Castlereagh Cycling Club was formed in 2000 and was formerly known as the Belvoir Road Club. The club name was changed to reflect the changing nature of the club from purely a road cycling club to both on and off road.


    Our Sunday Cycle ride starts at 9:30am at the bus shelter near the main entrance of Forster Green Hospital on the Saintfield Road. Depending on numbers and weather we ride 55-70 miles at a "steady" pace. On Saturday we meet at the same time and usually do a slightly shorter run at a faster pace. Approx 40-50 miles.


    All are welcome - we would like people to join the club, but we would rather people come along first and make sure they enjoy it - we hope they will.

Saturday and Sunday, 9.30am at Forster Greens

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Groundhog Day

My choice of route for the Lites was a case of Groundhog Day for me, having done the exact same yesterday albeit with a different coffee stop. The reasoning, was that it suited the wind and I knew the timings so we could rendezvous with the Full Fats for coffee. Surprisingly it worked out perfect.
The Full Fats were Nightmare, Retro, Hannibal, Bullet, De Niro and Flashdance, while accompanying me on the Lites were Sean, Darragh, Philip, Jeremy, Mark, Lanterne and Resurrection. The Lite route looped us across the Kings Rd and up Greengraves Rd before tracking back round the side of Scrabo and dropping into Comber. Out past Castle Espie and through Ardmillan, Ballydornan, Whiterocks, Killinchy and into Balloo. Our training goals for the day were to ride in two straight lines tight to the left, and to avoid unnecessary or overexcited warning shouts which cause nervousness in the bunch - tranquilo tranquilo, mission accomplished.
As we settled down for coffee (and jumbo sausage rolls for some), Nightmare appeared with the Full Fats looking suitably wrung out. Their route will be up on Strava later, but I know it took in Darragh Cross and a lot of drumlins.... Everyone squeezed in and caught up. We also concocted a plan to allow any Lites feeling frisky to get a taste of Full Fat life on the way home.
Leaving coffee, 5 riders turned right and left direct for Ballygowan along the Ballybunden Rd determined to work together to beat the Full Fats on a longer lumper route (they succeeded). The rest of us turned left and right along the Saintfield Rd and the succession of kickers. The whistle was a new experience for some, but the pace was enjoyable in a twisted sadomasochistic way. We turned right on to the Carrickmannon Rd and soon fell into a number of small groups forming and splintering on the hills (I love that ****). Everyone knew the plan was to re-group in Ballygowan and sure enough there were was the direct group waiting and looking smug.
From Ballygowan, we nipped into the lanes and cruised across to Moneyreagh. Eventually we popped out on the Comber Rd and split up. Today was just about perfect in offering something for everyone without having to compromise anyone's ride - result!!!!

Here's the full fat strava ignoring the first 13k or so.https://www.strava.com/activities/255233116

Saturday, 14 February 2015

50 Shades of Green

Being Valentines Day, Retro brought out the "other woman" in his life today - his long suffering steel mistress - clearly a sign spring is coming. While we're being steamy, he christened today's ride "50 Shades of Green" on account of the fields of cabbages, broccoli and brussel sprouts we rode through.

Three of us headed out the Knock carriageway, through Cherryvalley and along the Kings Road. On to the last bit of the greenway to Greengraves Rd and a gentle climb up to the Ards dual carriageway. Another right and round the side of Scrabo, before dropping back into Comber. From there past Castle Espie and through Ardmillan all the way to Wacky Dave's (aka Daft Eddys).

We arrived just before 11 having held a nice smooth pace all the way. Brian is definitely showing the benefits of getting out regularly through the winter. Beating the rush meant we were served quickly and back on the road in no time. Round to Whiterocks, up the the climb through Killinchy to Balloo and across to Ballygowan. We lifted the pace on the run in, making sure everyone used up their biscuits.

