A TEAM of 18 cyclists from Clonakilty Cycling Club are embarking on a 616km challenge to raise funds for the Irish Community Air Ambulance.
The group is aiming to cycle from Malin Head to Mizen Head over four days between April 29th and May 2nd.
The Irish Community Air Ambulance is the country’s only charity-funded Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) Air Ambulance. It works in partnership with the National Ambulance Service and responds to serious incidents and medical emergencies from its base in Rathcool in north Cork.
Preparations are well underway for the event with club training sessions now taking place four times a week. A support team will be on hand throughout the cycle with distances ranging from 141km to 172km each day.
Anthony O’Donovan, chair of the club said: ‘Malin to Mizen is on the bucket list for most cyclists but it’s essential to put the miles in on the saddle first. Our team is made up of cyclists of all ages and abilities, they have been training consistently for months. Cycling can be a dangerous sport, when it goes wrong it can go catastrophically wrong. As a rural club, we cycle the highways and byways of West Cork and it’s likely the Irish Community Air Ambulance would be called if any of us ended up in a serious accident. We all know of someone who has benefited from a speedy transit to hospital by means of the Air Ambulance.’
The service has responded to more than 1,300 emergency calls since it launched in July 2019. Last year it was tasked to 89 road traffic collisions including numerous incidents involving cyclists.
Its head Micheál Sheridan said: ‘Each tasking costs approximately €3,500 which is why fundraisers like this are so important to us. Our helicopter is airborne in under four minutes, travels at up to 300km an hour and can reach any location within a 25,000 sqkm area in less than 30 minutes.’
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