Willow Weekly Issue 34 (31 May 2024)

By: Steve Kelly, Dad to Harvey (5th Form) and Zach (2nd Year)

Willow Wheelers is a long standing club which originated in Willow Park in the late 1980’s, and a club that has brought hundreds of our kids on a journey of adventure, sports, travel, charity work, fun and, most importantly, friendship. Cycling is so important to younger kids and once they learn to ride, they never look back.  We don’t race, although some other clubs do. Alternatively, we bring groups on leisure cycles of varying distances depending on age and experience.  It’s a low pressure and fun environment, each cycle hosting a reward of treats at our destination.

Every year the club arranges a number of events, including our Easter trip abroad (this year to Spain) and our 100-mile cycle, which was held just a few weeks ago, to Kinnegad and back.  The trips and events are extremely well organised by an experienced committee who are all cyclists themselves and also raise thousands of euros for deserving charity projects such as Machakos in Kenya.

It’s hard to describe the sense of fun and achievement that the boys gain from these events, the bonding and friendships they develop, and the independence they learn.  As they progress through Blackrock College, the club continues for them and so does the cycling, right up to 5th Year.  Every year a selection of Willow Wheelers from 4th and 5th years travel to see the projects where we have invested our charity funds, and to experience first-hand how important this is for those that need our support most. It’s a life- changing experience.

From a parents’ point of view, Willow Wheelers offers so much more than just cycling, as the boys gain hugely from being out (and off their screens!), keeping fit and healthy, and spending time with friends.  Selfishly, I get to spend a lot of valuable time with my son, which as we know is increasingly hard to get with teenagers these days.  It’s the only sport, club or activity where I can join him, and for which I’m hugely grateful.

By: Steve Kelly, Dad to Harvey (5th Form) and Zach (2nd Year)

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