Broadcaster Ray D’Arcy is challenging would-be cyclists to go from Couch to Connacht in eight weeks, in aid of the national suicide prevention and bereavement charity Console.
Volunteers are being asked to sign up for the 200km Console East-West Cycle from Celbridge to Galway, designed for every category from beginners to serious cyclists – with enjoyment the key.
And a top ultra-distance cycling champion has designed a programme to get those new to cycling up to speed in an eight-week period.
“Console needs our help so that they can continue providing counselling and 24 hour helplines for people in crisis and those bereaved by suicide,” said Ray D’Arcy.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for people to do something that’s really worthwhile and also rise to a challenge that they may have thought was beyond them.”
Ireland’s endurance cycling champion Ricky Geoghegan, who holds four ultra-marathon cycling records, is heading the Console team.
“Ricky has come up with a brilliant two month ‘Couch to Connacht’ training programme so that complete novices will be able to get on their bikes and cycle to Galway,” said Console founder and CEO Paul Kelly.
The one-day cycle sets off on Saturday June 7 from Celbridge arriving in that evening.
The route along the old Dublin to Galway road includes stops in Kinnegad, Moate, Ballinasloe and Loughrea where cyclists will be met by local fundraisers with refreshments.
Console cyclists will stay overnight in Galway’s Clayton Hotel where they’ll enjoy a barbecue followed by a DJ and an evening’s entertainment with some very special guests. The cyclists will return to Dublin by bus the following day.
The charity has set a fundraising target of €250 per cyclist plus a registration fee of only €25 in February and, with places limited, they are asking people to sign up now at www.consolecycle.ie.
Energy provider Airtricity, Applegreen and Cuisine de France are among the leading Irish businesses sponsoring the Console East-West Cycle.
“Thanks to our sponsors we can guarantee that every single cent raised will go to Console services ensuring they are free and readily accessible, so people in need can get help when they need it most,” said Paul Kelly.
Nationwide professional suicide prevention and bereavement charity Console offers counselling services and 24-hour helpline support to people in crisis and those bereaved by suicide (Freephone 1800 201 890).
The charity has full-time counselling centres in Limerick Cork, Dublin, Wexford, Galway, Kerry and Mayo. It also offers services in Kildare and Athlone and has recently opened a service in London.
Counselling, advice and general support is available for any individual, couples, groups, families or children who have been affected by suicide.
Console can be reached at any time on freephone 1800 201 890 and many resources and useful information can be found at www.console.ie.