20 Apr 2016
Online entries have now opened for the Giant’s Causeway Coast Sportive in association with Chain Reaction Cycles Flagship Store in Belfast. This leisure event is one of the biggest road cycling events in Northern Ireland and hopes to attract 1,400 participants in 2016 to the Causeway Coast and Glen’s area.
The event’s start and finish line is in Ballycastle which will become a hive of activity on Saturday 10th September as the participants get ready to tackle their chosen route.
Event organisers Outdoor Recreation NI, a not for profit organisation charged with promoting outdoor activities, run this event in order to showcase the area to visitors and to drive cycle tourism in Northern Ireland. Last year’s event injected an impressive economic benefit of £182k into the local economy.
The event not only provides participants with a great opportunity to cycle along one of the most spectacular stretches of coastline in Europe and part of the 2014 Giro d’Italia route but has also been created with every level of cyclist in mind. The shortest route which is 35 miles is an excellent way for beginners to complete their first sportive whereas the two longer routes of 80 miles and 115 miles are ideal for the more serious cyclists with testing hills of up to 20% gradients.
To capture the area’s most famous attractions, the shortest route, the ‘Causeway Coaster’, takes in Bushmills Distillery, Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge, the Dark Hedges and the Giant’s Causeway UNESCO World Heritage Site. The most popular 80 mile route brings participants through the mythical Glens of Antrim before following the spectacular Antrim Coast Road with the option of taking on or bypassing the gruelling Torr Head Road. The longest route at 115miles in length incorporates both of these shorter distances and provides the ultimate cycling challenge which is widely regarded as one of the toughest sportive routes in Ireland.
Beverley Pierson from Outdoor Recreation NI, who organises the event, is delighted with the success of it since it first began in 2011 and stated “Year on year event numbers are growing and last year we had 23% of participants coming to participate from outside of Northern Ireland showing that the event can be considered as one of the key drivers for tourists coming to the area.”
Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council are a keen supporter of the event. Their Mayor, Councillor Michelle Knight-McQuillan attended last year’s event and commented “Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council support the event and look forward to welcoming cyclists and the organisers to the Borough. The event has a wealth of support from those cycling and those involved in tourism to support events such as these coming to the area. The success of the event is going from strength to strength and while everyone thoroughly enjoys themselves on their cycling journey, as the scenery is some of the best in the world, an important key message is also the development of health fitness”.
Chain Reaction Cycles Flagship Store in Belfast continue to sponsor the event and retail manager, Neil McGuigan explains why him and his team love being a part of it, “For the fourth year in a row Chain Reaction Cycles Boucher Road Store is very proud not just to sponsor the Giants Causeway Coast Sportive, but be involved on the day with mechanical support prior and out on the route. This event is definitely one of the stand out sportives listed in the cycling calendar and we look forward to seeing you all on the day whether on the road or prior in the event village. The Belfast Chain Reaction Retail store team will also be on hand during the build up to the day for advice or even for that extra bar of nutrition for the day.”
Although the event is not considered a charity event, organisers have teamed up with Marie Curie Cancer Care and Action Medical Research to encourage participants to fundraise as an extra motivator when tackling the tough hills on the day.