On Sunday August 6, 2017 six riders set off to cover 1000 miles in 10 days around Ireland in honor of Conor Brady’s father Bill, who lost his battle with pancreatic cancer in 2013. Bill’s racing career evolved into a love for multi-day rides, the most ambitious of which he called The Big Lap.
IN CONOR'S WORDS:
My father was my cycling inspiration, and also my coach when I raced. A rider who started racing velodromes on a beautiful bronze Mercier, and followed the Giro religiously every year until he passed. He was the one who first put me on a saddle, bought me my first pair of leather racing shoes in Palma, Majorca and had his hand on my back all through my racing days when things got tough. After he finished racing his love for riding turned to multi-day rides, the most ambitious being what he called “The Big Lap”, where he loved the solitude of being “out on the road” and the escape from “The Troubles” in the North where we grew up.
Every year in August he would wheel his Holdsworth out the front door, panniers loaded and a tent strapped to the top, to begin a two week ride that hugged the coast of Ireland. Often not the most logical or direct route, it was one where he always kept the sea on his left, and hopefully the wind in his back, chasing through the small villages of Ireland on the B-Roads. I pieced most of that original route together from his old OS maps, and sections that I did with him when we were still able to ride together. Heading down through the busy resort towns of the east coast and the Irish Sea. Along the sailing communities of the south and the Celtic Sea. Up the rugged west coast and the Great Atlantic Way, and the last leg home along the historic northern coast on the roads I used to train on.
I have never done The Big Lap, but if ever there was a time it's now. There is no better group than the Leave It On The Road crew to share these roads with. Man, he would have loved to have hooked onto the back of this group.
Seven good humans set out to make the same trip.
Like the Pacific Northwest, where many of have and still call home, Ireland's temperate climate gives way to so much luscious green that it boggles the mind.
It is true what they say about Guinness. It's not the same back in the states. In fact, it goes down so easily, it's basically the world's best recovery mix.
Riding through the Peat Bogs of Ireland was an entirely new experience on so many levels. Peat as a resource uncovers an amazing cultural and geological history in Ireland. As we were there, we saw the usage of it as a natural (and publicly accessible) source of heat in Pubs and "turf cutting" for locals to use in their homes.
Donations, raffle tickets and products may be purchased in our store with all proceeds benefitting the Hirshberg Foundation. Founded in 1997, the Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing pancreatic cancer research, and providing information, resources, and support to pancreatic cancer patients and their families.