Cycling from Ireland to Africa

Inishowen's John Doherty and Derry man Andrew Gillespie pictured with friends, Ian Finlay and Lorcan Fields, all four men will cycle to Africa in aid of Aware defeat depression. The support vehicle on the mammoth journey will be driven by John's brother Joe.
Inishowen's John Doherty and Derry man Andrew Gillespie pictured with friends, Ian Finlay and Lorcan Fields, all four men will cycle to Africa in aid of Aware defeat depression. The support vehicle on the mammoth journey will be driven by John's brother Joe.

A group of four friends are to cycle from Dublin to Africa in aid of charity.

Donegal’s John Doherty and Derry man Andrew Gillespie are to be joined by friends, Ian Finlay and Lorcan Fields, as they get ‘on their bikes’ in aid of Aware Defeat Depression from September 10. John’s brother Joe will be driving the supply vehicle.

Andrew from Pennyburn is a working musician while the Doherty brothers from Clonmany are both serving Garda in Dublin.

All four cyclists are already training hard for the cross continents challenge. The distance is a remarkable 1, 800 miles, which the boys hope to have completed in 18 days, via Wales, England, France, Spain and Morrocco. They are aiming to cycle 110miles daily and raise E10,000 in doing so. Such is their application they have already collected E1, 000.

“Ian is a bit touched, so it was his idea, well he is to blame anyway. Ian first came up with the idea when we were running the Paris marathon, dressed as Batman and Robin last year,” said John Doherty.

The superheroes were running in the French capital in order to raise funds for the Irish Kidney Association. So are the friends addicted to charity fundraising? “Well I’ve just been caught a few times over the last year or so,” laughed John. “If you’re going to do something crazy why not lift a few pound for a good cause?

“As I said, Ian is a bit nuts bit we all enjoy these types of endurance events and have run marathons and triathalons in the past but cycling wasn’t really our forte.”

To improve that the friends have been training six days a week for the last three months. The boys are all serving Garda officers in Dublin and have been cycling extra long routes to and from the station to increase milage while on shift. “Days off don’t exist, we’re out training long hours when we’re not working,” said John who is stationed in Store Street, Dublin.

John pointed out: “But every penny we raise in sponsorship will go directly to the charity. We will be paying all our costs ourselves from the campsite charges to the petrol bill and ferry fees. Anything donated will go to the charity directly. We’re all good friends and like the adventure.”

The friends have described the undertaking as five normal guys, one great charity, on one epic journey over three gruelling weeks. The boys are not without their supporters however and have landed a few sponsorship deals, according to John: “One is with bike and triathlon shop Wheelworx. They’re helping us out with any bike equipment we may need, as well as giving us a team kit.

“We’ve also been getting help with the sports nutrition side of things from Leydens Limited. They’re one of the main distributors of Maximuscle and ON products in Ireland, and have given us plenty of products to help with the training. The protein and power shakes are a big help.”

To support the boys or just to keep up to dates with their preparation and progress log onto www.fromheretotangier.com of facebook.com/fromheretotangier