He did it his way
Phil cycled through the night for charity
WEXFORD cyclist Phil Skelton packed a two day cycle into a one day marathon as he pedalled from south to north.
The resident of Whiterock Heights, originally from Bunclody, signed up for the 'Tour de Frank' event.
The plan was to cycle from Bunclody to Omagh, stopping in Slane overnight along the way.
This was what most of the 140 participants actually did but Phil discovered that he had to work on the first day.
But he did not pull out of the 290 kilometre exercise - he simply packed it all into a shorter period.
While his fellow Tour-ists were still tucked up in bed in Slane, he set off at 2 a.m. from Bunclody.
'I was lit up to the max - like a Christmas tree,' he laughs as he recalls the night time solo run.
He gave a few motorists along the way quite a surprise with his assortment of lamps and his high viz clothing.
The sun was well up by the time he caught up with the rest of the peloton in County Monaghan.
He did not rest on his handle bars but kept on riding, all the way to the finish line at Killyclogher near Omagh.
Afterwards, he played down his efforts pointing out that he is in regular training for such long distances.
'A bigger effort was put in by those who trained themselves up for two or three months,' he suggested.
His only problem was that he ran out of water in the Naas area and was not able to top up until he came across a 24 hour garage in Kilcock.
He paid tribute to the organisers of the 'Tour de Frank' which commemorated cancer casualty Frank Mimnagh and his cyclist son Martin who was killed in a fatal road accident.
'It was a fantastic occasion and a fitting tribute to a man who lost his life out training on a Wexford road,' he commented. 'His family are so courageous.'
Phil Skelton reckons that he has clocked up 10,000 kilometres in the saddle so far this year.
A member of the Slaney cycling club, he has become acutely aware of the safety issues facing riders while they are out on the road.
He has been urging the Irish Government to follow the example of countries like France and Portugal, by passing a law obliging motorists to leave a gap of one and a half metres when overtaking people on bikes.
The campaign will be highlighted at the 'Swings and Roundabouts' family cycling event at the Wexford Harbour boat club on Sunday, September 15.