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Saturday 1 October 2016

Gardai's Transylvanian cycle aims to raise €25k for charity

Garda Tour de Force Charity Cycle in aid of Pieta House. Pictured at the launch (centre) Romanian Ambassador to Ireland Manuela Breazu, Garda Sean Trowell and Deputy Garda Comm John Twomey
Garda Tour de Force Charity Cycle in aid of Pieta House. Pictured at the launch (centre) Romanian Ambassador to Ireland Manuela Breazu, Garda Sean Trowell and Deputy Garda Comm John Twomey

He has cycled the equivalent distance from Malin Head in Co Donegal to Brow Head in Co Cork 15 times since he co-founded the Garda Tour de Force Charity in 1991.

Yet Det Supt Adrian Whitelaw (56) is ready to get on his bike for another 600km ride, this time across the Transylvanian mountains.

Vital

He and two dozen other gardai will cycle through Romania in September to raise vital funds for Pieta House.

"We're men and women in Lycra but we're not professional cyclists," said Mr Whitelaw, despite cycling around 10,000 kilometres since he and other officers at Dublin's Kevin Street Garda station started the charity.

"We're a bunch of people who like cycling and getting out and meeting other police forces and we like to see other countries."

The cyclists, ranging in age from rookies in their 20s to retired gardai, hope to raise €25,000 which they will donate to the suicide and self-harm prevention charity.

If they reach their target, gardai will have raised more than €1m since the charity began.

They will have their work cut out as they and police from Romania navigate the stunning but scary Transfagarasan, or Road to the Sky, winding through the highest peaks in the Carpathian Mountains.

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