With Science Society’s charity Sci-cle to Galway coming up in January, Katie Hackett, gives the lowdown on the event.
Since we began in 1990, UCD Science Society has become Ireland’s largest student-run charity, giving massive amounts of money raised by our members to the Children’s Medical Research Fund in Crumlin Children’s Hospital. CMRF provides vital funding for Our lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin and The National Children’s Research Centre to enable little patients to have the best possible outcomes. They raise funds for a variety of reasons, including purchasing vital equipment for Our Ladies Children’s Hospital Crumlin, investing in ground-breaking research, and creating Brighter Days for their patients and their families when visiting the hospital. With over 120,000 children passing through their doors every year, CMRF is such an amazing charity and we are so proud to be contributing to their vital research every year.
To raise money, we’ve held numerous fundraisers over the years, like our successful annual Pubathons and mystery tours, as well as our Science Ball, but to date, our biggest event is our Sci-cle to Galway. Not many people like the idea of getting on a bike and travelling 200km across the country over two days in the depths of January, but every year our great members do exactly that, and this year is no different! On the 26th of January 2018, 130 brave students and marshals will bear the winter winds and days of a sore bum from the saddle to raise vital funds for CMRF.
Leaving Liffey Valley at 8am in our warmest thermal underwear, we set off in groups of 30 students for Athlone. Behind each group is a mechanic’s car in case your bike decides the cycle is too much for it, an ambulance in case your heart decides the same thing, and a support car. Every 20/30km, or roughly every 90 minutes, we stop for a water break and lunch. We travel in pairs and sing and chat the whole way, so by the end of your day, you’ve made 30 new friends.
“While it’s still dark out, our cyclists set off on the second leg of our journey.”
After 100km, we stop in Athlone for a lovely meal in the Athlone Springs and a well-deserved night’s sleep. Since we started this crazy fundraiser, the Springs have been so welcoming, even letting our tired cyclists make use of their swimming pool and sauna facilities.
After this lovely sleep, you should be ready for day two. While it’s still dark out, our cyclists set off on the second leg of our journey. After a lovely breakfast, we set out on more 20/30 km bouts broken up by snack breaks. On our last stop, we stop into the little town of Craughwell in east County Galway. There, we get a lovely lunch of ham sambos and soup provided by the lovely Irish mammies there! They’ve always been so good to us and each year come back to us and help us out. We are so grateful for them, as they really brighten up our day. From there, only 20 more km until we reach the end of our journey. Galway here we come!
Finishing a thesis is a good feeling, falling in love is a great feeling, but there is no better feeling than knowing you don’t have to cycle at all anymore once you reach Eyre Square in Galway. Knowing that you have just cycled 200km and have made it alive is truly something you cant imagine.
“Finishing a thesis is a good feeling, falling in love is a great feeling, but there is no better feeling than knowing you don’t have to cycle at all anymore once you reach Eyre Square in Galway.”
After the photos and tears, both students and marshals take to the streets of Galway city with buckets to kindly ask the locals if they can help us increase our final cheque amount for CMRF, and like the lovely people they are, our buckets are overflowing by the end. When we have finished shaking buckets and have finally gotten our breath back, we head to Kinlay Hostel to relax for a bit and shower (hopefully) before we head to the Connacht Hotel for a gorgeous three course meal. One of our marshals, who has done the Scicle seven years in a row now swears that this is the best meal you’ll have in your life. It’s our reward for this magnificent feat.
With our stomachs lined and our bums starting to recover from the saddle, it’s time to let the real fun begin! Carbon night club has, for the past eight years, welcomed UCD Sci Soc with open arms and wonderful drink deals. Despite the fact that you’ve just cycled 200km over two days, everyone somehow finds the energy to boogie the night away with this huge new group of friends, most of whom you didn’t know three days previous. This is by far the best night of the college year, with the sense of comraderie getting stronger with every move made and shape pulled.
Stumbling into the hostel at god knows what hour, there is a slight sadness in the air. Knowing that you’ll be going home from such an amazing trip in 12 hours puts a bit of a dampener on the mood, but knowing you have just raised vital funds to help the amazing children who attend Our lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin and The National Children’s Research Centre override that feeling.
The bus back from Galway to Dublin is always a fairly quiet one. We’re exhausted from this monstrous cycle, we have sore feet from all those shapes we were pulling, and we’re sad that we’re going to have to wait another year for this weekend to come around again, but knowing that the money we raised is going to do so much good and that you can do it all again in a year’s time? That’s what keeps us peddling on.