Friday 23 February 2018

Freewheelin' all the way to Gdansk

Mark O'Regan

Mark O'Regan

ELEVEN cyclists are taking the road less travelled to get to Poland in time to cheer on the boys in green this summer.

They will journey through five countries and cover over 1,500km in two weeks -- all to raise money for charity.

The group are part of the Pedal to Poland team, which set off from Dublin today and plans to reach Gdansk in time for Ireland's first-round match against Spain in the European Championships.

To get into the mood for the match they will be riding in the jerseys of the best 11 Irish players of all-time including Packie Bonner, Dennis Irwin and Ronnie Whelan.

Each cyclist has stumped up €3,000 to take part in the trip, with the overall aim of raising €50,000.

On the way they will be joined by cyclists from England, Holland and Germany for stages, and in the spirit of Euro 2012 they will tog out for a game or two of football.

The group will average 110km a day, every day, for two weeks. The team has been training hard in the Wicklow mountains for the last few months, and the trip features seasoned cyclists along with those who are starting from scratch.

The first three days will take them through north Wales and into England where they will travel over the Pennines, the Peak district -- which promises to be toughest section.

The money raised will go toward Headstrong, Renewable World and Arthritis Ireland as team member Matthew Boyd has suffered from the condition most of his life.

"As a sport-loving teenager, being diagnosed with arthritis felt like the end of the world for me and I really struggled to see a hopeful future at first. Certainly, I would never have believed i could be contemplating cycling to Poland aged 36," he said yesterday.

Irish Independent

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