Farmers, agribusiness, media and cyclists are coming together next month for a major fundraising drive in the form of an ultra cycle to help mental health charities.

The ultra cyclists are a group of like-minded adventure cyclists who take on an ultra cycling challenge every year for charity.

Since 2016, they have completed 6,723km over five different cycles in just 18 days, in five different countries, while raising a whopping €172,456 for various local and national charities.

Last year, despite the terrible weather, the cyclists had a very successful campaign on their 32 county adventure, cycling through each county of Ireland, totalling 1,900km in just six days and raising a massive €84,413

Wild Atlantic Way ultra cycle challenge 2021

On Sunday, July 18, 2021, the cyclists are setting off on a huge ultra adventure along the iconic and scenic Wild Atlantic Way.

They will depart from Kinsale in Co. Cork and cycling north along the west coast all the way to Derry city through Cork, Kerry, Clare, Galway, Mayo, Sligo and Donegal – a journey of 2,100km, which the cyclists intend to complete in less than seven days.

Similar to other events in the past, the ultra cyclists will be joined by fellow employees, local club cyclists, farmers and industry colleagues from co-ops, agri-tech, vets, and animal health companies, for part of the journey.

The main sponsors of this year’s ultra cyclists are Agriland Media Group and Efficient Farm Solutions (EFS), Mullingar.

Mental health charities

It has been a difficult 18 months for people during lockdown in their communities, having to give up normal activities and hobbies.

Therefore, the theme of this year’s event is based on promoting ‘self care – physical fitness and mental wellbeing’.

The monies raised will go to three charities who offer confidential support to all people in need;  

  1. Mindspace Mayo;
  2. “Make the Moove” initiative by Macra na Feirme;

The charities offer confidential mental support services to young people who are struggling with isolation and mental health.

Ultra cycle support

On Tuesday, July 20, on day 3 of the challenge – the stage from Castlegregory, Co. Kerry to Oranmore, Co. Galway – the ultra cyclists will be joined by farmers, vets, colleagues in co-ops, agri-tech, feed, finance and animal health companies, who will join in and cycle a 65km leg or two and maybe the whole 320km stage.

A team from Macra na Feirme, including their president John Keane, will be present that day to support the cause.  

One of the organisers, Alan Heaney of EFS said: “We are very appreciative of all the support from our sponsors (Agriland, Lely Mullingar and Efficient Farm Systems), donators, followers and particularly, the farmers who have been very generous and supported us along the way.”

“This year, it’s going to be bigger and better, we are attempting to cycle the 2,100km of the Wild Atlantic Way in just 6.5 days, a huge task. However, there will be great fun and banter on days three and four, and we encourage all cycling enthusiasts to come out and join in,” concluded Heaney.

As part of the campaign, Agriland Media will focus on topics concerning mental health and rural families and communities during the week of the cycle from Sunday, July 18.

Macra na Feirme

Macra na Feirme is urging clubs or counties to get together and support the ultra cyclists’ goal of 2100km and cycle the distance in their own areas to raise awareness and to fundraise in their local areas.

Macra na Feirme president, John Keane amd Alan Heaney, EFS

Teams will be asked to clock up these kilometres (kms) from July 1, and ending on July 24, when the ultra cyclists complete their cycle.

Macra na Feirme will be sponsoring a prize for:

  1. The first team to reach 2,100km;
  2. The individual who clocks up the most kms;
  3. One member for taking part which will be randomly generated.

Clubs will then be asked to submit their mileage, where the total amount of mileage completed by Macra na Feirme members will be recorded on the National Macra na Feirme website.

Agri community supporting mental health

Other companies or agencies which have come on board to support the ultra cycle and the mental health charities include, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), Teagasc, Lakeland Dairies, Glanbia, Easyfix, Alltech, ZeroGrazer, IFAC and MSD.

The aim of the challenge this year is to raise €150,000 for the three vital charities.

Any other businesses or individuals who want to get involved or support the campaign can donate to the ‘go fund me’ account here or get in touch via the website to get involved.