Donegal Person of the Year Noel Cunningham is on his bike to raise funds for No Barriers!
The first No Barriers ‘Legends in Lycra’ sponsored cycle has been postponed to Spring 2021 – which gives participants plenty of time to train to become a true local legend.
Adults over the age of 55 are invited to raise funds for Donegal’s No Barriers Foundation by taking part in a fun 11km and 8.3km cycle around Donegal Town. The date will be confirmed early next year, at a time when it is safe to do so, but organisers can confirm it will be wheelie good craic.
Noel Cunningham is one of the early birds to sign up. A keen cyclist already, Noel is a strong advocate for the benefits of getting out for a pedal in the fresh air.
The Harvey’s Point hotelier says cycling is something that brings untold freedom and joy.
Noel has encouraged many friends and family to take up cycling over the years. In the lead up to the Legends in Lycra event, he is helping us to inspire volunteers to dust off their bikes and sign up for their own feel-good adventure in 2021.
As we grow older, cycling brings great benefits for our bodies and our minds.
Noel says: “The benefits of cycling from a physical point of view are well-known, but also, when you get on a bicycle and you go off into the open road, you see the open countryside and there’s something extraordinarily beneficial for your mental health.
“We advocate mindfulness, and we talk and read about it. But being on a bicycle, it’s enforced, you are looking at the world in a different way. It’s just wonderful.”
During this year of closures, restrictions and travel limits, Noel counts himself fortunate to have the freedom to keep cycling and he is happy to put his skills to use to help others in the community.
The No Barriers Foundation was founded with a goal of helping people with disabilities break down barriers to exercise and physical activity. The non-profit organisation has an inclusive centre in Letterkenny to provide unparalleled rehabilitation in an exoskeleton, alongside one to one physiotherapy and group exercise sessions for people with stroke, spinal injury, MS or any neurological disorder.
To Noel, supporting No Barriers, he says, is “making a bit of a fuss about something that is extraordinary.”
His role as Donegal Person of the Year 2019-2021 has been firmly focused on flying the flag for the county and championing local charities. Many would applaud Noel’s willingness to give his time to so many groups, but he admits that he benefits more than anyone from every moment he is helping others.
“If we climb a mountain for any cause, it’s the climber that benefits most. It’s the sheer joy of preparing and planning to do something that takes us outside of our comfort zone, that makes us face some of our fears and anxieties and to do it for a good cause. The benefits for ourselves far outweigh the benefits for any organisation,” he said.
If anyone would like a new motivation or a new fitness goal to work towards next year, Legends in Lycra is for you. The event is the golden opportunity for anyone over 55 to ‘get back on their bike’, Noel says.
He adds: “Even if you have never sat on a bike for 40 or 50 years. This is your motivation to get organised, get off your backside and do it!
“Bite the bullet, find a new passion, do a bit of training in the months ahead and come and join us on this amazing cycle.”
If you want to sign up to Legends in Lycra, simply send an email to email@example.com and we will help you get started on your sponsorship journey.
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