Rain Did Not Deter Record Numbers of Cyclists: Radio Kerry Ring of Kerry Cycle 2009 - 4th July

Rain Did Not Deter Record Numbers of Cyclists: Radio Kerry Ring of Kerry Cycle 2009 - 4th July

08 July 2009

The 26th Radio Kerry Ring of Kerry Cycle took place on Saturday 4th July and despite some intermittent harsh weather along the way, over 3,500 cyclists completed the 112 miles of the picturesque route along the Ring of Kerry.  In between the showers, the sun did break through and kept everyone's spirits high as they cycled to raise vital funds for 6 Kerry charities: - Rockmount Alzheimers Daycare Centre; Kerry Rape & Sexual Abuse Centre; Irish Society for Autism - Kerry Branch; Footsteps Down Syndrome; Rathmore Social Action Group and Order of Malta Ireland - Killarney Branch.

The cycle was officially started by Moss Keane at 8am from St Mary's Cathedral in Killarney town, after a blessing from Bishop of Kerry Rev William Murphy and also words of encouragement from newly elected Killarney Town Mayor Michael Gleeson.  Registration also took place before the start of the race as all participants were obliged to display a registration tag and wear a safety helmet if they wished to participate.  To help with the smooth processing of cyclists, the Organising Committee arranged registration the day before in Scott's Hotel, where unprecedented numbers of cyclists, 2,000, were able to pre register, from 7pm to 10.30pm on Friday evening.

Due to the high number of participants many people set off as early as 6am to get a head start.  Radio Kerry Ring of Kerry Cycle Committee Member, Brendan Coffey was responsible for the army of back up crews.  "We had 6 vehicles on the route, manned by volunteers, to assist any cyclists who experienced any difficulty or needed repairs.  This year, we introduced an emergency number to cyclists, which they could phone if they were in trouble and this central phone system worked really well.  In fact we got our first call out at 6.15am.  Someone had only gotten as far as Fossa and had a puncture.  I would like to thank the various organisations that supplied us with Ambulances and Doctors, who thankfully were not too busy on the day.  I would also like to thank our team of masseurs who travelled to all the main stops along the route and were kept busy offering very welcome massages to many aching and weary cyclists."

The cyclists' first official stop was Colaiste na Sceilgie, at Caherciveen.  Here over 40 volunteers from the various charities "fed and watered" well over 3,000 cyclists within an hour and a half.  Principal of the School, Michael Donnelly, also believed that it was the biggest turnout yet and stated that it was the first year ever in the 7 years of welcoming the cyclists to the school that they actually ran out of sandwiches!!  Michael wished to give a special thank you to all the volunteers who worked so hard on the day And a special mention to Francie O'Driscoll, Canteen Manager at the school, who co-ordinated the volunteers.

At Caherciveen, Sponsors Radio Kerry were on site with an Outside Broadcast Unit, broadcasting a live programme with Francis Jones from 11am to 2pm.  Many of the organisers, volunteers and participants were interviewed live on air by Francis and hundreds of messages of support from listeners from all over Kerry and beyond were broadcasted on the popular Saturday show.  As well as this, the station took regular updates from two brave Radio Kerry personalities Sports Editor, Joe O'Mahony and Presenter Andrew Morrissey, who participated in the cycle, representing Radio Kerry.  Joe stated "The response we have received from everyone has been amazing and the fact that we were taking part really brought it to life for our listeners.  Keeping us going was the fact that we couldn't let down all the listeners who have sent in their messages of support as well as donations."

The cyclists completed the Ring through Sneem, Kenmare and finally through Molls Gap, with the main body of cyclists returning to Killarney town at 5.30pm to complete a lap of the town.  Greeting them on their return was Tim O'Brien, Chairman of the Organising Committee "This year has been a great success, thanks to the number of participants and also to the many volunteers and Committee Members who have been working for months on the planning of the event. We now would ask everyone who pledged sponsorship to their friends, colleagues and loved ones who participated, to help them collect the money as quickly as possible, so that we can pass the funds to the nominated charities without delay."

Part of the success story of the Radio Kerry Ring of Kerry Cycle is that it attracts people from all over Ireland and this year there were representatives from all 32 counties.  One of the last people to register was Andrew Hueston, from Fermanagh.  He found out about the Charity Cycle through his local paper which published an appeal for Fermanagh Cyclists to participate, when it was discovered that no one from the county had entered.  Andrew decided to make the trip to Killarney just the day before the Cycle and in appreciation of his efforts of representing his county, the Quality Resort in Killarney offered Andrew complimentary accommodation for the weekend.  Tired, but immensely satisfied, Andrew returned to Killarney at 6pm.  "It was one of the best experiences I have had and I made many new cycling friends along the route.  I just want to thank everyone involved for making me feel so welcome and apart of this great activity.  I am already making plans to come back next year, but hope to bring a big group of my cycling pals from Fermanagh along.  For anyone who enjoys cycling, this is one event that is not to be missed."

For anyone who would like to donate to the Cycle and to the six Kerry Charities,  postal donations can be sent to The Radio Kerry Ring of Kerry Cycle, PO Box 115, Killarney Post Office, New Street, Killarney.  Enquiries can also be made by phone to (064) 6671900.  Further information on the Radio Kerry Ring of Kerry Cycle can be found on www.ringofkerrycycle.ie