24 June 2011 No Comments by The Northern Standard

There were sunburnt noses and sore butts on Monday morning all around Ardaghey following the Family Fun Bike Event on Sunday afternoon 19th June.
The sun blazed out through the clouds and set the cyclists off in good humour to take on the 4mile circuit (advertised as 4km for badness). Over 40 cyclists registered for the event and geared up with fluorescent gear and shiny helmets and garish cycling shorts. There was a buzz of excitement at the Start/Finish location of Ardaghey Community Centre as participants limbered up to pumping pop music and face painting. There was an early casualty when D.Todd fell in a heap while cycling round the carpark before the cycle even started but he regained his composure quickly. There was some disternation when P.Treanor arrived on his motorbike but it was quickly explained that he was not trying to save on the peddling but was in fact a safety marshal outriders. Safety warning signs were stationed at all junctions and marshals put in place to shepherd riders in the correct direction.
Special guest mayor Jackie Crowe arrived to set of the event attending his last function in his role as Mayor and was delighted to see the large attendance of all age groups. All bikers gathered around for a group photo and Chairman Noel Murphy of the Ardaghey Community Centre Committee addressed them in regard to matters of safety. He advised that the chosen route had just been freshly tarred and the road was very smooth for the event with ner’ a pothole to be seen. (He’s a great advocate for improving roads not building them!)
Mayor Crowe wished the participants well and had a few words of encouragement before the group set off behind F.Rooney in the lead car on the circuit which took them up hill and down dale. It was wonderful to see such a happy group setting off on such a warm and sunny afternoon like this and Ms.MM was overheard to mention to Ms.SM how lovely it would be to do this every Sunday. Junior bikers had the option to take a shorter route of 1.5miles along with a group of walkers however many of the juniors broke through the ranks and insisted on taking the larger circuit. A follow-up car commandeered by E.McSkeane took up the rear of the main group and was stocked with bottles of water and an air pump, both of which would be available to any stragglers. Tricyclers who were too small to take to the roads stayed at the hall where they triked around the tennis court and played bouncy ball and other games.
The Junior group and walkers were first back to the Community Centre and first to indulge in the fruity refreshments of apples, bananas, grapes and juices. Then came the flashing hazards of the lead car with a hearty group close in tow taking the last corner to return to the Community Centre. Mr. B.Peppard together with some other contenders decided that one round of the route was simply not enough and headed off for another circuit scaring the life of some other participants who thought for a moment that a second circuit was compulsory. Ms.SM was overheard to tell Ms.MM that she was in fact glad the event was not weekly given the exhaustion she was now feeling.
Organisers and marshals stationed at Ardaghey Cross gave the tired bikers encouragement to complete the remaining 200m with renewed strength…. Perhaps too much encouragement as Granny Eileen decided to take on her sister Nanny Nora over the last 100m, two ladies who hadn’t raced bikes in a while. Such competitiveness between the sisters resulted in near disaster when Nanny Nora inexplicably fell into the ditch (or was she nudged?). Luckily there was only some superficial grazes and there is a book open on the rematch.
Back to the Centre then for refreshments for all and presentation of certificates for everyone who took part in the event. Then there was a draw for prizes including all types of biking paraphernalia and gadgetry. The Chairman thanked the County Council for having sponsored prizes and refreshments and he thanked all for coming along to take part. A donations box towards the upkeep of the hall was generously replenished.
Thanks to all who participated, those who helped with marshalling, setting up, cleaning up, collecting signs, facepainting, chaperoning, walking and cycling, lets do it all again sometime….but not too soon!!

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