From Ballygowan we headed out towards Saintfield then flicked into the lanes and zig-zagged across to the Clontnacally Road and home. A nice simple, smooth training ride, using a lot of regular roads but kinda in reverse. Hard enough to do some good, but not too hard to be unenjoyable. Home for 12:30 with time to enjoy the rest of day. Happy Valentines!

Sunday, 8 February 2015

8 in a row

If 7 days in a row is good for you, 8 in a row must be even better!!!! That's the kind of stupidly flawed logic that people like Hannibal and me apply at 3:30am. Hence the two of us rolled up (me late, sorry) praying for a quiet one.

The roads around the Four Winds were still icy, so the plan was to seek the salt air and stop in Bangor. With two of the normal routemeisters subdued things were a little confusing, but after traversing the carriageway we rode along the Old Holywood Rd and then cut from the bottom of Creightons Green Rd on to Whinney Hill. It turned out a good choice, stretching everyone but breaking no one.

We continued towards the George, then left to the carriageway and round the Bangor ring road. We headed out towards Donaghadee then swung left through Groomsport and back to Ballyholme. Hannibal recommended Garfunkels and used his charm to get us all squeezed in. I think Flashdance had ridden on, but we still had Hannibal, the Terminator, De Niro, Resurrection, Lanterne, Darragh, Philip, Brian, Mark, Derek and Jeremy. In the absence of a cafe con leche I settled for a cappuccino while others indulged in fries, pancakes and bagels.

Homeward bound someone lead us out towards Carrowdore, enjoying the sunshine. We then swung back to Ards with the promise of a free-for-all up Bradshaw's Brae. Seeing Hannibal and De Niro set a nice steady temple I thought it was time to lob in a hand grenade and split things up. Mission accomplished it was great to see Darragh up at the pointy end. From there we rolled down the Upper Newtownards Rd and waited for riders to peel off. Finally it was down to three Colombians (we live at altitude) to struggle up the Cairnshill Rd.

Cold, but dry and bright. A different route and different coffee stop - a recipe for a good morning out. Time for bed now.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Entry Open: John Moore Memorial 2015

The John Moore Memorial A and B Race are full. There is currently a short reserve list which you can get onto through Entry Central.

The Ladies race has plenty of spaces and we would appreciate if anyone wanting to race would sign up soon to make organization easier:  www.entrycentral.com/JohnMooreMemorial
For more information on the race go here: www.castlereaghcc.com/p/events.html

Sunday, 1 February 2015

A Dollop of Cream on Top

We don't do Lite on tour, we don't even do Semi-Skimmed, we do Full Fat with a dollop of cream on top.... We arrived late last night and somehow missed out on water and breakfast food, so we took the amazing coast road round to Puerto Rico for breakfast (two in some cases).
The weather was perfect and even undershirts came off as we turned inland from Puerto Mogan, climbing through El Hornirillo and then turning right onto the GC605. We reckoned it was 23k of climbing from there, so I was kinda surprised when all four of my teammates started attacking it at the pace they go up the 300yd Valverde Hill outside Ballynahinch. I reckoned I would see one or two again before the top!

Thanks to a broken gear cable 1st Cat (the one who works in a bike shop) only had two gears - fair play - thanks to a bit of ingenuity and the bottle cage mounts at least he had his choice of which two gears.

At the top we stopped for lunch, before catching the GC60 all the way home - whoever designed that road was clearly a bikie, although the two major kickers showed they had a sense of humour. Everyone rode brilliantly and most importantly kept it save. Looking forward to doing it all again tomorrow.

PS thanks to Hannibal's good lady for the amazing villa find - way too good for the likes of us! PPS Bullet is now called Clarkson on account of his obsession with POWER.

