O’K Cycles, located at New St, Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary is one of the oldest remaining bicycle shops in Ireland. It was originally founded in 1907 by William McConnell, a mechanical engineer by trade, from Northern Ireland. McConnell was a member of the town council during his time in Carrick on Suir, and was a well-liked and respected businessman. During the period of unrest of the Irish Civil War, McConnell left with his family and returned to Northern Ireland.
The business premises and adjoining residence were purchased by William O’Keeffe in 1922 and he re-opened his own business, trading as OK Garage; it was during this period that the business became an agent for BSA Motorcycles, Rolex, and various car manufacturers, at a time when the sight of a car or motorcycle on rural Irish roads was indeed a rare occurrence!
In 1964, after 42 years in business, William O’Keeffe retired and his son, John, took over the running of the business, which saw it flourish as O’K Cycles & Sports, branching out into children’s toys, bicycles, sports equipment, hunting & fishing supplies, musical instruments and even home computers, during their rise in popularity in the 1980s. It was no small coincidence that Carrick on Suir’s most famous son, Sean Kelly, who was ranked as the world’s number 1 professional cyclist for a period of 7 years during the 1980s, brought legions of fans and cycling enthusiasts from all over Ireland, to do business with John.
In 2012, John O’Keeffe’s son Shane, became the third generation of the family to take over the running of the business, and the shop continues to go from strength to strength. Now trading as O’K Cycles, gone are the toys, fishing rods, firearms and guitars; today the business continues as a dedicated bicycle shop, a one-stop-shop providing bike sales and service, for the modern cyclist’s needs. And, like history repeating itself, Carrick on Suir has a new professional cycling champion: Sam Bennett, former Irish National Road Race Champion & Tour De France Green Jersey winner.
Our shop has moved with the times, with a recent refurbishment of both the bicycles sales showroom and repair workshop area, ensuring the link between cycling, Carrick On Suir and the O’Keeffe family will continue for years to come.
OK CYCLE TEAM
Shane is the third generation of the O’Keeffe family to take over the stewardship of the business. He started working part-time in the shop at 12 years old and has been a familiar face to customers ever since then. Having graduated with an Honours Degree in Business Management, Shane travelled extensively throughout Europe, the United States, Australia & Asia, before returning in 2012 to take his place, in the running of the shop from his father, John.
Keith first joined the team in the shop as a mechanic in 1989, when he was just 18, and has worked periodically with O’K Cycles on and off, ever since. A keen cyclist all his life, Keith took the decision to race competitively and started consistently achieving top ten finishes, whenever he competed. On St Patrick’s Day, 2016, he won the hotly contested Kiely Cup, finishing first in a race that culminated just yards from the same spot where Sean Kelly began his historical Time-Trial stage from Carrick to Clonmel, eleven years earlier, in the first edition of the Nissan Classic. He retired from racing at the top, following his success (as he constantly reminds his fellow club mates!). Keith is currently an active member of Carrick Wheelers Cycling Club, one of the most highly regarded clubs in Ireland.
John has been a member of the team for over two decades; he’s our odd-job expert and can change a tyre faster than a Formula One team mechanic!
He’s at his happiest when he has got a cup of coffee in his hand.
Paul joined the O’K Cycles team in 2020 as a mechanic, at the height of the pandemic, due to the boom in cycling’s popularity as an outdoor activity. A native of Waterford City, he is one of the founders of Comeragh Cycling Club. From 2014 to 2019, Paul ran the Rebike bike recycling community initiative, taking unwanted bikes, refurbishing and passing them on to people in need, community groups and charity organisations, saving over 1000 bikes from the scrapheap in this 5-year period. He has worked in the pharma industrial sector, motor trade, as well as bike shops in Waterford and Limerick, picking up qualifications in Shimano T.E.C., Bosch E-Bike diagnostics and repair, as well as qualifying as a C&G accredited Professional Bicycle Mechanic. Happiest with sleeves rolled up and a spanner in his hand, Paul looks after the day-to-day running of the O’K Cycles workshop.