Giro d'Italia: Pretty in pink as cycle fever grips Northern Ireland
With just over two weeks to go until the Grande Partenza – Big Start – of the 97th Giro d'Italia cycle fever is gripping Northern Ireland.
Pink is the official colour of the world renowned road race and it seems everyone has been embracing the colour, as well as dusting down their own bicycles for a ride out in the sunshine.
Giro-themed pink food and cocktails can be ordered at a variety of our bars, and if you are up in Ballycastle, the world famous yellow man candy has temporarily been replaced with 'pink man'.
The Whiteabbey Spike public artwork has also been given a lick of pink paint, and there is even a flock of sheep living near the Giant's Causeway that sporting a candyfloss look makeover.
Farmer Sandra Hunter's Wicklow Cheviot ewes and lambs have been dyed pink to perhaps give the public and the Giro d'Italia riders a giggle as they make their way along the Causeway Coastal Route next month.
Sandra said: "The reason behind the pink dye is the race leader after each stage of the race is the wearer of the pink jersey, with the wearer of the pink jersey at the final stage considered the winner of the pink jersey, thereby the winner of the Giro d'Italia.
"Pink dyeing sheep is just not the norm in these parts and I'm not sure if the buyers of my lambs would appreciate purchasing them dyed pink. One thing's for sure, it would definitely make them stand out in the market saleyards."
Sandra added: "It's a bit of harmless fun for the Giro, it does brighten things up. T he dye is totally animal-friendly and will wash out with the rain, all traces of it will be cleaned off when their fleeces are removed at shearing time in the next month or so." Meanwhile, a host of well-known local faces have been digging through their photo albums for pictures of themselves as children on their bikes (see below).
As part of the build-up to the Giro d'Italia, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board is encouraging everyone to indulge in some old-fashioned nostalgia and delve into their memory boxes for a special childhood moment – when you first learned to ride a bike.