Skip to main content


The friendly Cycling Club in South Yorkshire
About Us
2016 News archive
Club Events
2017 Club Event Results
Open Events
Club Runs
Club Social Events
Club Committee Meetings
Club Course Maps
Club Records
Contact Us
Cycling Related Articles
Members Pen Profiles
Picture Gallery
Ride Etiquette
Winter Training Rides
White Rose League
Site Map
Rarnd Tarn 2015
WCG Hill Climb 2016
Here is a Pen Profile of one of the Wheelers newest members-read and be inspired to join as well !!

Cian O'Carroll

Age – Early 30’s

Lives – Darton

Rides  - Second hand Cannondale CAAD 8 which only cost me £100

Riding Since – 2012

About Me

Having played Rugby Union at Barnsley since being young, I’ve always been quite an active person, other sports I have enjoyed playing include squash and football, however a motorcycle accident in 2009 which resulted in a fairly significant shoulder injury meant my rugby days were pretty much numbered.  I stopped playing sports and put on about 3 stone in weight.  It was only following a photograph being taken on a family holiday that made me realise what I’d done. I’d also become a dad to Joseph and Molly in this time and didn’t want to be a “fat dad” who couldn’t run about and play. I knew I had to do something sports-wise, I just didn’t know what could replace the game I’d always played and loved.

As lots of other people will have done as well though, I was inspired to ride having watched Team GB’s success at the 2012 London Olympics.  I hadn’t ridden a bike at all really since I was a teenager, and had certainly never done it regularly, however I was lucky in that a work colleague decided to upgrade his bike, so I was able to relieve him of his old one for very little outlay.

I was aware of the Birdwell Wheelers already having seen various articles in The Barnsley Chronicle, but I thought that it was really for people who were at a much more advanced level than I was at, being a complete novice.  Most of the articles I had seen were reports of competitive events, and I knew I was nowhere near that level.  I just wanted to ride my bike really, lose some weight and enjoy it. And I was quite happy just riding about on my own really.

Fortunately Paul Heggie got in touch with me after I started using Strava to record my progress.  He convinced me that it wasn’t just competitive riding, however if I wanted to enter some then I could do, and even if I came last, so what? I would be improving by entering and every expert was once a complete novice anyway. I could also go on the Club Runs (which are basically just a load of like minded individuals enjoying their spare time).  There is “the fast group”, but no matter how slow you are, you won’t be left behind as there are plenty of others in the same boat. You’ll find that you just slot in with people riding at the same kind of pace that you do.

I’ve learned a lot more about cycling than I would have done if I hadn’t joined, and I’ve made some new friends.  It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money (although my wife does keep reminding me that if I want the latest, full carbon, top spec bike that it’ll cost me a new kitchen for her as well), but at the moment I’m happy to keep losing weight (2 ½ stone gone now in the past 8 months or so), improving my fitness, getting faster and just being out, even when it’s cold and wet. I couldn’t even ride 3 miles to start with, now I think nothing of doing ten times that amount just for a spin.

The Facebook page is also great, members always just put a post on there to see if anyone else fancies a ride out somewhere, and details of races and routes etc are also posted up.  There’s also plenty of banter to get involved in, and always someone to help out if you have queries about how to adjust your gears or whatever it may be that you’re having trouble with.  Your age doesn’t matter – there are members just out of school to those who claim their pension, both male and female.

For me though, it’s replaced what I’d lost when I stopped playing rugby – my fitness, a sense of belonging, a competitive side when I want it, and some good craic.