A team of 18 cyclists from Clonakilty Cycling Club is embarking on a mammoth 616km challenge to raise funds for the Irish Community Air Ambulance.
The cycling club members are aiming to cycle from Malin Head to Mizen Head over four days between Friday, April 29, and Monday, May 2.
The Irish Community Air Ambulance is Ireland’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 Rathcoole, County Cork.
Club members are currently training 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, Chairperson of Clonakilty Cycling Club said:
“Our team is made up of cyclists of all ages and abilities. 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’re equally conscious of just how much it costs to provide such an important service. That is why we’re delighted to be taking on the challenge in aid of the HEMS Air Ambulance,” he added.
The Irish Community Air Ambulance has responded to more than 1,300 emergency calls since it was first launched in July 2019. Last year it was tasked with 89 road traffic collisions including numerous incidents involving cyclists.
CEO of the Irish Community Air Ambulance, Micheál Sheridan said:
“Each tasking costs approximately €3,500 which is why fundraisers are so important to us. Our helicopter is airborne in under four minutes, travels up to 300km an hour, and can reach any location within a 25,000sq km area in less than 30 minutes.
“When time is critical, we bring hope and medical expertise to seriously ill and injured patients. However, this year we’re also facing soaring fuel costs.
"That means we need to continue to raise funds so that we can continue to bring people to the hospital that suits their life-saving needs, as well as continuing to fund our ground-based Critical Care Volunteer Doctor service,” he added.