Ice Ice Baby

As i write this my toes are just about returning to life, having been in the freezer for the past 4 hours - somehow i get the feeling our mates in Gran Canaria aren't having the same issues.
The club room at Forster Green's saw 8 souls up for a ride - in no particular order, De Niro, Neil, Sean, Dara, Flashdance, Jeremy, Mike and Philip. So, where to go? Thankfully yesterday's beaufort scale winds had abated to a strong westerly gust but that still ruled out a ride to Donaghadee as the return ride would be a heart breaking ride home into a headwind. What about Islandmagee then?, a few shrugs/grunts later and off we went bound for the Gobbins.
Going on memory from a few months back we made our way through the city and on to the Shore Road, just past the Abbeycentre i knew we had to turn left but my memory wasn't as good as i thought when turn into Rathcoole - this can't be right i thought and Jeff got us back on course and onto the Doagh Road. We were having a good chat as went, Dara and Sean recounting yesterday's ride to Downpatrick (flying in one direction only to crawl back home). By the time we'd turned onto the Old Garrick Road ice was starting to make an unwelcome appearance on the verges of the road bring out warning calls of Ice!, Ice!, Ice! through the pack which gave Flashdance a chance to reminisce about Vanilla Ice and the aforementioned "Ice, ice, baby" - with his fluro shoe covers he wouldn't have looked out of place on an 80's dance floor. On to the Upper Road and we were all keeping our eyes peeled for the white stuff and working well as a group, everyone taking a turn at the front - although we allowed the stronger riders a longer turn to ensure they got more out of the ride.
After Marshallstown Road a quick right/left took us on to Dalway's Bawn Road, still mindful of ice we treated fast descents with caution. Still riding as one the group fractured on the climb at Bridge End Road just before Ballycarry - at that point I found and extra gear (that'd be reverse!) as Dara, Sean, Jeff, Jeremy and Flashdance ripped it up. We regrouped at the top of the climb and hung a right in the village towards Islandmagee - a warning of caution on the descent proved timely as ice lay in wait on the fast corners down to Larne Road.
Over to Ballystrudder and a opportunity to ride into Whitehead or extend the ride as we did before by circumnavigating the island. Good on everyone for picking the extended ride (or as i like to call it, the 12" remix). This was a chance for Neil to see what he had missed the last time and for me to relive that gawd awful drag along the misleadingly named Low Road and Brown's Bay Road - once again the group was strung out along the road but dutifully the faster riders waited patiently at the top. The view over to Shane's Hill being particularly impressive - the hills cloaked in snow, creating a picture postcard panorama.

Through Mullaghboy/Portmuck and with the wind on our backs - did i forget to say that the last drag also had an arctic headwind for good measure? The ride down past the Gobbins Road provided an HD view of Scotland and Ailsa Craig. We were making good progress and returned back to Ballystrudder where Flashdance broke off for him as he had planned to go metal detecting with Flashdance Jr. And then there were 7, time for tea/coffee if you ask me - off we went to he vintage tea rooms in Whitehead as we had done previously. Dara got served with the best china so it was pinkies out (his wee finger ya filthy bunch!). The chat turned to dream bikes, ti frames and encounters with Sean Kelly - one track minds the lot of us!

Post caffeine hit and a flake or two of snow sent chills through the group (in more ways that one), now we were homeward bound and it was all downhill from now on - well, give or take! We picked up the pace a bit, mindful of not breaking the elastic. With little to report, we cycled through the Eden, Carrickfergus and Whiteabbey before joining the cycle path alongside the M5. Into the city and Jeff and Jeremy broke off at Lagan Weir while the rest of us headed for Ravenhill Road. Sean's stats for the ride showed a total of 55miles riden, a good effort for the lites I'm sure you'll agree. And so we went are separate ways. Thanks lads for making a day of it - great craic as always. See you all next week.

Strava link: www.strava.com/activities/249014571

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Just The Two Of Us

 We learnt two things about Nitemare today 1) he is mad as a hatter (88 brutal miles in January!) and 2) more surprisingly he can write! This is his account with minor editing - I think he was still in attack mode.... Just to reassure people, this is NOT a typical January Sunday run, just two crazies!!!! Ps he called it "Just the two of us" (I hope Hannibal doesn't get jealous!)

