In April of this year, VC Iveagh entered into a Sofa to Saddle scheme in association with ABC Council. The idea and concept was simply, to provide a structured and progressive training program, suitable for all, no matter the level of competence. The end goal, was for the participants to complete a 70 km sportive, on Sunday 18th June around the scenic roads of Co. Armagh. Using the council driven online entry system, participants signed up and were given the choice of partnership with a number of local clubs.  As a community spirited iniative, VC Iveagh under heavy stewardship of our club secretary  Mervyn McKeown got involved and gladly accepted nine willing entrants to start the training program on Wednesday 18th April 2017.


Forming what we felt were some rudimentary requirements, the first night involved an introduction to cycling equipment and what should be considered before heading out on the road. Following on were some basic cycling skills in a controlled environment, including some basic positioning, group communication and hand signals

Our group quickly fell into a committed routine of Wednesday night and Saturday morning rides. Initially short rides concentrated on safety, cycling techniques and group riding and as the weeks progressed, instruction turned to cadence and the correct use of gears , braking safely, effects and considerations of weather, cornering, descending and the bit everyone loved the most climbing.  Each week the routes were varied to introduce new challenges aimed at building strength and endurance, ultimately bringing everyone closer to completing their goal. As the weeks progressed and confidence grew, with a few more experienced club riders,  we were able to facilitate two runs on most days catering for all levels of competence.

A short 10 weeks after the program began, all nine who started, took to the roads from Craigavon and headed out into the Armagh countryside. Accompanied and supported by a number of club members Martin, Laura, Hanna, Wendy, Jenny and Clare all took on and completed the 70km route while Ruth, Stewart and Richard took on the fiesty 100km route. This was a great achievement with most having done very little on a bicycle before joining the scheme. Having completed the Sofa to Saddle venture, gained experience, made new friends and alliances, all nine are now eagerly awaiting the arrival of their club kit.

Our thanks to those from the ABC Council whom have driven this community inniative and partnership also to all nine whom took part and have since come on board as full club members. Finally to all our club members whom assisted and to Mervyn and William in particular whom made this a main focus on the club’s behalf.

Well done all and a very warm welcome to Martin, Laura, Hanna, Wendy, Jenny, Clare, Ruth, Stewart and Richard.

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