Hair cuts !

Back in the late eighties a bike race was a good indicator of what the latest trend in haircuts was . Former National champion and current surgeon in St James’ hospital Dublin , Julian Dalby was the first to sport the dyed blond look complete with a diamond pattern shaved into the back of his head . Both Declan Lonergan and Declan Byrne had pony-tails and Ray had a mullet . Fitzy had the middle parting with the overhang  to the ears look down to a tee , whilst ‘Mellow’ had the longest hair in the bunch .

Then at the Ras or even the Junior tour the likes of Paul Jennings , Richard Wooles and the rest of the Welsh team who were identified by their middle initial as they were all called Anthony Jones , arrived to sign on with hair gel and brylcream which launched another new trend .

These were the glory days of Kelly and Roche and the average age of license holders must have been in or about nineteen to twenty years of age . The smell of hair gel mixed with deep heat was instantly recognisable as the sign of a packed dressing room or back of a van before a race . Cycling was hugely popular amongst teenagers as they all wanted to be superstars like Kelly and Roche .

Fast forward to today however and the haircuts have changed greatly . The most common sight at a race nowadays is a sensible number two or three all over . Or over the remnants of what used to be . A few juniors like Sam and Philip Lavery are keeping the hair gel tradition in force but they are well outnumbered by the number two brigade . The eighties teenagers have grown up , had families , established themselves in their chosen career and are now back on the bike in force . They are keeping up the numbers at races each Sunday .

Nowadays the average age of cyclists in Ireland seems to be well up in the high thirties , which is a concern for the future of the sport . Whilst juniors like Sam give great hope for the future the sheer lack of numbers at underage and junior races seems to reflect the result of the Wii playstation generation . In 1988 we rode the junior tour in a bunch of almost two hundred , with most riders being Irish , last year there were fifty six competitors only seventeen of whom were Irish .

The IVCA is the Association which caters for Veterans over forty and seems to be ten times better organised than Cycling Ireland . They must surely be looking forward to the glut of new members heading their way over the next ten years . But where will this leave the general racing side of the sport  ? The leisure side is going from strength to strength with events like ‘The Sean Kelly tour ‘ anticipating over two thousand entrants in only it’s second year . But race fields are just managing to hold their own ,  mainly due to the over thirty brigade .

For now we’ll just have to wait and see what happens and in the meantime I’m off to the new Egyptian Barber down town to get my hair cut , a number two back and sides , four on top and a bit of hair gel to keep me young !



4 thoughts on “Hair cuts !

  • April 21, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    Hello Barry, I am here in work enjoying your website which is great and really looks very professional. It was Martin Keane who told me about your new revamped site and I must admit it looks great. Best to all the family. Josephine.

  • April 21, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    Just read this weeks installment, its a sad but true fact that amateur cycling is in decline in Ireland, but it seems to me that its like what happened to the catholic church, its being destroyed from within its own ranks. Eighteen years ago I stopped cycling and hadn’t been to an amateur race since, I recently brought my three sons to see a senior a,b race hoping to spark an interest in a sport that had enriched my teenage years, but to my amazement, the only thing that has changed in the last eighteen years are the bikes. Everything else is the same, infact worse, the old water bottle showers are still in use, the mobile four wheeled changing rooms also still present, Half naked men changing by the road side, great eyefull for the females present, but it’s 2008. THE GRASS ROOTS NEED TO GET THEIR FINGER OUT & PUSH THE PADDY ATTITUDE ASIDE OR ELSE !!! WHO KNOWS ???

  • April 22, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    You must have a picture of Ray’s mullet somewhere……….

  • June 4, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    i hope julian did’nt tell you he’s a surgeon at st james..or i’ll have to give him another clip on the ear…


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