Dear Dromara CC members,

The drab and dreary winter weather should hopefully be behind us soon, and in the longer, brighter days of spring our thoughts will increasingly turn to the cycling season ahead.  2016 has the makings of a memorable year for Dromara CC, and we (the club committee) thought now would be a good time to bring everyone up to speed with the various activities and plans for the year ahead.

Planning has already started for the first of our annual “big ticket” events, the MTB open race, which will be on 24th April in Tollymore Forest Park.  Soon after this will be the Coastal leisure cycle, on 8th May 2016.  Both of these events will shortly be open for entries, and we will as usual be looking for your help to run them.  On 4th June the club will be hosting our open road race at the Bishopscourt race circuit, then on 14 August is our one and only Dromara Hilly leisure cycle.   In September we are launching a new and unique event, an open hill climb up Slieve Croob.  Finally, in December we will once again host a round of the Ulster CX championship.

Our club road and off-road leagues will of course be satisfying our members’ craving for two-wheeled competition on a weekly basis throughout the summer months.  The road league calendar has just been finalised and will be published shortly.  If you are planning to take part in the league, remember you need to put your name down to marshal at least 3 events prior to the start of the series. Gareth has put lots of thought and time into planning the league, and would appreciate any constructive feedback both before and during the season.

2016 is an especially exciting year for our club, as it is 30 years since a handful of local riders first got together to form Dromara Cycling Club.  Our wee club has come a long way in the intervening time, and is now one of the more active cycling clubs in Ulster.  To mark this special anniversary, and to celebrate the achievements of our club over the past 30 years, we are planning to add to our already busy calendar of events with some one-off special events to give something back to our members.

On Saturday 28th May we are holding an Anniversary Club Dinner in the Burrendale Hotel, Newcastle.  This black tie social event will be for members and their guests, with a 3-course dinner followed by entertainment afterwards.  More details available soon, but make sure you put the date in your diary!

In June we are encouraging as many members as possible to enter and ride the Gran Fondo sportive cycle.  This celebration of cycling is the only opportunity in Ireland to ride on closed roads, and one of the largest public-participation sporting spectacles in the country.  The club will be subsidising part of your cost of entry (see the website for details), so get your name down quick.  N.B. this offer is only available to existing members!

In July we hope to hold a casual social evening & BBQ.  Venue and date still to be confirmed, but if our previous summer social night was anything to go by, this should be a great night’s craic.

On the weekend of 20th/21st August, we are organising a 2-day cycling trip along the scenic North Antrim coast road.   The route, from Dromara to Ballycastle will have a choice of starting/rendezvous points to cater for all abilities, and will be supported by 2 vehicles.  Overnight accommodation near Ballycastle will be in a self-catering & camping facility.  More information will follow shortly, but spaces will be limited so be sure to get your name down quickly if you would like to take part.

The club committee will be finalising the details and publishing more information on the above events over the coming weeks, and we hope as many members as possible will be able to take part in them, and indeed help out in the running of them if asked.  Together we can make 2016 a season to remember…!

Finally, I would just like to remind all our members to be mindful of safety at all times, especially on the road.  This season we are hoping to promote awareness of good roadcraft for cyclists, starting with the highway code. The highway code is not only for vehicle drivers, it contains several key rules that are applicable to cyclists.  We have published a link to the code on our website; If ALL members could take a look at these rules and apply them when out on the road, it will not only be beneficial to individuals but also help to maintain the good reputation of our club amongst other road users.

I hope to see lots of DCC shirts on the roads and trails over the coming weeks!

Graham B (Chair of Committee)