A Club For All Ages

Post date: Jun 25, 2018 3:1:54 PM

"By Shay O'Toole - Sun. 24th June 2018)

Over the last few years the weekly notes section has reported on a variety of activities and events promoted by Lakeside Wheelers. Examples of this include racing, leisure cycling, mountain biking, cyclocross, youths, juniors and the Sprocket Rocket initiative which was a very popular beginners programme organised by club members for several years.

Whilst all of these are vital aspects of the club and are a significant part of what makes Lakeside Wheelers one of the best cycling clubs in Ireland, there is another very unique side to the club. This involves about 15 members who meet at least three times a week for what is mostly a very leisurely cycle.

What makes this group of very experienced cyclists unique is the fact that they are all either retired or semi-retired and range in age from mid 60’s to early 80’s, yes, you read it correctly, early 80’s!!! However, do not underestimate these guys who would probably put most of the younger Wheelers to shame when it comes to kilometres cycled annually.

Last weekend the PRO joined this select group of riders for the Sunday spin, a chat and of course, the obligatory coffee stop. So, on a beautiful sunny morning the lads gathered with all of the other Wheelers and departed the clubhouse for their normal 80km spin. Within the club these lads are affectionately known as the “older guys” or in some cases the “Jimmy” group which is a reference to the man who is synonymous with the annual Mallorca trip which will be discussed later. However, the lads in question have their own pet name and refer to themselves as the “Mobile Men’s Shed”.

Thankfully Lakeside Wheelers is not ageist and this is reflected in the fact that this very senior cohort of members are often the first to respond when the club calls out for volunteers for any of the events which it organises. This was the case only last week when the lads turned out in force to help marshal the National Criterium race staged in Mullingar town centre and their assistance is always much appreciated by the event organisers.

Now, back to the Mallorca connection! About 15 years ago one of the pivotal members of the group, Jimmy Marshall, organised a trip to Porto Pollenca in the northern part of this cycling paradise and to this day he has returned each year with a group for a week’s cycling in May. Not only do the lads return to Mallorca, but they return to the same hotel and bike rental shop where they started off all those years ago. As a result of this connection many other members of Lakeside Wheelers have benefited from reduced rates in both of these places thanks to the network established by the original “Jimmy” group.

John and Ollie enjoying a relaxed coffee stop in Santa Margalida, Mallorca recently.

However, not all of their cycling is in the Med as this energetic gang can be found attending many of the sportives around Ireland during the summer. They are due to head south in the coming weeks to participate in the 180km Ring of Kerry cycle for which they will be more than ready. This is due to their regular weekly spins up and down the Old Rail Trail and along the roads of Westmeath no matter what the weather conditions. Last Sunday’s spin took the group to Tullamore via Tyrellspass and Rahugh then back home via Kilbeggan, Rahinmore and Dalystown. It was an extremely enjoyable cycle at a pace that was in no way slow as they kept a very respectable average speed of 24KpH. Thanks to you all for the company and here’s wishing the Mullingar Mobile Men’s Shed many more years of safe and happy cycling.

PS: It was fantastic to see every one of the lads kitted out in their Lakeside Wheelers club gear on the day as it looks great in a group and is also very visible for motorists to see them on the road.

Well done to you all.

Liam Kenny, Frank Darcy, Ollie Gallagher, Mick Donoghue, Jimmy Marshall, John Culligan, Joe Brady and Sean Magee. The Lakeside Wheelers Seniors group.