SINCE the huge success of the Giro d’Italia in 2014, Northern Ireland’s love of cycling has reached new heights, so news of the spectacular series of events arranged as part of the NI Festival of Cycling, June 3 – 19, is sure to get thousands of people on their bikes to enjoy the many varied events planned, for all ages.
This year cyclists have lots to look forward to as part of the festival, including the Gran Fondo, the Piccolo Fondo, Velodrome activity and a range of fun events held across Northern Ireland.
Tourism NI’s Communication & Destination PR Officer, Rachel Quigg, said: “We are thrilled to host a world renowned sporting event such as the Gran Fondo as well as a wide range of thrilling cycling events all over NI as part of the festival for both amateur cyclists and those who are more experienced.
“There are also lots of family events to bring children along to so why not take your friends and family for a day out where they can enjoy the thrill of cycling whilst also taking in NI’s stunning scenery,” added Rachel.
Tourism Northern Ireland has listed a range of upcoming events to try:
Not to be missed cycle events
Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia, Mourne Mountains and Strangford Lough, June 5. June 2016 will see the second edition of this spectacular event and there will be celebrations galore with a post-ride party with wood fired oven pizzas, gourmet pasta dishes and Italian beer and wine. There will be plenty of activities and entertainment for families at Titanic Belfast as well as photo opportunities with the Giro d’Italia Trophy. For more information go to www.granfondogiroditaliani.com
Foodie Cycle Tour, Derry~Londonderry, June 11. Departing from Eglinton Village (Hummingbird Café) at 10am sharp, cyclists will ride to Park Village at the food of the Dart Mountain via the Sperrins. Participants will have lunch cooked for them by a local chef using fresh home-sourced produce from the immediate area. For more information go to www.farandwild.org
In the Red, Kilbroney Park Mountain Bike Trails, Rostrevor, June 12. This mountain bike sportive is perfect for anybody that likes to get the heart rate up and the adrenaline flying. It’s all about getting around the 26km Rostrevor loop in as much style as possible. For more information go to www.extreme26.com
Bike To Work Day, Derry~Londonderry, June 13. This healthy initiative is encouraging you to cycle to work on the 13th and claim a FREE breakfast (bacon butty or healthy fruit bowl) at participating outlets from 8:30 – 9:30am.
Psycle, Castlewellan Mountain Bike Trails, June 18. This is an eight hour mountain bike endurance event which is open to individuals, teams of two or four and for both novice and experienced riders. For more information go to www.onegreatadventure.com/psycle.
Giro Junior Events, Albert Basin, Newry, June 18. This is a cycling proficiency skills event for children age 4 – 12. The programme focuses on 4 main skills; Cornering, Pedalling, Braking and Balance – great for ensuring your kids know how to bike safely.
Crooked Lake Duathlon, Camlough Lake, June 19. Navigating the hills and winding roads of beautiful South Armagh this is the perfect event for those who would like to try out the world of cycling for the first time yet, it is tough enough to challenge experienced riders too. To find out more go to www.active.com/newry-armagh/duathlon/crooked-lake-duathlon/crooked-lake-duathlon-19th-june-11am-2016.
ABC Sportif, June 19. This event is designed to challenge you against the distance and the clock. Open to all level of cyclists the route will take cyclists through the old council areas of Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon including a part of the Gran Fondo. For more information go to www.craigavonactivity.com
Pedal to Pickie, Bangor, June 19. This fun event allows families and children to participate in a mini challenge and cycle from the Sportsplex centre in Bangor to Pickie Fun Park on closed roads. This is the ideal event for young children who are inexperienced cyclists.
Ards Town Centre Race, Newtownards, June 15. This event will allow cyclists to take over the roads around Newtownards town centre and enjoy a race against the clock. The event will kick off with children completing a lap of the circuit before more experienced riders then join in. A BMX stunt team will be on hand to perform and wow spectators.
Night Ride & BBQ, Belfast, June 15. Enjoy an evening cycle starting from The Big Fish and travelling around Belfast’s city centre cycle network followed by a BBQ in the Courtyard. Starts at 9:30pm.
Cinecyle, June 11. This family orientated cycle will start at the Big Fish and follow the Comber Greenway to the Tudor cinema in Comber. Families will have the chance to enjoy a fun cycle day out and then take in a film screening afterwards, in a private cinema.
Piccolo Fondo, Belfast, June 4. Take part in this year’s Piccolo Fondo and cycle along one of 4 traffic free routes from Comber, Holywood, Newtownabbey and Lisburn finishing at Titanic Belfast where the Gran Fondo ends the next day.
Street Velodrome is an exciting high speed pop up course which offers cycling enthusiasts the chance to experience the thrill of competitive racing. Schools and clubs will take to the track on Friday and on Saturday and the public will be able to pop along and get to grips with the gears.
Are you brave enough to tackle the impressive Street Velodrome at one of the following locations?
Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast, June 4 & 5. The Street Velodrome Tour will kick off at the Gran Fondo where Northern Ireland’s very own velodrome team, the Belfast Titans, will show you how the professionals do it as part of a televised broadcast on the Saturday. The track will then be opened to the public on Sunday for some ‘Have a go Sessions’.
Sixmile Leisure Centre, Ballyclare, June 18 and 19. Urban sports demos, Cycling training, skills course, bling your bike workshops, obstacle courses and much more will be happening around the Street Velodrome in Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council from 10:00am – 6:00pm.
Solitude Park, Banbridge, June 11. The track will arrive at Solitude Park in Banbridge on June 10 for school groups and cycling clubs and will be open to the public on June 11 from 10am – 5pm.
Guildhall Square, Derry~Londonderry, June 12. The final stop of the Street Velodrome will see it set up in Guildhall Square for one final day of free try outs and fast paces, head to head action.
For further information check out www.discovernorthernireland.com or join the conversation online with #NICycleFest.