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Monday 5 December 2016

Whoa Nelly -- fans gear up to break world record

Published 17/10/2011 | 05:00

Mary O’Keeffe, Dora Hodginson, Julia Ruth, Liza Moore, Evelyn McRedmond, Helen Bowell and Sabrina Ruth, all from
Abbeyleix, Co Laois, at the world record attempt for the largest gathering of High Nelly bicycles yesterday
Mary O’Keeffe, Dora Hodginson, Julia Ruth, Liza Moore, Evelyn McRedmond, Helen Bowell and Sabrina Ruth, all from Abbeyleix, Co Laois, at the world record attempt for the largest gathering of High Nelly bicycles yesterday
Chloe Keane, Fiona Phelan and Ciara Clooney at the event

A world record 348 High Nelly bicycle enthusiasts saddled up to celebrate a little bit of nostalgia yesterday.

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Motorists gazed out their windows as enthusiasts dressed up as delivery boys, gardai and postmen from yesteryear to cycle their elaborate collection of High Nellys on a five-mile stretch of road between Durrow and Abbeyleix in Co Laois.

There were tandems, delivery bikes, butcher bikes, cargo bikes, World War Two bikes with rifle holsters, gents' and ladies' bikes, even teenage bikes (yes, Raleigh briefly produced a slightly smaller version during the 1930s).

According to those behind the new Guinness world record -- www.highnelly.ie -- this was just a little bit of old-fashioned fun.

"Would this have happened during the boom? I don't think so," said event planner Marty Mannering.

"And here we are now and everyone is looking for something for a bit of craic and community spirit."

The old High Nelly design is a classic that has stood the test of time.

Its Dutch designed 'sit-up-and-beg' posture -- for constant use -- and its mass production from the late nineteenth century until the 1970s has made it a cornerstone of bicycle history, even folklore.

And now, in an age where people are reverting to the simpler things in life, it's back with a vengeance.

Mr Mannering, basking in the glory of a hugely successful event, said that the resurgence of High Nelly enthusiasm was to be expected.

He claims to have sold lots of them since the beginning of 2009.

Irish Independent

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