Cycling record to be marked 60 years on

Some relatives taking part are daughter Sheena Woods (left) and granddaughter Rosie (right) wearing jerseys that will be worn by participants, which has an image of Isabel Woods.
Some relatives taking part are daughter Sheena Woods (left) and granddaughter Rosie (right) wearing jerseys that will be worn by participants, which has an image of Isabel Woods.

Relatives of local cycling legend Isabel Woods will mark the anniversary of her famous record 60 years on by retracing her steps.

Isabel from Linoe Road Lisburn, now 80, holds a series of unbroken cycling records to her credit, many of which are more than a half a century old.

One of them was set on June 26, 1955 when she cycled 386 miles from Mizen Head in Cork to Fair Head in Antrim, the length of Ireland.

She completed the journey in 23 hours and three minutes and held the record for 52 years. In 2007 Rose Leigh Albeit, broke the record but on an 18 mile shorter course.

This month, Isabel’s relatives, some of whom have spent 18 months training for the journey, plan to complete the same trip finishing on the same date on June 27, 2015

Isabel said, “Some of the participants hope to complete this cycle in 11 days, others in six days and two in four days.

“The idea for this adventure occurred at Christmas 2013, it was meant to be a fun run for most.

“Many of the 11 day group have had very little cycling experience. Cycling to the local shops and back would have been their limit.

“Many taking part are in their 50’s and 60’s, and a few did not even own a bicycle.”

Some have trained hard for the event while others will join this event for only brief periods along the way.

Each group aims to arrive at Fair Head together, where they will be met by the cycling star herself.

The event will raise money for Macmillan and the Boom Foundation.

Isabel wanted the local Boom Foundation to benefit because of her friend May Farrar who has been fighting a very rare cancer called Angiosarcoma (soft tissue).

It was May, who encouraged Isabel to write her autobiography Wheels of Change in 2008 and she was also the driving force behind the publication of her memories in 2010 which allowed cyclists from the 50’s and 60’s to contribute to this worthwhile book which captured the spirit of cycling down the years.

Isabel is still viewed as one of the top female cyclists of her time. Among the records recognised by the Northern Ireland Cycling Federation, include: Belfast to Dublin in 1953 (103 miles) four hours 56 minutes; in 1954 Belfast to Dublin and back (206 miles) in 11 hours 47 minutes; Dublin to Derry in 1956 in seven hours 24 minutes (147.5miles).