Irish cyclists pedal 1,949km to Poland | inside World Soccer

Irish cyclists pedal 1,949km to Poland

Friday, June 15, 2012

After 1,949km, sore knees, backsides and heads, the Pedal to Poland fundraising cyclists finally arrived in Gdańsk on Wednesday for Republic for Ireland's match against Spain in Euro 2012.

The Pedal to Poland crew pictured on their arrival in Gdańsk
The Pedal to Poland crew pictured on their arrival in Gdańsk

Photo: PA

The nine-men group traveled through Wales, England, Netherlands, Germany and Poland in two weeks all the while raising money for three good causes - Arthritis Ireland, Headstrong (The National Centre for Youth Mental Health) and Renewable World.

The group have raised about half their €50,000 target through online donations.

"It started off as an idea in the pub, Fallon's in the Coombe in Dublin," Matthew Boyd, the instigator with arthritic knees, told the PA.

"We knew the team were going to Poland and I said sure we can cycle it.

"The initial thought was on the second pint and by six pints we were signed up. We wanted to get 11 on the team but we could only get nine."

There was one serious incident last week when one of the group clipped the back wheel of another and brought down five men – a lack of concentration, according to his injured pals.

Luckily they suffered nothing more serious than grazed knees while claims that army medic Gavin Hanley suffered a hairline fracture to an elbow were shot down by other team members.

"He was doing one arm press ups last night," said Shane Nestor.

The team all described the close living arrangements as the single worst experience of the trip.

Mr Nestor added: "Sleeping at night with the mosquitoes and these fellas. Some of the snoring was just deplorable.

"When men have been together for a long time they do some terrible things. Some of the war movies come to mind, think of 'Platoon', 'Full Metal Jacket'.

"Advances being made in the middle of the night, that kind of thing. Most fellas are naked going to bed and then they move."

The team also included Mr Reliable Conn McCluskey, Stephen McArdle, Football Association of Ireland official Darren Carey, brothers Ross and Gareth Mumbley and the elder statesman Declan Arthur.

They were sponsored by a number of companies, including Vaseline, who gave them some supplies of balm to keep them going.

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