About RTÉ Television
The Afternoon Show
The Afternoon ShowRTÉ One, Weekdays, 4.00pm

Biking To Beijing

Friday, 7 September 2007


We'll be speaking to three young men who are about to embark on a massive adventure as they cycle from Dublin to Beijing all in the name of charity.

About The Lads .
Conor Rowan
Conor Rowan is currently in third year of veterinary science in UCD. Conor became involved with UCDVO when recruited as a volunteer to travel to Haiti in the summer of 2006. This opened his eyes to the needs of those less well off in the world and upon his return decided that his month long sojourn in Gros Morne was not enough to quench his thirst for charity work. This combined with his love of travel and adventure meant that he leapt at the chance to cycle around the world to raise money for two worthy causes.

Mark Donlon
Following a degree in Construction economics and management from DIT, Mark worked for a quantity surveying practise in Dublin for three years. In his youth Mark was an ever present on the Irish athletics circuit and ran in the 800m for many years at a highly competitive level. Mark is also a keen cyclist and has an appetite for adventure that would scare the bejeesus out of the devil himself! So a trip of this nature has been a dream of his for many years.

Paul Ryan
Whilst studying for a Bachelor of arts Degree in History and Politics in UCD Paul travelled extensively, visiting over thirty countries. During these travels he developed a keen interest in helping those in need in the poorer areas of the world, at home and abroad. Thus he began volunteer work with ucdvo during his final year in college.

About the trip .
The idea of the trip came about over a few pints and after much planning has finally become a reality. The idea was conceived in 2003 by Mark and Paul as they realized they were going to be at the 2008 Beijing Olympic games to support their good friend, athlete David Gillick. They decided that they would do some travelling on the way to the Olympics and after Conor got on board in 2006 they decided that their travelling should be charitable and since they all enjoyed cycling it was decided that they would cycle to Beijing! They are going to accumulate a total of 18,000 km and hope to have raised €100,000 by the time they reach Beijing in time for the Olympic  Games of 2008. This money is going to be split between two charities and the lads are paying for their whole trip themselves so no money donated will be going on their expenses.

The lads have worked out that they have to cycle 52.5km a day five days a week for the next year and are actually really looking forward to the trip. They have invented rules for the trip in order to make it less monontonous. These rules range from them not being allowed to shave or cut their hair during the whole journey to the "music maker" rule where they all must have mastered a musical instrument by the time they arrive in Beijing.

The Two Charities
UCD Volunteer Overseas (UCDVO)

Their Mission Statement
UCD Volunteers Overseas was established to offer students the opportunity to engage in voluntary work in the developing world. We believe in the need to listen to the wisdom of local knowledge and learn from the expertise of local people in all the community projects where we work.
We fundraise to support these projects financially on a once off and continuing basis. Those funds are directed according to need to projects identified by local groups, which will most benefit the community. Central to the work of the charity is the belief that students benefit greatly by volunteering their time and energy in these projects. The challenge for students and local people is to learn a mutual respect and understanding of each others cultural identities maintaining the hope that we can alleviate some of the causes of disadvantage.

ARC Cancer
Aftercare Research Counselling

Incorporating rehabilitation and complementary care. Founded in 1994, ARC is a registered charity offering professional support to people affected by cancer and those who care for them. The support is holistic and complements primary medical treatment with education and psychological care.
Services in ARC House are free of charge but donations are greatly appreciated.
Who Comes To ARC?
. People diagnosed with cancer no matter where they live or where they are being treated.
. Adult family members and friends of those affected by cancer.
. Members of the caring professions who work with people with cancer.

The director of ARC cancer research Ursula Courtney had this to say about the lads, "They are wonderful people to do such a trip and we appreciate their generosity in having ARC as one of their beneficiaries as ARC would not be able to continue to offer its free services to people affected by cancer without the generosity of such wonderful men. Many thanks to them and best of luck next Friday on the show and especially on the trip to Beijing."

Fr Tony Coote of UCD Volunteer Overseas had this to say to the lads, We in UCD Volunteers Overseas deeply appreciate the efforts you are going to to raise money for the charity. We also know that you are mad but full of determination. As you know we are a small charity trying to make a difference among the poor in India, Haiti and Nicaragua. Any money you raise for us will go towards projects we work on in these countries. At times you will be saddle sore(bring the sudo cream!) but we know that this will be a fantastic, and unforgettable experience for you all. Thanks again for having the idea and for following it through. With best wishes , Tony on behalf of UCD Volunteers Overseas

For More Information