Sunday 25 January 2015

'The Kyoto Trike' finds a new home

Published 23/01/2013 | 13:58

Castleisland Community College students, David O'Hanlon, Ballymacelligott and Pádraig Herlihy, Scartaglin parade their Kyoto Trike during the An Post RÁS Stage End celebrations in Castleisland on May 24-2011. Inset: Trike winner, Darragh Begley at the... Credit: Photos by John Reidy

THOUGH christened ' The Kyoto Trike' - after the 1997 United Nations adopted convention on climate change and so named after the Japanese city in which the agreement was signed - the model quickly became affectionately known as Billy's Bike.

It appeared on television in God knows how many countries due to its gliding, graceful lap of honour before the An Post Ras stage finish here in Castleisland on that memorable afternoon of May 24, 2011.

It was raffled at the open night at Castleisland Community College last Thursday. The model in question is known in the trade as a recumbent bike. It's divided into two parts and is operated by two cyclists. Though, naturally, only one of them has control of the steering.

It was made two years ago by a group of transition year students as part of an engineering project under the expert direction of their teacher Billy O'Rourke. Billy, who retired a year ago, had established a richly deserved reputation as an expert designer and manufacturer of bicycles including one that competed in the Ras Tailteann in the mid 1990s.

Billy's experience and expertise was readily made available to his students who brought their own special design skills and craftsmanship to the project. It was officially unveiled just before the Ras stage finish here almost two years ago.

It received a rousing reception from a huge crowd as it was propelled up and down the Main Street just before the main event entered the town.

Since then it has been the object of admiration from hundreds of students, parents and visitors. However, it was decided to raffle it at the open night to raise money for local charities.

Darragh Begley was announced the winner. The third-year student is, quite co-incidentally, a neighbour of Billy O'Rourke. All his peers and teachers in the community college hope that the popular young man will get many years of enjoyment from it. At least he won't have too far to go for advice and the odd service of the unusual mode of transport which he has now inherited.

St. Patrick's Day and the parade will beckon to Darragh and the Trike - I'd imagine.

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