choice.

At the time of writing this shameless (but richly deserved) plug for Mini Figure Scenes, the most popular choices are priced as follows…

  • Personalised figure – £15
  • Boxed scene – £20
  • Diorama (as shown in picture) – £25+

You can look at (and Like) the Mini Figure Scenes Facebook page right here. It’ll have plenty of up to date photos of more projects and lets you contact Martin directly if there is anything specific you would like to have done. Say, for example, you want Martin to make a diorama you could use as a trophy – let your imagination run riot!

In the meantime, here are some further photos, of the diorama pictured above, for your perusal…

Nov 23

Winter blues

Beneath the paper sunWe’ve reached that time of year when little velo enthusiasts scuttle off into their caves, light a fire and hibernate until slightly before the summer equinox; their hairy unshaven legs put away for winter to wither and gather dust .

Such events don’t need to be the norm.

Sure, there’s the odd day where it’s simply not safe to go out on two wheels – we have got some common sense and value our safety – but it’s all good to go when there’s no ice on the roads.

We can dress in a manner to counter the cold (to some degree) and it’s always enjoyable to see one’s clubmates turn into frozen lollipops before our very eyes. The company of others is wonderful for taking one’s mind off the inclement weather conditions and helps motivate us to keep moving so we haven’t seized completely by springtime.

We Old Bleach gentlemen and ladies host clubs run throughout winter. Unfortunately our evening runs have to be put on hold as we like to be able to see when we cycle but our Saturday and Sunday rides go ahead as normal all year round.

We’d love to have you join us for a winter of cycling. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll do our best to help out.

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?

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