Thursday 29 September 2016

'I cycled all that distance and that was the reward I got' - Irish fan beaten up moments after completing charity bike challenge

Cathal McMahon

Published 21/06/2016 | 16:00

An Irish fan who cycled over 600km for charity was beaten up and almost had his bike stolen just moments after arriving in France.

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Alan Maxwell was saved by a group of local women who came to his aid after he was set upon by two thugs in Paris.

The 34-year-old, Dublin's South Inner city, decided to take on the cycle challenge after his father Michael was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Over the last number of months he has raised over €5,000 for two important cancer charities – Breast Cancer Ireland and ARC cancer support.

Alan Maxwell shortly before setting out on his 600km cycle
Alan Maxwell shortly before setting out on his 600km cycle

On June 9 he set out from Dublin and he landed in Paris on Monday, June 13 – the day Ireland took on Sweden in the Stade de France.

But he explained that his arrival in the French capital was marred by a nasty attack.

“When I arrived in Paris, happy as a pig in s**t two lads jumped me at the Gare du Nord and tried to rob my bike off me, after all that.

“I was cycling along, smily, I'd had a few beers on the train. Next of all, a punch in the side of the face.”

Alan, a Guinness Ambassador, explained that his attackers fled empty handed after a group of local women came to his aid.

“The locals who were running the market stalls around there all came flooding to save me. They grabbed my bike for me. Another lad came running up behind and said 'hey man you dropped your phone'.

Alan Maxwell shortly before setting out on his 600km cycle
Alan Maxwell shortly before setting out on his 600km cycle

“It had fallen out of my pocket when I was getting kicked on the ground.”

Alan explained that he suffered bruised ribs after he was kicked a number of times in the altercation.

“I can't laugh too hard, sneeze or cough.

“I cycled all that distance and that was the reward that I got.”

The Irish fan explained that he cycled solo for his father, who is currently fighting cancer.

“I knew I was going to the Euros but I thought I could use it to do something nice. It's worked out lovely apart from the attack of course.”

He added: “My father has prostate cancer and he's had it removed, he's had radiotherapy. That hasn't worked so they are looking at the next option.

“My dad is proud, he's fighting it, he's in good spirits. He's ringing me every day supporting me.”

Alan has been following the Irish team throughout the tournament but he is using public transport to do so.

Asked if he will cycle home, Alan laughs: “No my cycling days are over for now, I'm going to fly home.

“It averaged out 200km a day which, for anybody who is into cycling, that's too much. Doing it the next day and the next on my own so that was hard.

“My mantra was, 'it's time to earn the money'. People had pledged around €5,000 at that stage so I needed to earn it, and I did.”

Despite the attack Alan insists that he would do it all again.

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