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40th Anniversary - The Interviews - Eddie Tyrrell

posted 24 Apr 2016, 14:27 by Kevin Monaghan   [ updated 1 May 2016, 11:42 ]
(By Shay O'Toole - Sun. 24th April 2016)   
This week sees the start of a series of interviews with four members who represent the 40 years of cycling in Mullingar.

First up is Ed Tyrell who joined the club as a junior and as he explains, enjoyed several years of racing and friendship in Lakeside Wheelers down through the years.

PRO… What age were you when you took up cycling?

Ed… I have always loved bikes and cycling, like many kids in the eighties I was really into BMX. I was about 6 or 7 when I started trying out tricks and jumps. It was when I moved to Mullingar aged 11 that I became interested in road cycling. That was the height of the Kelly/Roche era and there were races on the TV, the speeds at which they raced really got caught my interest and two of the best pros in the world at that time were Irish. I worked Saturdays, saved up, and bought a Raleigh Racer.

PRO…What was the club called then?

Ed… We rode in the colours of Team Cook Electric, Seamus McGowan and the then committee secured sponsorship from the ESB. We had a club mini bus and raced all over the country. The bus was full every week such was the interest in cycling. Every member who travelled in the bus has one common memory, the diesel fumes.

PRO… What are your greatest memories of that time?

Ed… Without question, racing. We raced all season long, often twice a week. There were Sunday races and race leagues midweek. The National Champs was a big race, you had to qualify through the Regional Championships. It was a big deal when you qualified. The Nationals were held on closed roads in Mondello Park or The Phoenix Park and this race was always fast and furious. Team Cook Electric was always represented in the National Champs. Another big racing weekend for Team Cook Electric was the Ballinrobe 3 Day. We’d camp out in a local school for the weekend while some unfortunate senior members had to babysit us, a gang of underage cyclists!!! (They had their work cut out). They were great times.

PRO… How often are you out on the bike these days?

Ed… Not enough!

PRO… Who was the best rider you ever rode with? 

Ed… There have been a few, locally The McGowan brothers, Dara and Tommy were really good bike racers and Aidan Lyons from Robinstown was a natural talent. Aidan has gone on to some great things in Australia. He has competed with some big cycling names and rode in some bigger races down under. Morgan Fox from Athlone CC was the same age as me so we banged elbows week in week out. Morgan went on to ride as a Pro in Europe and won the Irish National Championships Elite Men’s Road Race in 1997. I also knew John Sheehan who Sean Kelly once called “the fastest man in Ireland”, he lived across the road from my aunt in Dublin. John brought me to a few races in Dublin like the Tour of Fingal where I serviced the Le Junes team for the week. John raced for the Irish Team in The Nissan Classic, he brought me out on the odd spin too.

PRO… Are you looking forward to the 40th celebration night?

Ed… It will be a good night and I hope to see some of the Team Cook Electric riders back for the night that’s in it, as well as all members of Lakeside Wheelers out in force.

PRO… Where do you see Lakeside Wheelers in the next 40 years?

Ed… In the eighties and early nineties there were young riders bringing home prizes every week and it seems that the current bunch of underage Wheelers are doing the same now. It would be fantastic to see these underage Wheelers develop into good junior and senior racers. There are also kids riding on the track and competing off road too. Ladies racing is an area where Lakeside Wheelers have also gained a strong reputation and the Ladies squad are regularly in the prizes.

Sportive riding in the club is as strong as when I joined all those years ago. Members take part in events all over Ireland and indeed Europe with a bunch of very tough Wheelers even taking part in Paris Brest Paris 2015. It’s the oldest, and at 1200km, one of the longest bike races in the world.

Over the next few years I would hope the Club continues to grow and that cycling remains popular.  The Royal Canal tow path and The Greenway are great amenities for local cyclists of all abilities to enjoy. There is also a rebirth of BMX around the town so I would hope to see the club embrace all codes of cycling in the future. Cycling Ireland has had World Champions on the Velodrome and the BMX track in the last few years, maybe Lakeside Wheelers can produce a champion or two of its own.

PRO… Ed, thanks very much for doing this interview and get back in the saddle ASAP.

Eddie Tyrell competing in this year's Cyclocross league
Eddie Tyrell competing in this year's Cyclocross league
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