The Davy Wilson Charity Maracycle 2015 for the IRFU Charitable Trust

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50 year old Larne Rugby Coach Davy Wilson has a holiday home in France in Thollon above Lake Geneva.  He also enjoys cycling. Recently he decided to cycle from Romanshorn, Lake Constance on the German/Austrian border through Switzerland to Thollon in order to raise funds for the IRFU Charitable Trust which is entrusted with helping past players who have suffered serious life changing injuries, as well as youth development at Larne RFC. The route was just over 500 Kms

All costs for his trip were covered by his own business Freight Partnership meaning that every penny donated would be divided equally between the two beneficieries.

Davys motto throughout the trek was simple “I’m only riding a bike – the real men are those injured ex players who push themselves physically & emotionally every day”. Over £4000 has already been raised and Davy would like your help to grow this to £6000 before the closing date of the end of September. Hopefully this will go a little way to help them.



Thank you for your support


The journey started 25th August after a night in a Hostel in Romanshorn along the shores of Lake Constance. The initial stages of the cycle route took him north of St Gallen through breathtaking farmlands reminiscent of 70s style farming in N Ireland with small herds and using low intensive farming methods. Apple orchards & sunflower crops were common in this area but after a morning in the saddle he found the bike route terrain too rough for a 17 stone laden Btwin Racer so after a light lunch and advice from some locals, (one of whom was a Swiss rugby fan wearing an Ireland jersey), the afternoon took him onto the busy A roads which needed full concentration despite generous cycle lanes. After 129 km he arrived in the wealthiest city on the globe – Zurich – for another overnight Hostel stop.


Day 2 took Davy North of Zurich to Baden for his first pit stop and here he decided to follow the B roads in order to enjoy the scenery in a more relaxed manner. The down side was that these roads were more undulating with long difficult climbs followed be surprisingly difficult downhills, the Paniers making the bike quite unstable. It was another glorious day with temperatures in the 30s and it took him through some picturesqe towns including Aarau  & Olten before arriving close to darkness in Solothurn. The local Irish Bar (called The Shipyards) – brought the traditional Friday “Irish night” forward to Thursday and following some entertainment a generous donation to the cause was made by Stephane (the owner) and the clientelle .

Day 3 was quite an emotional one as it was the 2nd anniversary of his Mums passing but he was given extra impetus by being joined by fellow ex Larneman, Nigel Montgomery, now based in Basle. Nigel settled into Davy’s slipstream for another stunning cycle from German speaking to French speaking Swiss at Biel, skirting the Lake before cutting across to Lake Neuchatel where snow capped peaks formed an amazing backdrop to the perfect lake. 82 km was very welcome after the punishing first 2 days and overnight was spent in Gorgier with a local restaurant providing much needed sustenance. Davy gave a crash course on how to make an Irish Coffee.

Day 4 saw the eagerly awaited arrival of Paul O’Connell  with many Facebook followers more excited than Davy and Nigel. After a 7am ice bath in the Lake watching the sunrise, breakfast was downed and P O’C duly arrived; unfortunately, it was a Swiss based Roscommon man – not the Irish skipper! What seemed on paper a fairly straightforward 75 km day become really torturous as the 3 Amigos chose a route via the Spa town of Yverdon before climbing over 12k of tough rising terrain, having lunch at the top and a 12k drop into Lausanne just in time for Ireland v Wales. P O’C made his exit back to Basle – just as his namesake was saying farewell to the Aviva.

The last day featured an initial straightforward 80 km from Lausanne via Vevey, Montreaux, St Gingolph before arriving at 3pm into Evian for afternoon tea in Davy’s favourite local Cafe Mont Delice and some craic with owners Johan and Vero and manager Sonia – again a donation was made by the generous Belgian owner.

At this stage they were met by more ex-pats from Larne – the Calverts from Geneva & their 3 children who fortunately relieved them of their baggage for the arduous 15 km climb to the finish at Thollon. The lads, despite a 2nd puncture, managed the climb in just over an hour with the Calverts, adorned in Ulster & IRFU Flags, enthusiastically singing SUFTUM at every peak and gathering at the top, joined by several locals (and a random Portadown chap) to cheer them over the line.

An epic journey – what a way to see a beautiful country – was finished with a lavish meal and fine Prosecco French style in Le XV restaurant with ex Montpellier rugby star ‘Arno’ handing over a donation cheered on by the locals. A late night followed in Le Choumas where locals celebrated more enthusiastically than the tired travellers.


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