WEEK 1: Reporter prepares to hit the road for North West Hospice
What the hell was I thinking?

I haven’t pedalled anything more challenging than a stationary bike in the local gym since, ahem, the last millennium, so it’s with no small amount of fear that I find myself contemplating hitting the road next month with other cyclists for the fourth annual South Leitrim 80km Cycle in aid of the North West Hospice.

I haven’t pedalled anything more challenging than a stationary bike in the local gym since, ahem, the last millennium, so it’s with no small amount of fear that I find myself contemplating hitting the road next month with other cyclists for the fourth annual South Leitrim 80km Cycle in aid of the North West Hospice.

To be fair, event organiser Tracy Kivlehan is keen to point out that the cycle aims to attract amateurs - well, at least I’ll tick the box on that score. If she stretches the requirements to possibly needing training wheels and an inability to pedal and change gears simultaneously then maybe I won’t feel like the only one who’ll need my own Order of Malta ambulance crew on stand by.

“We are primarily looking for amateurs of all ages who may not have been on a bike in years. It is a challenge that is both rewarding and fun,” says Tracy, who assures me that if you can cycle 10km you’ll make 80km “no problem”.

I haven’t the heart to tell her I’ve never cycled more than 5km, never mind 10km. I think, realistically, she should only deal with one shock at a time, the first being what may be the biggest hurdle, the fact I don’t actually own a bike....

Putting a brave face on it, I will be there with other amateur cyclists this Saturday, 30th July 2011 to get set for this 80km marathon. Hopefully plenty of other volunteers will join in this year’s event to help raise much needed funds for the North West Hospice, a worthy charity which provides palliative care, end-of-life and bereavement care services for patients and their families.

For those contemplating taking part but still unsure, or quite frankly for those who’d like the opportunity to laugh at my pain and lack of co-ordination, I will be posting regular updates on our website and in-paper.

Tracy has given each participant a target of €300 to raise. Last year this event raised €90,000 for the Hospice, maybe this year we can do even better. For further information or to organise a sponsorship form please contact Tracy on 087 7511 743 or www.south-leitrim-80k-cycle.com

Oh, by the way, if anyone knows where I can borrow a bike for the next six weeks feel free to email me on lmckiernan@leitrimobserver.ie.