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About the Book


This book tells the story of Ireland's greatest bike race which was formally named “RÁS TAILTEANN” from its beginning in 1953 but has always been informally referred to as ‘The RÁS’. It is largely written by one of the sports greatest volunteers, the late Jim Traynor who died in 2003, and is now published by his wife Bridie as her tribute to Jim and their lifelong love of cycle sport.

Jim became fascinated with road racing as a teenager in Newry and joined the Newry Wheelers club. The highlight of his competitive career was his participation in RÁS TAILTEANN during the sixties and seventies. Initially his main involvement was as a competitor in road events but he then became involved in organisation and for many years was the club's main event promoter, with responsibility for the Tour of Ulster during the 1960s. He was still a member at the time of his death.  

Jim began his contribution to The RÁS in the early 1970s and performed a range of useful functions until in more recent times he focussed on the position of Chief Judge, in which role his decisions were rarely questioned and hardly ever challenged. Jim's reputation on The RÁS led to him also being in demand by other event organisers all over Ireland and there was nowhere too distant for him to travel to from start to end of the year.   

Like most people involved in cycling, Jim also worked for the sport in a variety of capacities. He is credited as being the man who first introduced a computer-based result system to stage racing, using a basic programme written by himself at a Tour of Ulster. He helped to set up and became a member of the Irish Cycling Tripartite Committee, the umbrella body used to first co-ordinate the three separate organisations that used to “control” cycling in Ireland, and he worked towards the eventual unity that followed in the setting up of the Federation of Irish Cyclists, now Cycling Ireland.  Jim won the National Cycling Association’s Jim Killean Award for outstanding contribution to the sport in 1976.He was a UCI National Commissaire.  He reported cycling news for several publications but principally for The Irish News, where he spent most of his working life.  

His first-hand knowledge of The RÁS and the personalities involved in it, whether as organisers or competitors, make this year by year account, from the hand of a man who was there and who played an important part in the action, an invaluable document. It is Jim's own account of a race that he loved. He wrote most of it himself in the years before his sudden death. The only additions have been by some friends who have filled a few gaps in his almost-completed work, with Bridie as the driver towards publication.  

For those of us privileged to know him, this book will be a treasure for us to keep. 
















Legs on fire, lungs tearing themselves apart, you bury
yourself as the line becomes one again. Then, in a moment of sudden lucidity
through the ravages of lactic acid, that old phRáse comes back to you.
"Spent the day chewing the handlebars". It suddenly makes perfect sense.
You'd laugh if you didn't have another 80 miles to endure in this purgatory.
You'd laugh if you weren't so set on becoming one of the 'Men of the Rás.'


Extract from ‘The Wheel Deal By Shane Stokes,

Article first appeared in 'HIMSELF' magazine, May 1999.







A Day by Day Diary

of Ireland’s Great Bike Race


By The Late Jim Traynor


ISBN: 978-1-905451-71-5


Price:  €20.00 (Plus P&P)


Bridie Traynor wishes to thank all those who helped her in bringing Jim’s book to fruition.

In particular she’s pleased to mention the huge contribution from Dermot Dignam, Miceal Campbell and Shane Stokes.

The Late Jim Traynor