Equinox Charity Cycle

James Stacey.

James Stacey.

The annual Equinox Charity Cycle took place on September 27th. Sandymount’s own James Stacey took part in a true endurance test of 230km from Clontarf to Youghal in County Cork in a gruelling but rewarding 12-hour slog across the country in aid of charity.

The cycle began at sunrise at Clontarf, where about 65 cyclists dipped their back wheels into the Irish Sea. Over 12 hours later, with tired legs and cheery hearts, they dipped their front wheels into the water on the beach of Youghal at about sunset.

This was not the first time Stacey was participating, as he had completed the charity cycle in 2012, when the destination was Strandhill, Co. Sligo.

Stacey got to know about the cycle while working with the founders and has been drawn to it ever since. “I like the fitness side of the challenge, and the sense of achievement of a full day’s challenge,” he told NewsFour. “I usually play football, and I’m very competitive, but with this, the group have the same goal. The challenge is getting everyone to the end, which is a fantastic reward.”

Although fit, Stacey did not do much cycling-specific training two years ago, and was shattered at the end of the cycle. “I wasn’t even able to have a drink at the end,” he recalled. “I had to go to bed I was so tired.” This year he was a lot wiser, taking long cycles to Roundwood on the weekend to prepare, which is an 80km return trip from his home in Sandymount.

The Equinox Charity Cycle is an initiative that began with Ronan O’Neill and John O’Connell, who work at Brown Bag Films. They decided to set this up four years ago to raise money for Temple Street Children’s Hospital and Headway. In the past few years it has raised over €50,000 for these brilliant services who do such amazing work.

O’Neill, who was organising again this year, told us that, “in 2014 we’re aiming to raise €20,000 in just one year, and we’re hoping individuals and businesses will help by sponsoring us to reach this target.” He was also very enthusiastic about the bike ride, and told us that, “everybody talks to each other along the way.” This is also a sentiment emphasised by Stacey, who remarked how, “the riders go in pairs and change positions to help each other out. In that way everyone gets to know the other cyclists quite well.”

Illustrious participants in the past included comedian PJ Gallagher in 2013, who cycled to Kinvara, Co Galway. PJ stated that “I can easily say it was the most enjoyable day out on the bike I have ever had – and in aid of two very deserving charities.” In 2012, Irish paralympian and gold medalist Mark Rohan took part to help out the charity.

O’Neill was very grateful for the marvellous marshal support from motorcyclists Aidan Lynam and Jason Ebbs, and paid tribute to the help given by Gardaí on various busy sections over the years.

To reward the participants for their effort you can still donate at www.equinoxcycle.com

By Ferg Hayden