They all have different reasons for getting on their bikes, but over the course of four days they’re hitting the roads of Ireland for a common cause.
The 10 big hearted, not to mention fit Roe Valley lads are currently making their way through some of the toughest terrain in Ireland to “spread smiles” by raising money for the charity Angel Wishes NI.
Hoping for better weather than the last few days have experienced, the lads are from the Foreglen/Dungiven and Limavady area. In total, they have raised close to £5,000 so far for the charity.
Stephen Mullan from Limavady said ‘Angel Wishes NI’ was chosen because they liked how the money stays local.
Gaye Kerr, founder of Angel Wishes, which was set up in February in memory of her children Helen aged three and Brian aged 10, who both sadly passed away with cancer related conditions. She said Angel Wishes is run by volunteers and 100 per cent of all donations goes directly back to the children. Angel Wishes provide presents,to children throughout NI who are fighting cancer.
“When I was contacted by Stephen Mullan regarding the Mizen to Malin cycle I was flabbergasted that a complete stranger wanted to help us,” Gaye told the ‘Journal’.
“Stephen and the guys have completed numerous charity cycles and, for them to choose Angel Wishes, was fabulous. It is through the generosity of Stephen, the guys and the donators Angel Wishes will continue to spread smiles on inspirational wee faces. I really can’t describe how much this means. Through Angel Wishes my children will live on in the smiles of others and will never be forgotten.”
Stephen, a member of Roe Valley Cycling Club, said: “We’re hoping the weather will be good, even if we just get one good day! We’ve all been training for it, so, it should be good.”
The 37-year-old is a regular on the roads clocking up some serious miles, but explained he wasn’t always so fit. He only decided to get serious about cycling after completing a charity cycle organised by Bob’s Bistro in Magilligan, five years ago.
“I was really struggling,” recalled Stephen, “and I thought ‘this isn’t happening again’. I could hardly breathe.”
Smoking 20-25 cigarettes didn’t help. After that he kicked the habit and hasn’t looked back.
“It’s a really good bunch of boys and everyone has trained for it. I’ve done Mizen to Malin before, but I’ve put in a few extra challenges this time to make it harder!” added Stephen.
Emmett O’Hara (32) from Ballyhargan, near Foreglen has been cycling for a year and a half. He was inspired by friends and is a regular on the bike with the North West Cycling Club. Emmet has been putting the miles in, and recently completed the 109-mile Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia Northern Ireland in June.
“It wasn’t too bad, although at 100 miles the legs were definitely sore. I’m looking forward to this, although I’m sure the last couple of days will be tough,” said Emmett.
Supporting the lads, who are due back on Sunday, is Stephen’s dad, Liam who is driving a mini bus packed full of crucial supplies.
For information visit www.facebook.com/AngelWishesni.co.uk