Right … mess at start … FATs rebellion … thinking of their tan lines in Gran Canaria next week possibly!?? Anyhow, secondary plan to hit the Mournes via the A24 to Newcastle and A2 Kilkeel ... that gives you about 44 miles prior to grub stop (CafĂ© Eclipse, nice Hot Choccy). Average to there was 17.7mph into a tough headwind. Fair do’s to Michael who hung in until after Ballynahinch but I knew he was turning anyways after about 20 miles or so, so well done him for NOT wavering and having a go! Retro .... is a determined 60 year old and I knew he would “hang tough” on the wheel and YES he did venture to take the lead several times giving me a welcome drink break.

After grub it was the Mournes via the B27 Moyad Road to the “Top of the Mournes” at 1440ft! Then fast descent out of the gloom to Bryansford and then right up to Castlewellan. Another “sugar” stop for Retro and we headed homeward via Spa and Ballynahinch and on up to Carryduff. A 90 mile day with an average of 18.2mph … thanks Retro for the company even if I didn’t see you much, but much kudos to you for not missing the FULL FATS and not being semi-skimmed!!
Nitemare …

A Kevin Costner Moment

Today was a Kevin Costner moment - "if you build it, they will come". James Earl Jones, Ray Liotta and Burt Lancaster couldn't make it, but thanks to a few defectors from the full-fat group it still felt like we had a cast of thousands. In total I think it was 18 Lites - if I remember them all I deserve a medal.... In no particular order, Chairman, Bullet/Mike-ro, Terminator, Hannibal, Terminator, Resurrection, De Niro, David, Phillip, Jeremy, Neil, Alan, Derek, Fred, Mark, Sean and Dara plus me.
After a few weeks of dodging ice it was nice to have a free choice of routes and we settled on a kind of reverse of what we did 2 weeks ago. The idea was to re-use a few roads to get people familiar with them, while introducing a few new ones to mix it up. From the feedback I got, I think it was a success.
 We rode steady up the Saintfield Rd to Purdysburn, then up Mill Rd arriving at the top grupo compacto, which showed everyone was on good behaviour and thinking of the group. Across Mealough Rd and then along the Hillsborough Rd until we hit the Upper Ballynahinch Rd. After a little confusion (I shouted RIGHT), we turned right and then down Green Rd past Duneight and into Ravarnet. Straight across into Carnbane Rd and same again to Harry's Rd and Culcavey.
 It may have looked like I was making it up as I went along, but for once I had it figured out. Nightmare calls that area the flatlands and I knew it was good terrain to get a few miles in before coffee while keeping the group intact.

 Halftown Rd, Bog Rd, Gravehill Rd, then across the racecourse on Dunygarton Rd. Right along Derrynahone Rd and left following Route 9 along Halfpenny Gate Rd to Thornbrook Rd. Finally we deviated again from the "traditional route" and turned left along Lany Rd. With only a minor mechanical that took us all the way to Hillborough with a short cyclo-cross shortcut to get us to coffee.
 Kaner's had beaten us to Barretro, but we just about all squeezed in and got refuelled. The Terminator went for the luxury option - smoked salmon, while the rest of enjoyed the scones. Back on the road, we headed for Annahilt, then left along Glebe Rd, before a right into Ballykeel Rd and then Bailliesmills Rd.
Taking the opposite route to 2 weeks ago we used River Rd, Drennan Rd, Creevy Rd, Gannon Rd and Ballynagannon Rd, to get to Drumbo. One last climb then back down Mill Rd to Purdyburn Rd and home. Everyone rode great and by keeping it together we made good time. Some day I'll get a Garmin and won't have to list the roads, I'll also be able to give a distance, but best guess was about 65 enjoyable kilometres. Well done to the new and pretty new riders - everyone did great!

