Wednesday 22 May 2019

Mary concludes the first leg of her second Lap of the Map

Mary Nolan Hickey, right
Mary Nolan Hickey, right

Simon Bourke

Two weeks in the saddle would be enough to sate the appetite of the most avid cyclist, but for Mary Nolan Hickey it represents but a quarter of her latest test of endurance.

Having ran round the entire coast of Ireland last year, Mary (66) is now undergoing the same journey on her bike, with the intention of adding to the €73,000 she has already raised for the RNLI so far.

Mary left her Arklow home on April 14, setting out for her first two-week stint in the saddle, a route which brought her along the southern coast to Kenmare in County Kerry.

Following a brief return home for the bank holiday weekend, Mary resumed her trial of strength earlier this week, the plan to cycle along the west coast until she reaches Galway staying in various family homes and B&Bs along the way.

And, so far, the going has mostly been good.

'There was a bit of a storm just after I started, a really bad wind, but all the lovely company I've had has made it so much easier,' Mary said.

That company has come in the guise of other cyclists, helpful souls who, having followed Mary's progress online, have joined her on the roads for parts of the journey.

'I've had some lovely times meeting them all. They also have local knowledge of the areas which has been hugely beneficial. I haven't done a cycle like this before so I need the help,' Mary said.

One of Mary's biggest concerns prior to her journey was irate motorists and the risk of being knocked off her bike, but it has been a road-user of a different variety which has caused her the most problems so far.

'Ninety-nine per cent of the people in cars have been behaving themselves but I got attacked by a dog down a quiet country road. He came at me and tried to bite my leg but I managed to get away from him. It was my own fault, I strayed onto his territory,' she recalled.

Ultimately, Mary hopes to pass the magical €100,000 mark by the end of her second lap of the country, raising vital funds for an organisation which she is very passionate about.

'While I was back in Arklow the RNLI were called out to rescue three fishermen from a burning trawler, which they managed to do successfully. It's a wonderful charity.'

Bray People