A chance to soak up some of the history and atmosphere of the shipyard that built the Titanic is on offer on September 18 as Sustrans holds an event in Northern Ireland to mark 15 years of the National Cycle Network.
Cyclists setting off from Newtownabbey, Bangor, Comber and Lisburn will converge on Belfast before heading to the Titanic Quarter of the city where they will get rare access to the drawing offices of Harland and Wolff. Then, after some lunch, they will ride to the Science Park for tea and cake, music powered by Paddy Bloomer’s cycle powered ‘contraption’, and there will be short tours of the Pump House and a birds-eye view of the Titanic’s original dry dock.
The four rides to Belfast are as follows:
Newtownabbey Ride: Route 93, starts at 10.15am, Monkstown Road/ Cashel Drive junction at the Monkstown start of the Newtownabbey Way.
This ride will travel down the Newtownabbey Way, along the Three Mile Water river valley, passing under the Bleach Green viaduct, then along the coastal Loughshore path. This is a 10 mile downhill and flat cycle ride.
Lisburn Ride: Route 9, starts at 9.30am at Lisburn Council offices.
This ride will travel alongside the River Lagan on the towpath, passing through the Lagan Valley Regional Park. This is a 16 mile flat cycle
Comber Ride: Route 99, starts 10am, Conber end of the Greenway.
This ride will travel alongside thte award-winning Comber greenway following the old railway line. This is a 10 mile, traffic-free corridor into the city.
Bangor Ride: Starts 9.30am, meet at the back of Pickie Fun Park
The scenic ride follows the coast to Belfast through Helen’s Bay and Holywood (mountain bikes recommended).
Patricia Wallace, a volunteer and community liaison coordinator for Sustrans in Northern Ireland, said: “This is the perfect way to celebrate 15 years of the National Cycle Network by getting out on it and enjoying what it has to offer. These rides will take in some great paths and beautiful scenery and we hope everyone has a lot of fun.”
There are over 800 miles of National Cycle Network in Northern Ireland and the Cycle to the City ride is part of a series of ‘Fresh Air Miles’ rides supported by Globe bikes and led by Sustrans volunteers. The rides are being run throughout the year across the UK to raise funds to further develop the National Cycle Network.
Each participant is asked to raise a minimum of £15 sponsorship or purchase a ticket for £10. All participants will be entered into a free prize draw to win a Globe bike.