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Wild at the Seaside

Four go wild at the seaside - Another icy morning meant another day of salt air. This time Bones, Hannibal, Nightmare and me headed straight along the carriageway (including a spell behind Motoman and a spell abusing Lanterne for being in a car). From Knock straight across the Upper Newtownards Rd to Ards - it's a long time since we took the main road all the way, but it just wasn't worth taking risks.
The pace was brisk, but steady as we all took long turns down the inside of the Peninsula. Other than the cold, the weather was perfect and kept the mood upbeat.
After Kircubbin we turned inland to get away from traffic and took Rubane Rd, Manse Rd, Glastry Rd and Tubber Rd looping back to the other side of Kircubbin. I'm sure we could've found another way to come back out further north, but Nightmare did a great job of showing us new roads. Pausing only for the daftest photo I've ever taken - not my idea - we headed homewards.
On MTB Girl's recommendation we stopped at Harrisons outside Greyabbey, where Hannibal and Nightmare struck up a bromance over hot chocolate complete with marshmallows and malteasers. In wasn't a huge surprise when one of MTB Girls good friends turned up just as we finished, so we hung on and gave Fluoro Chick (self-named) a bit of company home.
As I sung Sinitta's biggest hit on his wheel, Nightmare lifted the pace and we flew back into Ards. By this stage we reckoned Bradshaw's Brae would have defrosted and worked our way up giving everyone a final test of fitness. Back onto main roads we cruised home with everyone smiling.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

The Raging Storm

We knew we were in trouble this morning when Retro rocked up in his shades, he was back on form and meaning business after last weeks events.
Today's brief was simple, keep away from the back roads and keep it coastal so that's exactly what we did. Without Nightmare as our trusty guide and coach we were on our own, 1st Cat, Bullet, Retro, Michael aka Flashdance and myself left the Lites and sped our way out to Dundonald, Comber and N'Ards before hanging a right onto the Portaferry Road. The pace was brisk with 1st Cat putting us through our drills of turns at the front. Working hard at keeping the pace going, we upped the tempo until Greyabbey. It was decided at this stage we would turn inland at Kircubbin, 4hrs riding would plenty especial at our brisk pace.
Once we turned left at Kircubbin it was a direct route to Ballyhalbert and the onslaught of the wind. One minute we were riding along one side of the peninsula blissfully oblivious to the storm raging on the other side, we went from an average of 22mph down to 11mph, it was tough going and felt is if we were going backwards at one stage. At this point Flashdance, wisely headed back to the nicer side of the Ards Peninsula for home, as he had family commitments to get back for.
With just four of us left, 1st Cat drilled us on our through and off techniques into the wind, with 1 minute efforts. Through Ballywalter we battled into Millisle, a call went out for the 30s in Millisle. I don't think I've ever seen a slower sprint in all my life, the head wind was that bad. As the Berg often says they don't pick us for our looks or intelligence!!!
A quick regroup to collect the bodies and we high tailed it into Donaghadee, with more through and offs. What was supposed to be a quick coffee stop at cafe manor turned into a slightly longer affair with much of the usual banter us Castlereagh guys are known for.
Suitably refuelled it was onto the Killaughey Road and Movilla Road for a blast into Ards. Discussions were afoot for the direction home Bradshaws Brae or Scrabo? Retro made the choice and led the way. The Bullet and 1st Cat were feeling frisky and showed a clean pair of heels up the Scrabo Road climb.
Taking the Unicarval Road and Ballyrainey Road brought us out onto the Comber Road and eventually the Upper Newtownards Road, the scene of today's excitement. Pulling out onto the main road I heard it. First the CLICK, then the CLUNK, then back wheel locked up. Looking down I realised my rear mech shouldn't be sitting at that jaunty angle in between the spokes of my rear wheel. Luckily we were nearly home and with a quick diagnosis that it was terminal the rear mech was dispatched with. Out came the trusty chain tool and after shortening the chain I was on my way again, SINGLE SPEED style. So close to home it was great that everyone waited while I got myself back on the road.
Another great days riding with the full fats with a route slightly over 60 miles, great weather except for the wind.

Strava link: www.strava.com/activities/242844964