Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland


Local cycling legend puts pen to paper

Isabel Woods who has recorded her record breaking exploits.LISBURN cycling legend, Isabel Woods, has finally put pen to paper, detailing her amazing record-breaking cycling achievements and giving an insight into life in Northern Ireland over the last eighty years.

Isabel, who turns 80 this month, is due to launch her book, 'Wheels of Change, at the Island Arts centre on November 26.

Isabel Woods. US47-115NM It looks back over Isabel's amazing life, which included setting four Irish and Northern Irish 'Place to Place' Records and becoming Long Distance cycling Champion in the 1950s.

Isabel held the 'Irish End to End Record - Mizen Head in Cork t o Fair Head in Antrim' for 52 years and was there to seeit broken by Rose Leigh from Zimbabwe in July last year. "If she had done the exact same course I would have felt worse," said Isabel, "but it was a shorter course so I didn't feel quite so bad!"

Isabel explained that she never intended to write a book and it was only when her record was broken that her friend May Farrar convinced her to record her memories in print.

"I would never have written a book if the record hadn't been broken," explained Isabel. "I would never even have considered it until May pushed me on it. She said she would come round every Monday to work on it so I thought I had better do my homework."

Isabel was registered visibly impaired in 2001, making it even more difficult for her to put her words down in print. "I used scraps of paper and a big pen at first, then copied it onto foolscap with a smaller pen so it would be easier for May to decipher," explained Isabel.

"We first went to the publisher last September," she continued, "and we handed the manuscript over in August this year, so it took less than a year to write."

'Wheels of Change' not only details Isabel's cycling achievements, it also includes tales of growing up in Belfast during the Second World War. Sorrows and joys are intermingled, good times and bad, and the story is seasoned with a dash of humour throughout. It also includes nearly 100 photographs.

The book will be launched in the Island Arts Centre on Wednesday November 26 between 7.30pm and 9pm and everyone is welcome to go along to the launch night.

'Wheels of Change' will be available, priced �10, from Easons, Lisburn Linen Centre, University Bookshop, Dave Kane Cycle Shop, Shanway Press on 9022 2070 or by post by contacting Mrs Isabel Woods, c/o Mrs May Farrar, 3 Plantation Road, Lisburn BT27 5BP.

Ulster Star