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The Shetland Wheelers celebrated their Silver Anniversary in style last week with a host of well attended events. Their aim to get folk on bikes, more than exceeded their ambitions.


Monday

On Monday, 21 cyclists turned out for Ladies Night on a beautiful evening for cycling. Flat calm and sunshine allowed the ladies to choose either of 3 routes, round the town and out to Greenhead, round the Black Gaet loop or further afield around Tingwall. It was such a success, the Shetland Wheelers plan to have a repeat evening on the 25th August.

Organiser for the night Caroline Simpson said “I was delighted with the turnout for the Ladies night and everybody chose a route that they felt was manageable but challenging.  It shows that there is definitely an appetite for this type of group riding and we are keen to do more in the future”


Tuesday

The Laxfirth time trial saw a record turnout with 17 riders tackling the 12mile course of 2 laps round Laxfirth. A stiff Northerly wind provided difficulty on an already tough course but it was Aberdeen based Shetlander, Joe Nicolson who took the honours with the fastest time.

Joe Nicolson – 27min49sec
Carlos Riise - 28:21
Robin Atkinson - 28:22
Pete Fenwick - 28:46
Colin Smith - 28:52
Scott Jamieson - 29:26,
Andy Aitken - 29:55

John W Simpson 31:36,
David Johnson - 32:36

Ewan McGuire - 34:41

Mike McGuire - 35:07,
Guy Smith - 35:16,
Caroline Simpson - 35:24

Ryan Leith - 35:41,
George Smith - 36:43

Sanna Aitken - 38:34,
Elizabeth Gifford - 51:59


Wednesday

On Wednesday evening the club recreated the first ever club ride from 1989. After some speeches and celebratory cake, 28 cyclists (on 27 bikes) lined up outside the bowling green for a repeat photo from 25years previous.

This was a very special moment as Mike McGuire, David Johnson, Neil Pottinger, Jennie Atkinson and Robin Atkinson were also present on the first ever club run and chose to ride the same bikes too. In 1989, Robin was on the back of a tandem as he was only 9yrs old, this time Robin was promoted to pilot on the same tandem with his mum on the back as stoker.

They all set off on a lap of the town before looping round Tingwall and back for more cake.


Thursday

Thursday evening the club made history by staging its first ever British Cycling registered Road Race. The format was to ride a handicapped road race over 24miles. Based on previous results, groups are set off at timed intervals with the fastest last and first person across the line wins.

16 competitors lined up for 4 laps of Laxfirth Loop in a challenging wind. Aberdeen district regional development officer Peter Clark was in attendance to overlook proceedings.

The first group to set off were Ryan Leith, Guy Smith and George Smith. 13mins later the final group of Carlos Riise, Joe Nicolson , Colin Smith and Robin Atkinson were in hot pursuit. On the 4th lap the fast group got within 3mins of the lead and picking up a few others on the way, the pace was quickened to try and catch the front. Within a mile from the finish, Ryan Leith and Guy Smith were still out front and looking to challenge for the win. But cramp thwarted Ryan’s challenge which left Guy to try a solo 1mile break for the line.
Unfortunately he was caught on the final corner by chasers Robin Atkinson, Colin Smith, Andy Aitken and Ewan McGuire to set up an exciting sprint finish. Robin took up the initial charge and thinking he’d got it wrapped, looked over his right shoulder to see Colin flying up the outside to win it by just half a wheel. Ewan finished an impressive 3rd just ahead of Andy.


Saturday

The Simmer Dim Cycle Sportive returned for another successful year with 22 riders challenging themselves over either 15 or 50miles. This was a non-competitive event and it saw many riders pushing themselves to a distance in which they had never ridden before. The riders were joined at the start by twins Fallon and James Winson (2) who the wheelers will be keeping a close eye on for the future.

Both routes began together at Clickimin before circling around Lerwick with a police escort. The 50mile cyclists headed up to Voe before turning back through a very challenging section to Bixter and back to Lerwick via Tingwall. First home was a strong group of Ewan McGuire, Colin Smith, Andy Aitken and Robin Atkinson in a time of 2hr38min. Caroline Simpson was the first lady home not long after.
The 15-mile circuit meanwhile followed the same route around Lerwick but skipped the trip North and instead cut through Tingwall. Joyce Adamson was fastest round in a time of 1hr09min shortly followed by Sara Leith.

Robin Atkinson said “Sportives are becoming ever popular in the UK as cyclists like to be challenged without the notion of racing. And with the amount of hills in Shetland, even short routes can be tough”
The Shetland Wheelers would like to say a special thanks to the Police Bikes and the Shetland Radio Club for their assistance in running the event.


Sunday

Glorious weather greeted the wheelers on Sunday for their final event of the week, a 10mile time trial in Tingwall. Ridden on the same course since 1990, riders are set off at intervals and timed against the clock. Despite obvious tired legs, there were some fast times with some recording PB’s over 10miles.

Times recorded:

Alastair Kirk 34min24sec
Caroline Simpson 27:16
Carlos Riise 22:26
Colin Smith 22:36
David Johnson 25:44
Fraser Henderson 29:27 (PB)
George Smith 28:55 (PB)
Guy Smith 28:23 (PB)
John William Simpson 24:59
Mike McGuire 28:17
Robin Atkinson 23:13


Reflecting on a successful anniversary, club development officer Robin Atkinson said, “We had such a great week, the weather was kind and so many people got out on their bikes. I think that a series of events like this has been very inspirational and hopefully given us enough ground to develop the club further to a wider variety of cyclists. Our rider of the week was undoubtedly Ewan McGuire, he was on great form throughout and showed us that a younger generation is coming through for the future.”

Another cyclist gaining from the whole experience is new member Elizabeth Gifford “It’s been a good few days on da bike. It was difficult coming to the Wheelers to begin with but they have all been very supportive, I have really felt a part of something. I also feel better for all the exercise”

The Shetland Wheelers would like to thank all the helpers and marshals who came out for support, without which the events would never have gone ahead.