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Cycling campaigner's family in fundraising ride

Published 24/08/2015

The campaigner cycled to work in office wear and was passionate about the benefits of the bicycle as a form of everyday transport
The campaigner cycled to work in office wear and was passionate about the benefits of the bicycle as a form of everyday transport

Relatives of a well-known cycling campaigner are to don suits in his memory as they pedal around Northern Ireland fundraising to combat the disease which killed him.

Tom McClelland cycled to work in office wear and was passionate about the benefits of the bicycle as a form of everyday transport.

His children are set to cover 425 miles around the perimeter of Northern Ireland to raise money for lung disease.

Daughter Sarah McClelland said: "Cycling to work is becoming more common, but dad was doing it well before it became popular, and he became well-known for cycling in his office wear.

"He was one of the earliest advocates of 'utility cycling' in Northern Ireland; on one memorable occasion, he and mum even cycled very stylishly on a tandem to a garden party at Hillsborough - wearing a suit and dress, of course.

"By wearing suits on this ride, we're just trying to underline one of his key messages - that the bike is a convenient, healthy and environmentally-friendly way of getting from A to B."

Mr McClelland, who lived in Dundrod, Co. Antrim, died 20 months ago, aged 64, from the rare lung disease, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

He was a popular and well-respected environmentalist and cycle campaigner; played an active role in a number of cycle and conservation groups, and was a former chair of the Ulster Wildlife Trust and the Northern Ireland Cycling Initiative.

The family have dubbed the five-day ride Cycling Suits NI. They leave Lisburn this morning.

Son James said: "Dad had so much energy and enthusiasm for everything he did; it was very difficult for us to watch such a strong character being slowly weakened by his lung condition.

"Cycling round Northern Ireland will be nowhere near as tough as the ordeal he had to endure, but we have been inspired by his strength in the face of adversity."

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