Three Dublin pals to take on epic 2,000km charity cycle to Croatia

James Hempton, Brian Foley and Daire Breen will attempt to cycle 2,000km from Dublin to north Croatia in two weeks

Amy Blaney

Three young friends from Donabate will embark on a 2,000km cycle from north Dublin to Croatia later this year in aid of charity.

James Hempton, Brian Foley and Daire Breen are all 26 years of age and have no major cycling experience. They are training six days per week for the epic two-week challenge.

Their chosen cycle path will take them through the Alps via France, Switzerland, Italy, Slovenia and Croatia and they plan to cycle 150km per day to reach their goal.

Mr Foley said the cycle through the Alps around Mont Blanc will be a “different animal altogether” for the inexperienced cyclists due to the altitude and height.

“There is a climb around there that is going to be the hardest day of the trip,” he said.

Mr Foley said the 2,000km is “pretty extreme. A professional cyclist would be able for it but it would be tough, whereas we only started cycling since January”.

The three friends outside Johnnie Fox's pub after a training run to Glencullen in the Dublin mountains

The group has teamed up with coach Ross Ennis to help prepare for the trip.

“The hardest part of this is going to be the Alps in the middle. We were training a lot on the flat but the alps are going to be completely different,” he said.

“We have been doing a lot of climbing work and going up the Wicklow Mountains.”

Each of the men have chosen a charity close to their hearts, Diabetes Ireland, Mental health Ireland and the Laura Lynn foundation. They are aiming to raise €60,000 split equally between the three charities.

Mr Foley’s fiancé Rachel was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 12-years-old, while Mr Hempton is a trained mental health nurse and personal trainer.

Mr Breen chose Laura Lynn after learning it is Ireland’s only children’s hospice and there is currently a need for four times the capacity.

The three childhood friends grew up together in Donabate, attending Donabate Community College.

“We all used to be mad into sport. I used to play football internationally, I captained Ireland when I was 18 and I was mad into football,” Mr Foley said.

James, Brian and Daire are training six days a week for the 2,000km charity cycle

“We sat down last year and decided to pick a challenge and we picked charities very close to our hearts.”

The young men took inspiration from the Chemo King, Iain Ward, who broke world records cycling after being diagnosed with brain cancer, and Nedd Brockmann, who ran 4,000km across Australia in 47 days.

The bikes for the challenge are being provided by the Bicycle Engineering Academy, an institute for bicycle engineering.

The three men plan to set off on September 10 and will travel by ferry from Dublin Port to Cherbourg in France.

“It will be brilliant, we set such a large goal in terms of €60,000 so we are hoping to build momentum,” Mr Foley said.

Donations can be made to the charity cycle here.