Early twenties duo are cycling across Europe for cancer charity

On his 22nd birthday, Rory Mulcahy from Bray, Ireland, celebrated by eating watery tuna straight out of a can and raw oats. That’s because he’s begun cycling across Europe to god knows where, to raise money for the Irish Cancer Society.

Rory, accompanied by friend Marta Fernandez del Pino, 21, from St Albans, Hertfordshire, has already raised over €2,000 after 6 days of cycling across France, starting from Paris. He also took part in the Chiemgau Trail Run, to kick start his fundraising journey. We spoke to the pair as they downed tools for the night in the small French town of Domaine du Bourg.

“It’s felt incredible,” the Trinity College Dublin student said. “I’ve felt grateful everyday doing this. Not just for the money but the chance that we get to do this. I’m so grateful that we have people supporting us, supportive families and supporting friends.”

Rory said that it would have been very easy to turn around and give up already considering the poor weather and steep inclines, but he has a strong motivation for putting himself through this gruelling adventure.

“We lost my Uncle to lung cancer six years ago this March. So last year on the 5th anniversary, I really wanted to do something to remember him by and to raise money for the Irish Cancer society. So this has been along time in the works.”

“The big memory my Dad had with my Uncle Paul was cycling across Normandy so I decided that I wanted to do that but harder, bigger, and longer. I had it in my head that I wanted to do that kind of thing but make it a proper challenge. Not just a leisurely trip with my Dad.”

“Also, the day I was supposed to be moving to Paris, my friend came to me and told me that his Dad had been diagnosed with cancer, and that really cemented in my head that I was going to do it this summer.”

Needless to say cycling across very rural France has its challenges…

Marta said: “I woke up to a flooded tent this morning, and then spent 2 hours drying everything. Rory’s phone has now got water damage in its charging hole and mine has no signal. So we’ve been relying on directions from a random Parisian man. He gave us the most obscure directions know to man.”

“Also a thunder storm started and it was torrential. We still had 20k to cycle when it started. In the end we found this campsite with a hostel.”

“It was my birthday on the 16th,” said Rory. “I realised when we got to the campsite that my stove didn’t work. So instead we had two lovely cans of tuna each, eaten straight out of the tin. Watery yet dry tuna. Then we followed that up with a delicious desert of raw porridge oats”

“The candles didn’t stay in the Tuna which made me a bit sad but as birthday meals go, very enjoyable and very memorable.”

“It’s absolutely Murphy’s law but that’s the point. It’s a challenge. It’s kind of expected where there is days that aren’t all sunshine and rainbows.”

But it’s all worth it.

“My uncle was a great man and I think his big thing was he’d pack all his kids into the car and they’d go on camping trips around Ireland. He loved camping but he loved things being hard. He always made it harder than it had to be.”

“I think he’d like the fact that we’re making it harder than it has to be.”

“Being together makes it easier as well,” said Marta. “Especially in the last leg today. We just started getting hysterical. We were cracking jokes and screaming with laughter while these cows are just staring at us flying by. I think if either of us had been alone, it would be a far more sombre trip.”

“It’s been such a thing for being grateful and appreciate of what we have. Even the warm shower today was amazing. It’s the simple pleasures. Just the fact that we are so lucky that we get to do these things as part of our lives.”

“I left my earphones in Paris so I’ve just been enjoying the sound of nature.”

“I’ve been singing The Rocky Road to Dublin, whilst being stared at by rural French people. It’s been lovely.”

“We have the opportunity to cycle across Europe and to raise a bit of money. It’s something that broadens your horizons and something that is so life affirming.”

Rory and Marta have also been documenting their journey on Instagram:

Marta said: “More than we expected, people have been interacting with us on Instagram and following us on our journey.

“When I’ve told my friends that I’m doing this people have said we have to update the Instagram because they want to see the journey.”

“I feel like we’ve made a little community of people learning from us and seeing our journey.”

“It’s also been really nice to get out of Paris and meet some older people who have a much slower way of life.”

Rocky Road to… Dubrovnik?

Interestingly, there is no end goal for where Rory and Marta want to get to. They’re simply going until it’s not feasible anymore.

Rory’s original goal was to cycle to Greece, but has since accepted that that might be a stretch.

Now he’ll settle for Dubrovnik, just a cool 878 miles away. Even still he knows they may turn back before then.

So give them a reason to keep going. Show some love on their Instagram: @lifecycle_ics or go to their GoFundMe here to donate.

Read more here

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