9 years on and the Meath Heritage Cycle tour is going from strength to strength.
With over 3000 cyclists participating between 4 distances, the popularity of recreational cycling is continuing to grow in Co. Meath. However none of this would be possible without the support of the 300 volunteers who once again turned out in force to take registrations, man junctions, serve tea, provide directions, collect cyclists out along the routes, provide medical and mechanical support and most importantly extend a welcome and a word of encouragement to all those cycling over the weekend. The committee of the Meath Heritage Cycle tour extends a massive thank you all those volunteers who gave of their time freely on Sat 29th & Sun 30th July.
In addition to the voluntary support, a number of community and sporting facilities opened up their doors to provide refreshment stops and comfort breaks to all the participating cyclists. From Mary & Jack Quinn in Jack Quinn’s public house (11k food stop), to Senchalstown GAA club, Cormeen community centre, Wilkinstown community centre, Ballinlough GAA centre, Enda Maleady in Ryans of Gormanlough, Kiltale GAA club to Michael Maguire and staff on the Hill of Tara – all played their part in extending the unique Meath welcome to the cyclists. In lieu of their efforts, a small donation is made either to the participating centre or a charity of their choice by Meath Heritage Cycle tour.
As with all large events, success would not be possible without the continued support of the Gardai, in particular Sgt Tom Mahon of Trim Garda Station and Sgt Pat Dowd of the Road Traffic Division and their respective teams. Medical support is provided by Meath Civil Defence with a number of ambulances, stationary medical stations, emergency medical technicians, paramedics and first responders all located out along the routes with the Control Centre based at the event HQ in Trim.
Special thanks to the 4 mechanics who delivered much needed repair to bikes – Gary Sheehan, John Grace, Declan Byrne & Thomas McElroy – thankfully cyclists seemed to be better prepared this year with most bikes in good roadworthy condition.
The motor bike marshals, support crew (lead, broom and pick-up), members of Trim Cycling Club and Moynalty Cycling Club (cycle marshals), Physios (Mark Elmes, Frank Foley & Fiachra Ward), Trim Tidy towns, Aura Leisure centre, Meath County Council, Trim Municipal District, Trim Castle Hotel and the OPW all played a part in ensuring that the Meath Heritage Cycle tour ran smoothly.
The Meath Heritage Cycle tour is an established and well regarded, recognised event in the national cycling calendar. Mary Murphy (Event Coordinator) attributed the popularity of the tour to the countless hours of preparatory work undertaken by a dedicated team of people all intent on providing professional and expert service to all who participate in the Meath Heritage Cycle Tour. Further thanks were paid to sponsors Sport Ireland and Dunnes Stores; and to LMFM, Meath Chronicle, Trim Tourism Network and Meath Daily for their extensive promotion and coverage of the cycle tour.
Special mention to ambassadors Chris McElligott (hand cyclist 11k), PJ Nolan and Thomas Murphy (par cyclist) for their support and the number of cycling clubs both local and further afield who came out in huge numbers to show their support for the event.
The nominated charity for the event was Enable Ireland (Meath branch) who provides early services for children with disability in Meath. Sophie Deegan (fundraising officer with Enable Ireland), expressed her delight with the amount of funds raised over the weekend. With donations still coming, she was looking forward to seeing the full total of all monies collected in due course and ensured that all monies would be put towards enhancing programmes for children with disability in Meath.
Finally, particular thanks to the remarkable and entertaining MC – the legend that is Eamonn Duffy. To the sounds of U2`s “Where the streets have no name” his is the memorable voice that counts down the start, welcomes the different cycling clubs and cyclists and sends all off on their journeys and is the voice that sets the scene for epic encounters at the finish line.
Date for 2018 diary – Meath Heritage Cycle tour, July 28th & 29th… be part of it!!!