CYCLING is a major element of IronmanUK, which took place at the weekend.

Competitors faced a 112-mile bike ride and, in recognition of the high level of enthusiasm for the sport, this year’s route was updated to incorporate more locations and more challenges.

The new sections took the race into areas previously missed by the course, providing a welcome boost for tourism and local businesses and offering the very best of the natural scenery.

It’s little wonder that it’s earned the reputation of being a challenging race with some of the best spectator support and race atmospheres in Europe.

However, a love of cycling is nothing new to Bolton as a delve into the Bolton News archives reveals.

The picture (far, top left), taken in March 1990, shows 15 lucky Bolton newsboys and newsgirls taking delivery of their gleaming, new on the market mountain bikes after winning them in a raffle organised by the Bolton branch of the National Federation of Retail Newsagents.

Venture scouts George Irwen, 19, and Julian Goudge, 16, hit the headlines in August 1987 with the announcement that they were following a trail set by Hannibal. (far left).

They planned to cycle across the Alps using the same route along which the great military leader led 40,000 troops.

“We decided we wanted to go abroad and do something adventurous this summer,” said George, of Chorley New Road, Horwich.

Julian, who lived in Thornton Avenue, Heaton, said they had been practising on their mountain bikes in the Lake District.

The space age contraption (left, middle) was the work of former Bolton School pupil Stephen Hall.

Stephen, 31, and his two friends shared the £400 prize money for coming second in the British Cycling Bureau’s 1979 national design competition.

Their bike was built with a streamlined moulded plastic box frame.

BMXs were all the rage in 1984 and Gary Tonge, 13, was happy to demonstrate his skills at Kearsley Mount Community Centre fun day.

Also demonstrating their cycling skills – on four wheels this time – were these competitors in Bolton’s Mini Le Mans pedal car race in 1981. (above).

Heading from Land’s End to John O’Groats on their bikes in April 1993 was former Lance Corporal Lawrence Kendall (top right) and his friend Nigel Green.

The Little Lever lads were hoping to raise more than £1,000 in sponsorship for Wythenshawe Hospital’s New Heart – New Start appeal.

They aimed to complete 100 to 150 miles each day.

In contrast, members of Radcliffe Round Table were going nowhere fast (above right).

Thirty-four members took turns in keeping the saddles warm on the tandem, which was mounted on rollers.

Starting the first shift are (from left) Malcolm Hulme, Dave Johnson, Dave Fitton Derek Martin and Roger Bailey.

The money raised would go towards Christmas 1975 dinners and food parcels for local old folk.

Jonathan Keenan and Stuart Smith (above left) needed snow chains for their bike tyres in 1987 because they were going on a ride of a lifetime across the spectacular landscapes of Iceland.

They would spend three weeks riding coast to coast across 500 miles of tough, uncompromising terrain.

Jonathan said: “We have never tried this sort of expedition beforek, so it will be a new experience.

“We expect the main problem to be the terrain, as there are very few decent roads.

“Virtually the whole of the centre of Iceland is unpopulated. We will go for days on end without seeing other people.”

Jonathan, 22, whose parents lived in Kintyre Drive, Ladybridge, was a photography student at Manchester Polytechnic.

He added: “Iceland is an amazing place for photography. It was used as the training ground for astronauts because the landscape is roughly similar to that of the moon. Some of the views should be pretty spectacular.”

The plucky pair had been sponsored by a number of firms and had obtained the backing of Bury’s former champion cyclist Reg Harris, who was an Honorary Fellow at Manchester Polytechnic.