Ulster Cycling News

Cycling for Enjoyment

<< Leisure Cycling

This might seem like a strange title to most cyclists because in 99% of cases people who ride bikes do it because they enjoy it. It doesn't matter whether they are doing it to take part in competitions, ride long endurance events or for general fitness, once bitten by the 'cycling bug' they cannot get enough of it. You only have to look at message boards or Facebook to see your cycling friends complaining when they cannot get out on their bikes because of the weather and the almost euphoric state they get into when suddenly all is well and they are back out on the bike.

However this article is simply to give you some idea of why people enjoy cycling. Cycling is relatively cheap as you chose a bike in the price range that suits your circumstances. Specialised clothing is not necessary so long as it is safe and comfortable to cycle in and there is nothing flapping about that can get caught up in the moving parts of the bike.

(To find out more see - "Cycling – Where do I begin?"  This will provide some advice on buying bikes, clothing and general cycling information.)


Why Cycle?

  • Cycling on your own is a great way to escape the daily routine and do something for yourself.
  • As a shared activity with a partner, family members or a friend it is a great way to enjoy a day out and to have time to chat and get to know each other better.
  • On a bicycle you see, feel and smell so much more and it makes you feel alive.
  • You can chose the type of cycling you like whether it is on the road, through traffic free areas or off road in parks and forests.
  • You can travel greater distances than walking for the same length of time.
  • Your fitness level increases with each cycle and as fitness increases the longer you will be able to cycle and the grater distance you will be able to cover.
  • You can escape from the noise of town or city life and enjoy peaceful country lanes.
  • If confined to a city you can enjoy cycling in public parks many of which also have off road trails.
  • For parents it is a great way to have quality time with your children and provide them from an early age with a culture of regular exercise, very important in this day and age with the massive increase in obesity in young people.
  • Cycling is green and eco friendly – there are no carbon emissions with cycling.
  • It provides aerobic exercise and can help with weight loss.
  • It is good for both mental and physical health.
  • Your body is supported so there is less chance of injury than running/jogging or playing ball games.
  • You set your own goals so there is no pressure to compete against anyone else.

Where to Cycle?

There are numerous cycle routes and off road trails to chose from throughout Ireland. The CycleNI website has listed many cycle routes in the north of Ireland ranging from short routes up to ten miles to longer routes many of which take in beautiful scenery. They also provide information on the main off road trails. See www.cycleni.com for more information on local cycle routes.

Who can Cycle?

Almost everyone can enjoy cycling. Age, gender or physical ability does not matter. Cycling is one of the few sports which is termed a lifetime sport because there is no upper age limit to participating.

Within Cycling Ulster we have many riders in their 70’s and 80’ who would not miss getting out on their bike two or three times a week.

Physical ability is no barrier either as with the advances in modern technology there are bikes to suit most people including electric E Bikes and Power Assisted Bikes which give you that little edge on tougher routes. With power assist headwinds and cycling uphill can be made a little bit easier while still allowing you to have agood workout and increase fitness level.


Disabled riders have a huge range of different types of cycles to choose from and these will be covered under Disability Cycling.

Try it for yourself and experience the pure pleasure of being out in the fresh air and when you finally find you can master those hills enjoy freewheeling down the other side.

The articles below were written by those who found out or rediscovered the pleasure that cycling can bring.

Bronagh Kirk is Secretary of Ards Cycling Club and a well known cycling photographer. She had not ridden a bike in many years and took it up again in 2010. This is her story.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun! by Bronagh Kirk