Over 1300 cyclists took part in the annual Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive on Saturday 10th September, making it the most successful year of the event so far and one of Ireland’s largest leisure cycling events.
The cycle event started and finished in Ballycastle and offered participants a choice of three routes around the stunning Causeway Coast and Glens of Antrim.
The organiser of the event, Beverley Pierson of Outdoor Recreation NI, was delighted with the event’s success. She said: “Record numbers of participants took part this year and we were blessed with sunny weather.
“In online reviews, participants expressed how they were taken with the beauty of the coast, hills and glens as well as lavishing praise on the smooth organisation of the event as a whole.
“Volunteers from the Causeway Cycle Club are a huge contributing factor to the success of the event as well as funding from Tourism Northern Ireland under the National Tourism Events Sponsorship Scheme and Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council under the Tourism and Recreation Events Fund.”
The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Alderman Maura Hickey, attended the event, welcoming hundreds of cyclists across the finish line, and afterwards enthused: “It’s a fabulous sight to see so many people coming to Ballycastle and the wider council area from throughout Ireland and further afield.
“The Council are proud to have supported and funded this event, enabling visitors to explore our beautiful landscape on two wheels.”
The event attracts participants from around the world, with cyclists travelling from USA, Australia, England and Scotland to take part as well as a significant contingent from the Republic of Ireland. Initial estimates suggest the economic benefits of the cycle event to the area is in excess of £220,000.
Lorna Huggins of Ballyvoy Camping Barn, located just outside Ballycastle, said: “Accommodation in the area was fully booked on the weekend of the sportive and Ballyvoy Camping Barn was filled with cyclists from the Republic of Ireland.
“The atmosphere in Ballycastle was so vibrant all weekend also. This cycle event is such an important tourist event for the restaurants, pubs and accommodation providers in the area especially as it takes place outside the main summer season.”
The event is organised by Outdoor Recreation NI in association with Chain Reaction Cycles Flagship Store Belfast. Outdoor Recreation NI is a not-for-profit organisation whose role is to develop, manage and promote outdoor recreation across Northern Ireland.
To make the day even more enjoyable for participants, event sponsors Tayto, Acti Snack, High5, Sportif Magazine, Volvic Water, Whites Oats and Muller Rice provided lots of goodies for the cyclists after they finished the event.
Visit the event website www.giantscausewaycoastsportive.com to take a look at photographs from the event and to find out more information on the 2017 event as it becomes available.