In the last several years, cycling has seen a resurgence in numbers in Ireland not seen since the ‘fab four’ - Kelly, Roche, Kimmage and Early - were terrorising pelotons throughout Europe on a weekly basis. In order to cater for this new breed of weekend warriors either returning to the sport or just starting out, Orwell Wheelers Cycle Club have been holding an annual Randonnée event which pitched rider and machine against some of the toughest terrain in Ireland.

The genesis for the Randonnée was the annual club 100 Mile cycle that was held in early May to give members a chance to complete the traditional rite of passage of a "Century" ride. The decision was made to open the cycle to non-members in 2007, when under the direction of Eddy Lane the Orwell Randonnée made it's first appearance as a fundraiser for the Irish hospice foundation. 

Around this time the leisure scene was just beginning to take off, and some of our newer leisure members who had cycled many of the national sportives felt that their experience could be used to improve the event. When the 2010 edition of the Randonnée had to be cancelled at short notice a group of seven Orwell leisure cyclists took the opportunity to re-invent their own leisure cycle and add ingredients felt to be missing by some of the existing events. The “Magnificent 7” as they called themselves were: Denis Gleeson, John Hannin, Stephen Hayden, John Lanigan, Fergal O’Sullivan, Brendan Sheridan and John Twomey. 

The new Randonnée committee rescheduled the event for August of that year, and decided upon a course that would be testing while attracting cyclists to experience the wonders of the Dublin and Wicklow countryside. They quickly came up with a set of key words that became the backbone of the event that’s used to this day: fun, food, support, value and safety. Their first running of the Randonnée had close to 200 cyclists half of which were club members.

Update: the Randonnée is full!

The time has come again to see if you are up for the challenge of the Orwell Randonnée and to see if you can add your name to the coveted list of successful participants. In keeping with previous years this year promises to be the event not to be missed!

Plenty of photos from this year's highly successful Orwell Randonnée below in slideshow format!

Following another very successful running of the Orwell Randonnée in May, members of the organizing committee met with this year’s chosen charity recently to present the proceeds .

Answer the question. Yes or No? Are you ready for a challenge? Yes or No? Can you overcome some of the toughest roads in the Dublin and Wicklow mountains? Yes or No? Can you take on the notorious Wall, Sally Gap, Luggala and the Shay Elliot in one ride? 

Orwell Wheelers ran its hugely successful annual Randonnée on the 5th May, 2012 over a challenging route through the Wicklow Mountains. This event was again in support of the Irish Hospice Foundation and was the perfect warm-up for those taking part in the Wicklow 200 or indeed greater challenges such as the Marmotte/Etape!