Two weeks on Sunday! That’s when we leave Dublin en route for Chicago and Route 66! It still seems so far away – as it has all year – but it also seems impossibly soon.

 

My Route 66 adventure started in early 2007, when I read a magazine article about the 2006 Temple Street CUH Route 66 Challenge. I showed it to my wife, Rita, who promptly said, “You should do it”. Taken aback, since Rita has been a vehement opponent of motorcycles all the years I have known her (we’re married 28 years!), I managed to splutter “Pardon” (politeness even in moments of surprise!). “You should do it. You always wanted to go across America. Go find out about it”, came the reply. So I did.

 

I emailed Temple Street’s Fundraising Office and, in May 2007, I met Angela McNulty. Somehow, Angela saw past my 30-year absence from biking and allowed me to join the Irish 66ers. One condition: I had to be biking regularly and to take part in the training sessions – for that, I needed a bike. I didn’t think that was part of Rita’s plan but Angi had spoken!

 

Over the next few weeks, I did two days’ training with Eddy O’Shea of Bikecraft in Cork, who recommended a Honda Deauville, which I bought at the beginning of June from the Lee Honda Centre. Since then, I have done over 4,000 miles, to Route 66 training sessions in Portlaoise and Rathdowney, to business meetings in Tralee, Waterford and Drogheda, and just for fun. I have developed my own biking capabilities (a long way still to go!), met interesting people, and found a new hobby.

 

But the most important part of Route 66 – its raison d’être – is the fundraising for the Temple Street Children’s University Hospital and the children who have need of it. That’s been amazing: €8,300 seemed like a huge amount to raise, but people have been so generous – and still the money is coming in! Thank you everyone, most sincerely.

 

And in two weeks, we set off on the adventure! I’m like a child again – I can hardly wait – the excitement is killing me! Best of all, Rita’s coming around to the notion of being a pillion-passenger in 2010!!

 

Go Irish Route 66ers!

 

 

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