Birmingham Irish Cycle Appeal 2014 – ON YER BICA…Cyprus style

Saturday the 11th October saw the somewhat reduced BICA Team head for Birmingham Airport after a lot of bag and bike packing.


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The back up team consisted of Peter and Maureen Mohan (our roving reporters) myself, Ciaran Cunningham and Ann McElroy, and the team consisted of Joe Argue, Caroline Argue, Seamus Cassidy, Conor McGreevy, Paul Owens, Pat O’Donnell, Con Cunningham and Paul Barratt. Phil Cunnngham joined us later in the week to give the back-up team much needed support. Sadly two of our newest recruits were unable to travel with us at the last moment and were greatly missed.

As many of you know we were in Cyprus in 2012, but since then we have revisited the route and made a few changes, just to make things a little more challenging.

To give you some idea in cycling terms of the degree of difficulty this route involves I have shown below the degrees of difficulty the team faced on each day, and the climbs are:

(Hors Category (HC) the hardest climbs of 1500m and above (4900ft))

1st category – climbs of 1100 -1500m (3600ft – 4900ft)

2nd Category – climbs of 600-1100m (1970 – 3600 ft)

3rd category – climbs of 300 – 600, (985 – 1975ft)

4th category – lowest category climbs of 100 – 300m(328 – 985ft)

The Diary:

Day 1: Monday 13th October: 50 miles – Paphos to Limassol. 36˚C, climbed 2952 ft . 3 x category 4’s.

A lovely hot day, with all the team flying along, followed by a great night in Limassol with Cypriot Dancing and sampling the local cuisine. Many of us had a dip in the sea to try and ease the wounds.

Day 2: Tuesday 14th October 62 miles – Limassol to Nicosia. 30˚C+, climbed 2789ft. 3 x category 4’s

A long day finishing in the city with no one getting lost! Another great night sampling the local food and a walk around the city walls and checkpoints and experiencing the cultural divides.

Day 3: Wednesday 15th Oct, 51 miles – Nicosia to Troodos. 25˚C cooling to 11˚C – with Thunder, Lightening, Hail and Rain. 6900ft climbed, 28 mile pull – 6 x category 4, 3 x category 3, 1 x category 1 and 1 x HC.

This is the day they had been waiting for. A nice gentle meander out to the village of Akaki where we were met by our good friend Peter Fanaris and his wife Nicki, in his home village. A fabulous lunch was laid on for us and was much appreciated particularly in view of what was to come. The rest of the day was one that will always be remembered… As we approached the final 28-mile climb up to the top of the Troodos it became apparent that the weather was not on our side. Torrential rain, hail, thick cloud with intermittent thunder and lightening all threatened to bring our ride to a halt. Undaunted the whole team pulled themselves up to the top and were very glad to have open fires and centrally heated bedrooms waiting for us at the hotel. All the cyclists made it to the top!

Day 4: Thursday 16th October 55 miles – Troodos to Kato Pyrgos. 25˚C – 2812ft climbed, 8000 ft descent. 8 x category 4’s.

This particular day is meant to be a massive descent. You may wonder then, why so many climbs? Many of our cyclists asked the same question. Joking aside, this is a dangerous day, with the danger of overheating wheel rims and speed a cause for concern.

An overnight stay at a beachside local establishment with home cooked food, put us back on good form again.

Day 5: Friday 17th October, 65 miles. 28˚C 2861ft climbed. 1 x category 4 and 1 x category 2.

Not a day to underestimate-a long dry day in heat, with some serious climbs. At this point, they are all as fit as they can be, and the charity cycle tops are starting to fit a bit better!

A wonderful finish at the Capital Coast Hotel, and a night to remember at the Nessi Restaurant and Kato Paphos just about put the whole ride together. A great finishing night, where everyone has a chance to talk about their week, and their thoughts on the whole experience. Some were speechless.

Finally, we had a rest day and then returned to our families on Sunday the 19th from Larnaca on the southern coast of Cyprus.

You may wonder why so many people enjoy this sort of trip, they pay their own expenses and spend a great deal of time preparing and training for the event. I can only say that for those who have experienced it, it is a lasting memory of great satisfaction and achievement, enjoyed with a team of like-minded friends. These are thoughts and memories that will live with us forever, and bring a smile to our faces every time they are revisited.

One of the things that make this so special is knowing that we are making a difference. This years’ project is the VIP APPEAL at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Edgbaston. The money raised this year will contribute towards refurbishing two consulting rooms for the Children’s Radiotherapy Dept.

Each year hundreds of children with cancer come to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham for their radiotherapy. The treatment is a scary experience for anybody, but it is especially frightening for children who are more used to the bright interiors of children’s hospitals. That’s why the QEHB Charity has launched the VIP Treatment Appeal.

Birmingham Irish Cycle Appeal hope to raise £20,000 towards the £250,000 needed to make coming to the QE as pleasant an experience as possible for our young patients. With your help we would like to create a child-orientated area in the Radiotherapy department. This will be a light, bright, welcoming space with toys and games to take their minds off the treatment ahead.

What’s more, we would like to give every child who receives radiotherapy a toy.

Head of fundraising Justine Davy said: “The children that come here are incredibly brave. From talking to them and their families, we know that receiving treatment at a big, adult hospital like the QE can be very daunting – especially if they are more used to visiting children’s hospitals.

“That’s why we have launched the VIP Treatment Appeal. With the generosity and enthusiasm of our fundraisers and donors we can cheer up these courageous young patients and show them how much we care.”

On behalf of the gang, may I take this opportunity of thanking you all for being so supportive of us. There were sponsorship cheques waiting for us on our return and many of you have visited us on justgiving.

Please remember our Presentation Dinner Dance is on Saturday 6th December, and will be held this year at the Irish Centre, Digbeth. Tickets are £30. We have Kevin McGrath at the Full ShaBang playing and it will be a night to remember. For details contact Michelle on 07974 807568 or Joe on 07977 465950.

Birmingham Irish Cycle Appeal Presentation Dinner Dance
Saturday 6th December at the Irish Centre, Digbeth.
Dancing to Kevin McGrath and The Full ShaBang.
Tickets are £30.

For details contact Michelle on 07974 807568 or Joe on 07977 465950