Former Black Cats striker leads Sunderland to Dublin bike ride

Launch of a Dublin to Sunderland bike ride at the Stadium of Light on  Wednesday night, with cyclists l-r Harry Hall, Ralph Saelzer and Phil Kay
Launch of a Dublin to Sunderland bike ride at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday night, with cyclists l-r Harry Hall, Ralph Saelzer and Phil Kay
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EAGER cyclists turned out to get clued up on the gruelling trip they will complete for the Foundation of Light.

The Dublin to Sunderland Cycle will cover 380 miles over five days, raising thousands of pound for SAFC’s charity organisation.

Former SAFC striker Marco Gabbiadini will lead the troop of cyclists taking part, along with Chris Makin and Mickey Gray.

The Stadium of Light hosted the meet and greet evening for those already signed up and potential participants to get information about the event and ask any questions.

Harry Hall, of Reds Studio, in East Herrington, came up with the idea, along with his wife and fellow cyclist, Susan.

Harry, 49, from Houghton, said the event was a chance for people taking part in the charity event to get together and have any queries answered.

Harry said: “The aim of today is to get as much information across to the people taking part and to explain about the route being split into sections.”

There will be four sections to the cycle ride, allowing people to join the party at later stages along the route.

“It’s for people who have not got the stamina and we had a lot of feedback from people saying they wanted to do the route but couldn’t because of work commitments.

“This way we’re hoping to get more people on board.”

The cycle team is already 26-people strong and the aim is to get the numbers up to 40.

Andrew Woolley, from Cycle World, was on hand to answer any technical questions and provide advice about buying a bike.

Andrew was recruited by the Dublin to Sunderland team and is offering discounts to anyone who buys a bike from his shop for the event.

Andrew, 34, from Ryhope, said: “It’s a big step to take if you have never ridden a bike and a big decision for people who may not have ridden much before.”

Andrew will be joining the team for the final 50 miles from Northumberland to Sunderland.

Ralph Saelzer, managing director at Liebherr Sunderland Works Ltd, is one of the cyclists taking part in the full route.

Keen cyclist Ralph said he was looking forward to the challenge.

“Firstly it was for more love of cycling, but also because the foundation is such a great cause.

“It’s nice to combine everything you like with something that gives something to the community.”

Twitter: @sunechohannah

Beautifully breathtaking

THE D2S Challenge is a five-day, 380-mile ride in aid of the Foundation of Light.

The ride takes in breathtaking scenery along the Irish coast, across the dramatic Galloway Hills in Scotland and along Hadrian’s Wall.

It will start at the Aviva Stadium, in Dublin, on July 18, and finish at the Stadium of Light on July 22.

To take part in the full ride, cyclists pay a £250 deposit and pledge to raise a minimum of £1,250 in sponsorship.

The amount will cover the cost of accommodation, three meals a day, a D2S Challenge cycle shirt, support staff and vehicles.

If riders would prefer to just take part in the Irish, Scottish or English legs of the challenge, the organisers are offering “leg packages” from £300.

For more information, call Katrina Quinn on 551 5311, email or visit