Most days cycling in Belfast to work, to the shops or back home is uneventful. But then it’s Giro d’Italia year in Belfast and magic things are happening. Even a small section of a simple journey can hold remarkable sights within the space of a few hundred metres.
Dunlop/Hume legacy is our chance to hoist Belfast to a unique place in cycling history
Is Northern Ireland about to squander a golden chance to promote its unique cycling heritage? Government agencies are ignoring a local anniversary of world significance as the Giro d’Italia Grande Partenza passes within yards of one of the birthplaces of modern cycling.
Two world firsts
On 18th May 1889, local cyclist Willie Hume took part in a series of races the old North of Ireland Cricket Club Grounds on the Ormeau Road. His safety bicycle (the direct ancestor to modern bikes) was fitted with pneumatic tyres, which were being used in competition for the first time anywhere in the world. Hume had purchased the tyres from John Boyd Dunlop, a Belfast-based Scottish veterinary surgeon, who’s development was the world’s first practical application of a pneumatic bicycle tyre.