Cyclists gear up for charity challenge

A GROUP of cyclists from Mid-Ulster are limbering up for the challenge of a lifetime which will take them around the UK and Ireland covering almost 1100 miles.

The 18 men and women will spend 11 days touring as part of the Capital Cycle Challenge which aims to raise money for Marie Curie Cancer Care.

The cyclists will be starting off from Belfast on July 1, then pedalling to Dublin, Liverpool, Cardiff and London. Leaving London the team will travel to Edinburgh, then on to Stranraer and back to Belfast for July 11.

The cyclists include Aidan Bradley from Desertmartin, brother Emmett Bradley from Draperstown, cousin Brendan Bradley, Moneymore husband and wife team Johnny and Mary Angela Taylor, Mary Angela’s father Hugh Conway, and brother Martin Conway. Also cycling are Karl Swales from Lancashire, Shauna Vallelly from Moneymore, Kelly Donnelly from Magherafelt, Jim Eastwood from Cookstown, Toddy Rigg from Lancashire, Brian Shaw from Magherafelt, Noel Tiffney from Portadown, Stephen O’Kane from Loup, Carl McWilliams from Draperstown, and Catherine Martin from Bellaghy.

One of the fundraisers, Johnny Taylor said everyone is looking forward to the challenge, regardless of whether they are experienced or new to cycling.

He said several members of his wife’s family have been affected by cancer so he and Aidan came up with the idea of combining cycling and fundraising.

They got a group of willing family members and friends together to join them in the challenge and so the Capital Cycling Challenge was born.

“We’ve been doing plenty of preparation for it and we try to get out on our bikes every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday,” said Johnny.

“We’ve set ourselves targets of raising around £2,000 each and people can donate through the Just Giving website.

“Since we came up with the Capital Cycling Challenge, the focus has shifted. Rather than going to a parliament building where there won’t be anyone there who cares, we decided to visit the hospices along the way to see how the money is being spent and to make the cycle more meaningful.”

By sponsoring the cyclists in the challenge, you’ll be helping Marie Curie Cancer Care continue to provide care and support to terminally ill people and their families in their own homes, free of charge.

This year in Northern Ireland Marie Curie Cancer Care will spend over £5m caring for patients and supporting their families.

Last year the Marie Curie Nursing Service provided over 30,000 hours of nursing care in the community.

Marie Curie Nurses work through the night or during the day, making it possible for people with terminal cancer and other illnesses to live their last days at home, rather than go into hospital. They are also on hand to provide emotional support to families and carers at what can be an extremely exhausting and stressful time.

The demand for the nursing service continues to grow and this year they need to raise even more so that the Marie Curie Nurses working can continue their care in the area.

Anne McRoberts, Area Fundraising Manager said she wanted to thank all the cyclists for the massive commitment they have made to not only undertake this challenge but also to raise funds for the charity.

“All their hard work and efforts will be supporting patients and their families locally,” she added.

For more information on the cycling challenge, visit