Cycling Ulster

Tour of Lough Neagh & Mourne Sportive/Hilly Leisure Tours Information

The Freewheelers Tour of Lough Neagh, or “ROUND THE LOUGH” as it is also known, will take place this coming Saturday 6th of August 2011. The event is promoted by The Ulster Handcycling Association. Sign on is at The Antrim Forum from 9:00am to 9:45am. The entry fee is a minimum of £10 per entrant. Any additional contribution will be gratefully received, with all proceeds going to help disability cycling.

The scheduled start time is 10.00am. The event covers 75 miles, taking in Antrim. Toome, Ballyronan, Portadown, Lurgan and Crumlin. Food and refreshments will be provided for all entrants after approx 40 miles. This is the 21st year of this great event and a special one for Ivor Jess the man behind its organisation for all this time, as reported earlier this year…

Ivor Jess received an MBE in the New Years Honours list for services to Disability Sport in Northern Ireland. A GLENAVY man who was been wheelchair bound after an horrific cycling accident 20 years ago has been awarded the MBE for services to Disability Sport in Northern Ireland. Ivor Jess, a part time health and safety officer with Stoneyford Concrete, has raised over £100,000 for Disability Sport in Northern Ireland.

The keen sportsman is a member of the Knights Basketball team based at the Antrim Forum. He also founded the Freewheelers who run an annual charity cycle around Lough Neagh, the tennis wheelchair group Spokes in Motion based at Belfast Indoor Tennis Club at Ormeau and a skiing group in Craigavon - Ski Ability. Ivor became wheelchair bound in 1991 at just 28. His nephew had been diagnosed with kidney problems and had a kidney removed and Ivor had got together with a few friends to organise a charity cycle run around Lough Neagh. "However while training he was involved in a head on crash near the Down Royal and broke his back, robbing him of his ability to walk. But he refused to allow his disability to get him down and instead channelled his energies into setting up wheelchair sports groups and raising money for Disability Sport in Northern Ireland. "I was an electrician by trade but my wife Karen, who has been such an inspiration, was a keen sports person and I just thought I would take on the challenge of keeping taking part in sport" Ivor said.

"I never really looked back. I thought I would just continue on with my life in a positive way." Unable to take part in the annual cycle that year Ivor has since taken part in a specially adapted wheelchair helping to raise thousands to help purchase sports wheelchairs. Determined not to allow his injuries prevent him taking part in the sports he loves Ivor went to the ski slope at Craigavon and persuaded the organisers to allow him to ski down it using a monoski. He later founded a disabled skiing group. The Spokes in Motion tennis club he founded were ranked 19th in the world at one stage. He also set up a handcycle club in 1990s which met at the Antrim Forum. "I have always liked to keep myself active and fit but I love to raise money for Disability Sport," he said.

"My inspiration has always been my wife and two girls Angelina (11) and Megan (9). "My family keep me strong and motivated. "I think that sports helps disabled people get out of the sofa and gets them involved. It is good for your body and well being and it helps to get out for a bit of craic."

The money Ivor has helped to raise has bought sports wheelchairs, many of which help children take part in sport. "The specially adapted wheelchairs cost about £2000. So if we raise a few thousand it does not take long before the money us used up" he explained. "We also raise money through bag packing and other events." Ivor said that he was honoured to receiving the award. "It is nice to get recognition," he said, "but I am still plain old Ivor Jess and that will not change. "

This is an excellent event and a very good cause that deserves multi club support!For additional information please contact Ivor directly at 07711 692 485 or Email - You can also visit the Phoenix CC Message Board by clicking the link below and asking for more information

Phoenix CC Message Board

Mourne Sportive/Hilly Leisure Tour - Sunday 7th August
Dromara Cycling Club will be hosting their annual Mourne Sportive and Hilly Leisure Tours on Sunday. There will be again four routes to chose from which should provide a challenge for all riders. The 'big' event on the day will be the infamous Mourne Sportive, described by some as the toughest one day tour in Ireland. This 169 km route will take riders into the heart of the Mourne Mountains climbing over 11,000 feet across many of its famous peaks including Coyle’s Hill, Spelga, Windy Gap and Dree Hill. Entry is limited to 60 riders for the Sportive.

As well as the Sportive, we are also holding three shorter Hilly events, the Hilly 125, Hilly 85 and the Hilly 60. The Hilly '125' is now in its 23rd year and proves to be the most popular distance for the leisure riders. To help you decide which route to chose, see our helpful guide at the bottom of the page.

All four routes share a common tea stop which, as per last year, will be located at Leitrim GAA club. The Sportive riders will also have another tea stop at Meelmore Lodge in the heart of the Mourne Mountains. All events will start and finish at Dromara Football Club (location) .

As part of the day's events we are offering a Junior Hilly Tour using the Hilly '60' route. This route is well suited to junior riders (those aged 12 - 16) and riders will be escorted by senior club riders to and from the tea stop at Leitrim. The fee for the juniors is £5.

NOTE: All junior riders entering the Hilly 85 or Hilly 125 need only pay £5 on the day.

A summary of the events is given below.

Event Distance Sign on open from/Start time/Tea stops/Fee/Notes
Mourne Sportive 169 km / 105 mi 07:15 08:00 Leitrim GAA & Meelmore Lodge £20 Pre-entry ONLY (limit 60)
Hilly '125' 125 km / 78 mi 08:30 09:30 Leitrim GAA £15 Optional pre-entry (fee £10)
Hilly '85' 85 km / 53 mi 08:30 09:30 Leitrim GAA £15 Optional pre-entry (fee £10)
Hilly '60' 60 km / 37 mi 08:30 09:35 Leitrim GAA £15 Optional pre-entry (fee £10)
Junior Hilly Tour 60 km / 37 mi 08:30 09:35 Leitrim GAA £5 Optional pre-entry (fee £5)

For participants who are not members of Cycling Ireland there is an additional £1 fee for day insurance OR riders can obtain a Cycling Ireland Leisure Licence which will provide personal accident cover for the remainder of the year. There is an offer on for that Leisure Licence which is £10 (or €10) for those riders who have never had a Cycling Ireland licence in the past. Normal price £36. The insurance fee is to be paid on the day.

If you would like more information about the event, including access to the online entry please click on the link below. You can also email the club secretary Martin Grimley ( or alternatively you can give Martin a call on 07899 913865.

Mourne Sportive/Hill Tours Info & Online Entry

Patrick Withers (Admin Officer)

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