Willow Wheelers finish 160km trek to raise funds for Kenya

Drought and famine-afflicted Pokot region of country to benefit from cycling club’s efforts

The Willow Wheelers peloton prepare for the 160km charity cycle. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

The Willow Wheelers peloton prepare for the 160km charity cycle. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

More than 300 cyclists have taken part in a 160km cycle through four counties to raise funds for the drought-affected Pokot region of Kenya.

Cyclists participating in the 28th annual event of the Willow Wheelers club travelled from Blackrock, Co Dublin, via Trim and Ballivor in Co Meath to Kinnegad, Co Westmeath. They returned via Enfield, Kilcock, Maynooth and Leixlip in Co Kildare.

A member of the Willow Wheelers starting out on the 28th annual 160km charity cycle through Dublin, Meath and Kildare. Photograph: Cyril Byrne
A member of the Willow Wheelers starting out on the 28th annual 160km charity cycle through Dublin, Meath and Kildare. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Current and past pupils of Willow Park School and Blackrock College make up the majority of members of the club which was founded in 1989 by cyclist Christy McDaid.

The number of participants in the annual fundraising event has grown from 20 in the first year to more than 300 currently, raising more than €2 million for water, health and education projects in Africa, South America and Southeast Asia.

The club’s most famous former member is professional cyclist Nicolas Roche, son of cycling hero Stephen Roche.

Willow Wheelers in the saddle on their 28th annual cycle through Dublin, Meath and Kildare. Photograph: Cyril Byrne
Willow Wheelers in the saddle on their 28th annual cycle through Dublin, Meath and Kildare. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

The funding goes directly to local projects run by Irish missionaries and this year’s focus is on Kenya.

Mr McDaid said they were making a special effort for the Pokot area of Kenya, which had had not rain for eight months: “The area has been decimated by drought and famine affecting humans and animals alike.”