Tuesday 27 September 2016

Bikers tackle an emotional journey to keep Aidan's mystery tour alive

Finn Gillespie

Published 03/05/2016 | 02:30

Bikers arrive in Mullaghmore against the backdrop of the iconic Classiebawn Castle and Ben Bulben, in Co Sligo, as part of the Revup4DSI event for Down Syndrome Ireland. Photo: Brian Farrell
Bikers arrive in Mullaghmore against the backdrop of the iconic Classiebawn Castle and Ben Bulben, in Co Sligo, as part of the Revup4DSI event for Down Syndrome Ireland. Photo: Brian Farrell
The late Aidan Lynam with his daughter Robyn in 2011. Pix Ronan Lang/Feature File

Aidan Lynam once estimated that his fellow bikers had between them travelled to the moon and back twice to raise funds for those affected by Down syndrome.

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Anyone who knew him will tell you that Aidan's passion and commitment for Revup4DSI, the charity motorcycle run he co-founded in 2005, was infectious - so much so that the annual event in aid of Down Syndrome Ireland (DSI) had raised more than €1.6m by 2015.

Any one of Aidan's many friends and colleagues, as they got off their bikes at noon on Sunday to mark the exact time he tragically lost his life one year ago, would have pledged to ride to the moon and back again just to be in Aidan's company one final time, and to tell him the extraordinary difference he made to so many people.

Day two of Revup4DSI 2016 was always going to be emotional, as it was on Sunday of last year's event that 44-year-old Aidan was involved in an accident that cost him his life. It was a catastrophic blow to the participants, and for Aidan's colleagues in DSI.

Were there doubts about the future of Revup following Aidan's death? Why not call off the event? DSI chief executive Pat Clarke is very clear about the answers to these questions.

"Why? Because if we didn't do it, he'd come back and haunt us," Pat said.

"He was the kind of guy who didn't suffer fools gladly. He gave 100pc and expected 100pc.

"If we didn't continue this work, it would have been a disservice to his memory.

"He was passionate about raising money and providing services to those affected by Down syndrome nationwide.

"Even on the Sunday night as we were mourning Aidan, there was a determination to go ahead with this year's event."

The three-day charity run has grown in size each year - this weekend saw 140 riders and 40 pillions set off from Dublin on Saturday morning. The route is never revealed in advance, with route maps given to riders just ahead of each day's three stages.

The base this year was the Clarion Hotel in Sligo, where riders set off from and returned to after 300km of riding each day.

Aidan's wife Nicky and children Jake (14), Robyn (11) and Harry (8), joined the run once again this year and witnessed the unveiling of a new logo for the event, bearing an image of Aidan on one of his beloved BMW motorbikes.

Comedian PJ Gallagher, a friend of Aidan's who shares a passion for motorbikes, tweeted a picture of himself and Aidan this weekend, with a caption that read: "A year already. One of the best guys I ever met.

"Never contacted me if he wasn't trying to help other people."

If Aidan was alive to witness the 140 riders arriving in convoy to the Spa Hotel in Lucan, Dublin, to mark the end of this year's event yesterday evening, he would have been very proud.

His dream lives on.

Irish Independent

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