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Integrity Cycling Club attracting members from across east Antrim

A cycling club which was originally started in Ballyclare has expanded since its formation four years ago to now take in members from Carrickfergus, Belfast and further afield.

Integrity Cycling Club was established by Gavin Martin in May 2017 and was initially set up and based in Ballyclare.

Following a period of growth, the club now extends further afield, taking in members from Carrick and across the greater Belfast area.

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Speaking to the Times, club member Annmarie McNamara said: “The club ethos is a group of friends who want to cycle together with a no drop policy, no one left behind policy.

New members are always welcome.

“It is also a club for all (religions, race, gender). Everyone is welcome, meaning we are not restricted to a specific geographical area.

“The club tries to cater for all member needs and levels while the need is there for the members attending.”

There are currently 72 members in the south Antrim club, aged between 16 and 70.

They cycle in seven sections: Cruiser group (13-15), Medio group (15-17 ), Veloce group (17-20), Veloce plus (21 plus ), Beginners’ Ladies Only group, Bun Run social group and the Mountain Bike group.

The club, which does not have a committee, has been set up as a leisure group and currently it does not field cyclists in competitions.

However, the club does participate in charity fundraising events.

Annmarie explained: “As this is a leisure club, we don’t enter competitions. Although in saying this, we support local sportives held for charities such as Roddensvale 100 for Roddensvale School, Integrity 100 (cancer charity connected to a late club member) and various charity fundraising events that may have a connection with members.

“We’ve also raised £1,500 for the MS Society.”

As with many sporting organisations across Northern Ireland, Integrity had to suspend club meets during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

As restrictions started to ease, the club experienced a period of growth as more people took up cycling.

Annmarie stated: “During Covid-19 the group club rides were obviously suspended in accordance with the current guidelines at the time.

“Members maintained comradery and friendships virtually through coffee/beer catch up, social quizzes and virtual group cycles using Swift.

“As a result of the pandemic and the focus on mental and exercise, our club member base grew.”

The community-orientated club also caters for visually impaired cyclists, with Annmarie adding: “Within the club we have two partially sighted members. These members have tandems to accommodate their needs.

“The teamwork within the club lends itself to pilot for these members so that they can safely be included into group club cycling.”

Detailing the club’s hopes for the year ahead, Annmarie explained: “The aspirations for the club would be to keep growing so we can form as many groups as possible to accommodate all levels.

“We hold meets on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays and new members are welcome anytime. There is no membership fee to join the club. Members are required to get insurance and purchase a club jersey.”

For more information about the club, check out the Integrity Cycling Club public page on Facebook.

Any clubs which are interested in being featured in this new series, please get in touch with Russell Keers - email [email protected]

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