Pedal Power

peddle power 2

Exercise and enjoyment are two things most of us would like to be getting more of. Combine the two with helping a worthy cause and you have the Cafe Java Annual Charity Cycle, established three years ago by Cafe Java founder and owner Kieran Mulligan.

Depending on your level of fitness, you can choose between a 20k or 40k cycle or a guided walk around some of Sandymount’s lesser known walking routes. In addition to the main cycling events, there is a 5k family fun cycle, which means that families with young children can participate.

The main beneficiaries of the event are St Vincent de Paul and Aware. Kieran became interested in helping the latter charity following the suicide of Welsh football player Gary Speed in 2011. “I heard about the death and couldn’t understand how someone who seemed to have everything could do that,” he tells NewsFour. “I rang Aware and spoke to them about it, and they explained more about the crippling effects of depression. I felt I had to help in some way, and as it was the middle of the recession and all charities were suffering, I decided to stage something myself.

People are becoming more health conscious in general and cycling has taken off in a big way all around the country. An awful lot of people in the area now exclusively cycle into work, so I thought an event that featured cycling would be popular.”

Every penny raised by the event goes directly to the charities. The costs of staging the event are covered by Mulligan personally and other business owners in the village pitch in to make Sandymount Green a hub for the event, with food and drink stalls along with activities for kids. Mulligan is keen to stress that “There’s a very tight community here and all the local businesses do what they can to help.”

Brian Brady from Bray finished first in this year’s 40k event, held on May 10th, with a very respectable time of one hour 25 minutes.

He tells NewsFour he had “pedalled into town once or twice” but is not a keen cyclist. However, he found his competitive streak when he hit the starting line. It was the longest cycle Brady had ever attempted and he plans to try even harder next year.

Barry Fitzpatrick from Sandymount says he was heading out the door to take part in the event when his kids became interested. “They saw me getting the bike out and asked what I was doing. When I told them, they were keen to come along as well.”

For Eugene Fanning, of Marlborough Road in Donnybrook, this was a second time taking part. “I’m not getting any better at it though. I had a friend with me and I only went the distance because I didn’t want her showing me up; she did anyway,” he tells NewsFour.

Both charities are very important to Fanning, who had roped a few friends into participating but, “the chance of rain put them off on the day and they didn’t show. They’re lightweights, but they had to pay up anyway.” He plans to return for next year’s event. “Maybe I’ll bring my mate’s kids and do the walk though; it’s more my speed and at least I might beat them.”

Next year’s Annual Cafe Java Charity Cycle will take place on Sunday May 25th 2015. The event has raised nearly €60,000 so far, and local charities are benefiting from the proceeds.

By Steve Kingston