A 58-year-old Moneymore man who gave up his 30-a-day smoking habit has cycled around Lough Neagh twice to raise money for Alzheimers Society.
Danny McStravock, who works as a clerical officer for the Housing Executive in Ballymena took up the hobby of cycling to get fit after he snubbed his cigarettes out two years ago, for good.
He raised money last year by cycling around the lough once for a charity Charis Cancer Care but then this year he decided to cycle around the lough twice. He raised a staggering £2,386 after completing the mammoth task on July 13.
However, it was a huge undertaking for the father-of-four in more ways than one.
Not only had he suffered an achilles injury, which hampered his training but he was also involved in a collission in Dungannon, one morning.
Thankfully, he only suffered from cuts and bruises and even cycled on for another whopping 65 miles when he felt pain.
“As a cyclist you have to be aware of the dangers every time you are out on the road,” said Danny. “Around £300 worth of damage was caused to my bike but I did not let this put me off, I was determined to continue cycling and seeing the fundraiser through.”
He choose Alzheimer’s Society, because of a friend’s mother who has been living with the condition for the past eight years or more.
This years charity cycle involved an intense training programme for Danny. He would often cycle up to 80/90/100 miles at any given time often setting off at 5am and would repeat the journey three or four times a week.
“I never joined a cycling club as I liked to be on my own and the times that cycling clubs would go out would not always suit me,” he said. “I like to go out at 5am which is a great time. All you can hear are the birds singing and there is very little traffic.
So on July 13, Danny set off from Ballyronan at 5am and made the 156 mile journey within ten and a half hours. His first stop was at Oxford Island and then returned to Ballyronan where he set off for his second lap of the lough. He completed the journey at Antrim Castle grounds where he was met by family and friends and had the entire journey finished by 5pm.
Not content with just that, now Danny is in training for next years charity cycle. He plans to do a 200 mile cycle around Northern Ireland.