An 85-year-old record-holding cyclist has urged other bikers to observe the rules of the road to stay safe this winter.
'On yer bike' if you don't follow rules of the road, says 85-year-old racing cyclist

'On yer bike' if you don't follow rules of the road, says 85-year-old racing cyclist

'On yer bike' if you don't follow rules of the road, says 85-year-old racing cyclist

'On yer bike' if you don't follow rules of the road, says 85-year-old racing cyclist

'On yer bike' if you don't follow rules of the road, says 85-year-old racing cyclist

'On yer bike' if you don't follow rules of the road, says 85-year-old racing cyclist
'On yer bike' if you don't follow rules of the road, says 85-year-old racing cyclist
  • 2019-12-03 11:30:13 9 days ago
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An 85-year-old record-holding cyclist has urged other bikers to observe the rules of the road to stay safe this winter.

Patsy Fitzsimons from Navan, Co Meath, holds a national record in the 85 age category with the Irish Veteran Cycling Association.

Patsy cycles almost 65 kilometers twice a week before heading out to compete in an 80km event most Sundays during the racing season.

The octogenarian mainly sticks to the back roads when out training to avoid heavy traffic but says he has seen leisure cyclists taking unnecessary risks.

"The roads are much more dangerous now than when I was starting out and I tend to stick to back roads mostly but you have to observe the rules of the road," he said.

Most racing cyclists will observe the rules but I have seen cyclists breaking red lights, cycling on footpaths or more than two abreast on roads.

"That's just dangerous behaviour and it's not right."

However, his daughter Laureen admits that she worries when he's out training.

"My heart skips a beat every time he goes out but I know he's long enough out on the roads now that he'll be okay. But he won't carry a mobile phone with him as he says it adds weight and would slow him down so if he ever goes missing, God knows where we'd start looking for him," she said

The father of two, who has never been in hospital overnight, is also an advocate of the flu vaccine to keep him illness free.

"I got the flu vaccine last year and was cold and flu free all through winter so I'd highly recommend it and will definitely be getting it again."

The fit pioneer man started racing in 1956 with Navan Road Club and won a number of races over the years.

Such is his love of cycling that he went to a family wedding in Tullamore, Co. Offaly, a decade ago and insisted on cycling home the next day.

"I bought my first second-hand racing bike in 1952 and it cost me 20 pound. Nowadays, you can pay up to €10,000 for one.

"I love being out in the fresh air and I love the thrill of trying to better my time. I'd recommend it to anyone.

"However, you have to train. If you don't train hard, you've no business racing and you should stick to the leisure events.

"I've also my wife Olive to hugely thank for supporting me through the years and taking care of my dirty training gear after I come back from a cycle," he laughed.

Navan Road Club member Niall Doggett described Patsy as 'inspirational' adding, "everyone in the club holds him in such high regard. If I'm still cycling at his age, I'll be a happy man."

Patsy is now gearing up to take part in the Navan Road Race charity cycle in aid of St Vincent de Paul on Christmas Day and will also take part in a 24-hour roller cycle in aid of ARC Cancer Care in Navan this Thursday which will also remember Meath cyclist Sean Lynch who died in a cycle race last year.

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'On yer bike' if you don't follow rules of the road, says 85-year-old racing cyclist

Concerns raised over air quality in Cork City, EPA confirm monitoring station returns 'poor' readings

Concerns raised over air quality in Cork City, EPA confirm monitoring station returns 'poor' readings

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have identified one air quality monitoring station as returning 'poor' readings for Cork City.

In their Air Quality Index for Health (AQIH) summary this morning they note air quality as good in Connaught, Dublin, Ulster but poor in at least one station in Cork city and very poor in at least one station in the Leinster and Munster regions.

The report comes on the back of considerable social media reaction to the fact that Cork City was earlier this morning identified as the EU black spot in terms of air quality by a global air quality monitoring site.

Purple Air, who are a private company who sell air filters, monitor air quality via monitors located across the world to create a real-time air quality map.

The map has today consistently shown Cork with an an air quality index (AQI) above 150, well above the internationally accepted threshold for harmful effects on health.

According to the site an AQI value over 300 represents hazardous air quality and below 50 the air quality is good.

With figures over 150 Cork city is experiencing conditions where people "may begin to experience health effects if they are exposed for 24 hours ... particularly for sensitive groups such as the elderly or those with respiratory conditions..."

It is believed current weather conditions with low winds and temperatures is adding to the problem.

More as we get it ...

Nurses take industrial action in Northern Ireland over pay

Nurses take industrial action in Northern Ireland over pay

Industrial action by nurses has paralysed part of the health service in Northern Ireland in a dispute over pay and staffing levels.

The region has been without a devolved government for almost three years and there are no ministers in place to intervene. Thousands of medical surgeries and appointments have been cancelled.

Health trusts which run the NHS have said the 24-hour action by nurses was likely to result in “a significant risk to patient safety”, but senior executives have said they are coping at present.

Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Northern Ireland director Pat Cullen said: “This is a day that no member of the RCN ever wished to see.

“The last thing that any nurse wants is to have to take industrial action.”

RCN members are not striking but are refusing to do any task which is not “patient specific” because their pay has lagged behind that of colleagues in other parts of the UK.

The Belfast Health Trust, Northern Ireland’s largest, cancelled more than 10,000 outpatient appointments and surgeries this week.

Ms Cullen added: “With around 2,800 vacant nursing posts in the system, record levels of expenditure on agency staff to try to plug the gaps, and nurses’ pay continuing to fall further and further behind the rest of the UK, nurses have had enough.”

The first day of strike action by RCN members is planned for the week before Christmas, on December 18.

On Monday night, the Unite trade union said its thousands of members in the health service had also voted to strike on December 18. The Unison union has also taken industrial action.

In the past, devolved ministers could reallocate money from other priorities and take key decisions on the transformation of the health service in the face of an ageing demographic.

This winter, none are in place due to the continuing fall out between former Stormont coalition partners the DUP and Sinn Fein.

Both parties say they want to re-enter powersharing as soon as possible, but a range of issues including the place of the Irish language in public services is preventing an accommodation.

Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith is to convene urgent powersharing talks later this month after the General Election.

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