Cycling around the entirety of Ireland may sound like a daunting task, something which even the hardiest cyclist would balk at. But for Michael Kehoe, it's just another few weeks in the saddle. Having already traversed America, circulated Thailand and negotiated Vietnam, a four-week spin along the Irish coast should pose no problems for the Bridgetown native. But Michael isn't undertaking this latest challenge just for the fun of it, he's doing so to raise funds for a charity very close to his heart.
Having lost his father to cancer in 2013, and witnessed his mother Anne, and sister Charlotte, endure her own struggles with the illness, Michael has decided the time is right to put his love of cycling to good use.
'All the funds raised will to go the Marie Keating Foundation. They help people get back to work after cancer and run a variety of programmes geared towards early detection and prevention of the illness,' Michael said. In preparation of his start date on April 3 Michael has been busy raising funds. 'We set up a Facebook fundraiser and we have sponsorship cards. There's been a really good response, we've made over €1,000 already; donations coming all the way from Mexico, America, Australia and Canada, even people I cycled with in America for just an hour or two have got in touch and supported the challenge.'
As for the cycle itself, Michael says that the plan is to head clockwise, beginning on the Copper Coast before crossing over to the Wild Atlantic Way and the Ring of Kerry. From there he will travel north, taking in the sights of Connemara and the Causeway Coast before completing his journey by cycling down the east coast back to Wexford.
'I'm going to try and do 70-120km's a day, do 7/8 days in a row and then have a rest day. It'll be a solo cycle, just me all alone on the road, it's a great way to see the country,'said Michael.
Yet despite his cycling exploits, which have seen him use the same trusty bike during all his mammoth challenges around the globe, Michael admits that he sort of just fell in to the sport. 'I used to commute on the bike when I worked in Dublin, I wouldn't say I was in anyway a die-hard cyclist. People always presume I've been into for years but it's something I got into by accident really, more as a means to travel, a way of seeing the world,' he said.
And having sat nervously by the phone during Michael's previous jaunts, Anne is just grateful that her son's latest venture is taking place a little closer to home. 'If anything happens to him I can go out and get him,' she laughed.
Those interested in sponsoring Michael's cycle can do so by visiting his Instagram page @irishmikeonabike and accessing his fundraiser from there. touch to arrange a time and place.