Sarah Sabbioni, Derek Cummins, Jennifer Madden, David Tait and Damien Long(Manager of The Laurels)

The Laurels Santa Cycle Crew braved the elements last week, to complete their annual event, amid a successful fundraising venture for Headway (Brain Injury Services & Support).

This year the Laurels Crew have raised over €40,000 for Headway, which has enabled the support group to hire a psychologist, who will help Headway clients and family members.

After Covid lockdowns, the Laurels Crew were eager to get back on the road this year, with a successful Galway to Dublin event in September, and their ninth incarnation of the Santa Cycle.

Over 140 cyclists were decked out in Santa outfits for the event on Sunday, December 4, which started at The Laurels, in Clondalkin village, went to Corkagh Park, Liffey Valley, the Pennyhill in Lucan and back to the Laurels for mince pies and pints.

Before Covid, the Santa cycle was from the Phoenix Park to Clondalkin village was extremely popular with 600 cyclists involved at one point, but organisers are hopeful it may revert to that route next year.

Derek Cummins, a member of the Laurels Cycle Crew, said: “The weather was horrendous on Sunday, but we got a little bit lucky when it stopped at the start, and we got about 50 per cent of the way before it started raining again.

“We were a little worried about the numbers beforehand because of the forecast, but 140 people turned out on their bikes, we had great support from gardai, all the race marshals, the crew members and the ambulance service, all in all it was just fantastic, and it was a pretty special day.”

Derek, a Clondalkin man who has benefited from the support of Headway to recover from a stroke at the age of 42, has been involved with the Laurels Cycle Crew for years.

“The focus now is to build for next year. Before last week, we had 90 signed up for the Santa Cycle, but with the awareness in The Echo and online, that helped to bring it up to 160 in a few days,” said Derek.

“On Sunday we had three people who travelled over from America specifically to take part in this race, having heard of it a number of years ago.

“We also had cyclists from South Africa and Poland, so there was a good mix.

“Although the weather meant there wasn’t many people out on the streets, we had a lot of cars beeping support.

“Thanks to everyone who took part all year. Not bad for a little pub in the village of Clondalkin.”

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