The family of a Larne woman who held the 386-mile Irish “End to End” cycle record have raised £8,500 for charity by recreating her journey.
On June 27, 1955, Isabel Woods cycled from Mizen Head in Cork to Fair Head in Antrim in an impressive 23 hours and three minutes.
Last month, on the sixtieth anniversary of her journey, 11 of Isabel’s friends and family cycled the same route for charity, raising thousands for The Boom Foundation and Macmillan Cancer.
Isabel, who is now 86, told the Times of her pride at watching the cyclists, some of whom had to borrow a bike for the adventure, race up the track to the finish line at Fair Head.
“I really do admire them,” she said.
“It was a big effort and none of them had cycled 40 miles a day before. I’m sure there were a lot of saddle sores but they didn’t complain!”
The 11 supporters were split into three groups who completed the task in 11 days, six days and four days respectively, arriving together at Fair Head on June 27.
“It was wonderful to see them ride in together along the last stretch,” said Isabel.
“There was a great celebration and then instead of resting they walked out to see the cliffs at Fair Head.”
The celebrations continued at Ballycastle’s Marine Hotel, where the group’s bikes were stored in the hotel ballroom as they toasted their success.
The cycle has so far raised £6,386.25 for sarcoma cancer charity The Boom Foundation, with the remaining £2223.75 being donated to Macmillan Cancer Support.
Isabel’s globe-trotting gyrocopter pilot nephew Norman Surplus even interrupted his attempt at circumnavigating the globe for the event, flying home from America to participate in the last leg of the cycle.
“I was absolutely flabbergasted to see Norman,” recalled Isabel.
“He had been in an island off America and he had taken a ferry, bus and three planes to get home before joining in the last leg of the cycle from Ballymena to Fairhead.”
Despite its success, this year’s commemorative bike ride is likely to be a one-off.
“I wouldn’t want to make this an annual thing, although it has given some family members a taste for cycling!” laughed Isabel.
“It did bring back great memories.”