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Derry cyclist takes on dangerous challenge in Donegal to raise money for a charity close to his heart

Ciaran O'Hara cycled up and down the Northern side of Mamore Gap 39 times in aid of the Foyle Hospice

Derry  cyclist takes on dangerous challenge in Donegal to raise money for a charity close to his heart

Ciaran O'Hara took on the challenge to raise money for the Foyle Hospice.

An endurance cyclist has completed an 11-hour loop of a notoriously steep and dangerous Donegal mountain road to raise money for a Derry charity,

Ciaran O'Hara cycled up and down the Northern side of Mamore Gap 39 times in aid of the Foyle Hospice.

His aim was to achieve the same vertical elevation as Mount Everest, with the added danger of a twisty road with passing motorists.

The hospice is a charity close to Mr O'Hara's heart because his uncle, Michael Feeney, received end-of-life care there almost 20 years ago.

"The Foyle Hospice is a great place and I remember going to Sunday morning Mass there when my uncle was ill," said Mr O'Hara.

"I know they are in a bad predicament because lockdown has halted a lot of their fundraising, so I wanted to do something.

"It's only a drop in the ocean of what they need, but every little bit helps."

Mr O'Hara is no stranger to cycling challenges and is currently preparing for a 200-mile cycle around the north of Ireland later this month.

"The morning after I did the Mamore Gap I had a mixture of elation and then the post race blues," he admitted.

"I'm always looking for the next challenge."

As well as being a keen cyclist Mr O'Hara is also a self-employed bicycle mechanic.

He recently moved back to Derry after working on bikes in London for the last eight years.

Mr O'Hara found the bike scene in Derry quite limited at first, but thanks to lockdown his business has really taken off.

"I got my business up and running during the Covid pandemic and ensuing bicycle boom," he explained.

"When I was first trying to get it off the ground Derry wasn't really a cycling city, but that has all changed now."

Due to problems in the supply chain it is still very difficult to buy a bicycle in Derry, but Mr O'Hara he loved etting an old bike back on the road.

"I take a great deal of pride in my work and treat every bike like it is my own," he said. "Sometimes it's not nice work but it beats throwing them away. Delivering a bike back to a customer is a very satisfying moment."

Mr O'Hara's dream is now to open a bicycle shop and repair space in Ebrington.

"I'd love to open a bike shop that would be a hub for the cycling community and I think that Ebrington is the place to do it."

To donate to Mr O'Hara fundraising appeal log on to his website wwww.thebikegeneral.com.

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