CUCHULAINN Ladies Cycling club are using pedal power to inspire more Louth women to get bitten by the biking bug!
The world of competitive cycling might have always been a male dominated sport, but this group of local women are certainly turning that on its head.
Seven years ago there was just one member of the club and today they proudly boast almost 70 members, made up of a diverse group of women of all ages, experiences, and levels of fitness.
There are, of course, a few serious athletes, women such as Eve McCrystal, who compete at a very high level nationally, those who make a lot of sacrifices for their sport, and inspire others.
But as The Argus found out, most of the women in the club are ordinary in the very best sense of the word. Many are married, most work outside the home, and many still have small children, teenagers, or elderly parents.
Some struggle to manage their weight and all struggle to find time to do everything that has to be done in an increasingly busy world, but all of them tell how cycling has improved their lives in ways that they didn't expect.
Among the younger members is Leaving Cert student Lisa Neary, who explains how taking up the sport impacted her life.
'Even though I never had a great passion for cycling as a small child, once I was bitten by the cycling bug, and the sense of freedom, there was no going back,' said Lisa.
'I discovered that cycling is not just good for your health, there is a major social aspect to it too, which has made it all the more enjoyable. Whether its chatting along the road or stopping for a cup of coffee, I love to catch up with the fellow club members every weekend.'
She added: 'No matter how different we may all seem, when we are sharing the road, there is one thing we have in common – our passion for cycling.'
New member Martina Sheils Carey explained: 'I decided to take up cycling under the gentle encouragement of two Cuchulainn ladies and now I am hooked.'
As her fitness progressed, Martina was able to complete longer mileage, and alongside hundreds of cyclists she completed the 'Tour of Louth' and hopes to take part in the event every year.
'Joining the club has made me feel fitter and healthier, and I am enjoying the friendship I have built up doing a sport I enjoy.'