Family Cycle participants climbing up out of Killucan on the 2012 Spring Cycle.
The sixth annual Spring Spin Cycle Events were launched last week, and in what has become a major fundraiser for North Westmeath Hospice, this year's events aim to match the level of previous years, which has consistently topped the €40,000 mark.
The 2012 Spring Spin cycles raised some €44,000 and to date Spring Spin has raised in excess of €217,000 for charity. This year, as always, 100% of all funds raised go directly to charity.
The Spring Spin Cycles are made up of two events, which between them provide an opportunity for cyclists of all ages and abilities to get out on the roads, get themselves fit and raise a few quid for the North Westmeath Hospice.
The first of the two events - the Family Cycle - is on Sunday April 14. Starting and finishing at The Downs GAA Club, who again make their facilities available to the organising committee, the cycle will take participants on a 20km route to Killucan, Cloughan Road to Drummon Cross and back to The Downs.
The event is open to adults and children over 12 years. The family cycle has become a great success and more than 100 cyclists - young and not-so-young - participated in each of the five previous events.
This year the team are hoping to have an equally large turnout at The Downs on April 14 for the 2pm start (sign-on and assembly at The Downs GAA club from 1pm).
Sligo Cycle Challenge
On Saturday April 20 and Sunday 21 is the two-day cycle challenge from The Downs to Sligo and back. Cyclists will take to the N4 in a number of groups, accompanied by support crews and marshals.
Roughly halfway along the route, there will be a refreshment break, before the cyclists continue to Carrick-On-Shannon, past Lough Key Forest Park and over the Curlew Mountains at Boyle. A short stop to regroup at Castlebaldwin and they will head into Sligo en-masse.
The return leg is on Sunday morning April 21, back along the same N4 route and should take the riders about five hours to complete with a stop for lunch again along the way.
The Sligo Cycle is a considerable undertaking but with the right amount of preparation and training is achievable by most. With this in mind a 10-week training programme has been prepared, which if followed will have you ready to take on the 260km round trip in April.
So if you start your training on February 16 - straight after Valentine's Day - you'll be in good shape for Sligo (see springspincycles.org for details, along with tips on bike safety and cycling).
Places are limited to 120 so an early application will ensure you're not disappointed. Entry fee is €60, which covers accommodation, refreshments on arrival in Sligo, use of the leisure facilities, dinner and breakfast as well as a top quality cycle jersey - currently in design - for the event.
The organisers are asking that participants raise a minimum of €200 in addition to the entry fee; see springspincycles.org and register as a fundraiser for the Spring Spin Cycles on mycharity.ie (follow the link on the home page of springspincycles.org). Need more details? Contact Paraic 087 9324752 or Kevin 087 2801330.