On an archipelago often described as ‘wind swept’, Orkney is not a place where you would ever expect to be home to a small, but enthusiastic, community of cyclists.
The recent history of cycling on the island initially stems from a group of triathletes, who regularly set out on Sunday morning training rides as they prepared to compete in Ironman competitions. As the popularity of the sport began to grow, a 10 Mile time trial was set up by local enthusiast Andrew Wilson, to test the riders over the classic British distance. The local ‘race of truth’ continues to be a well attended event to this day.
Orkney’s first competitive outing at the Island Games for cycling came in 1997 when Torquil Clyde, Eion Cursiter and Bobby McLennan competed in the men’s races whilst Rosie Cursiter represented the county in the women’s time trial. Since then there has been regular representation at the biannual event with Clyde competing in the cycling competitions at an impressive eight games.
Although there have been various incarnations over the years, in late 2017 Orkney Cycling Club was formed with the intention of bringing together ‘all who cycle in Orkney’. In that short time, the club has been able to boast over one hundred members and in doing so has become one of the biggest clubs in the North of Scotland. The members regularly take part in weekend social rides, the aforementioned 10-mile time trial, Australian Pursuit Races, mountain bike rides and trips to Orkney’s various smaller isles. You may also spot the odd Orkney CC red jersey further afield as competitors regularly travel to time trials, cyclocross races, mountain bike trails and sportives across the country.
Fitting in with the friendly nature of cycling, Orkney CC regularly hosts rides for neighbouring cycling clubs and welcomes visiting tourists along on club rides for an opportunity to see the island from two wheels.