Rose's Gift

Rose's Gift

Sponsor Us Now!

Go to to sponsor us online now.

Land's End -John O'Groats..DONE!

Big ThanksPosted by Andrew McManus Sat, August 01, 2009 20:35:36

The Rose's Gift Team completed their long, arduous & eventful journey on schedule on Thursday 30th July....!! We rolled into John O'Groats and were greeted by a warm hero's welcome by being soaked in champagne. Nothin' like a dosing in champagne to take away the pain of a sore bottom...!

A Full Blog entry charting the final day's events will be added soon by our captain Eoin. But in the meantime here's a picture of us looking all victorious & proud of ourselves.... and why not.

Bonny Ol' Scootland... Ock Aye

FundraisingPosted by Andrew McManus Mon, July 27, 2009 23:38:42

Another Fine morning greeted us as we woke up in Ayr this mornin' and spirits were high as we cleaned our completely filthy bikes in the sun outside the fine Chalmer's hostel. But as usual we faffed about way too long and the weather decided to take a turn for the worse and we were left to begin our cycle in the pouring rain. Never nice.

After yesterday's idyllic experience of sun, tailwind, and breathtaking scenery I'd changed my opinion of Scotland. Maybe it wasn't going to be so tough after all. But this morning we got a slight glimpse of the wild Celtic wraith that could threaten to chop us down at any time. But again Jim donned his (ridiculous) blue Braveheart battle makeup/suncream and he led us out to battle the elements.

Sean's starting to get the hang of this ol' map reading business and if you forego the fact that he refuses to pick either the easiest or shortest route you could say he did an exceptional job today! And as he only seems to get us lost in areas with decent scenery these days I guess it's forgivable.

Neil was mourning the fact that he never gets a chance to appreciate the scenery because he tends to be struggling up the hills and then bombing down the other side due to his, um, gravitational advantage, so I've decided that tomorrow I might paint a few landscapes for him so he knows what he's missing. I tend to get a bit bored waiting for the 'older gents' to catch up with me on the top of the hills so I might as well set up an easel and paint a few pictures for them to pass the time....! hehe

After a rough morning the clouds dispersed and we ploughed on like a well oiled machine & before we knew it we were in Kilmacolm being fed by a massive support team including Tara, Rose and Stephen & Fiona's kids and Tom & Kate's kids. Good work folks.

The second half flew by all smooth with the only event being me getting a puncture on a mental dual carriageway. As I began to take off the wheel Eoin FORCED me to move 50m down the road in the van so I didn't get turned into roadkill. Paul 'Legs of Jelly' Kelly and Paul 'doin' rightly for his age' Collins obviously weren't so concerned about me general health and instantly accused me of cheating. After cycling twice round the next bleedin' roundabout to shut 'em up wasn't enough for them & the stick continued deep into the evening. I thought the midges around Lough Lomond were bad but they're nothin compared to those two lads. Tomorrow I'm gettin the support team to buy me some Kelly/Collins repellant to go with the insect repellant.

By the way the 'youth hostel' beside Lough Lomond is a flippin' castle where Robert de Bruce used to have his hunting Lodge. That's a bit of history for ye.

And apologies Paul. It's not your fault Kelly ryhmes with jelly. You're a master of the bike. If your prefer I can call you Ally 'legs of steel' McBeal or something.

Team Ireland...Ready to Rumble.

Big ThanksPosted by Andrew McManus Thu, July 16, 2009 19:59:18

This week Rose's Gift had a great feature in the Ulster Gazette, my local Armagh paper. It was a busy week in Armagh with it being the 12th of July and all... but we were somehow able to squeeze ourselves in amonsgt the pages & pages of sash wearing Orangemen marching, playing pipes & beatin' big drums etc.

We had a good photo-shoot all kitted up like a bunch of pros in the Cycleology shop with our sponsor, proprietor Alistair Robinsor and staff member Andrew Graham.

Picture: Jim Church, Paul Collins, Alistair Robinson (Cycleology proprietor), Andrew Graham (Cycleology), me & Paul Kelly.

Cycleology are kindly sponoring us with bike parts/spares and energy gels/bars/drinks etc. He has also serviced our bikes for free throughout the duration of our training.

The Rose's Gift Team would like to give a big thanks to Alistair for all his support & assistance towards our cause. It's greatly appreciated...!

Read the Ulster Gazette article here:

And visit Cycleology here:

Lavender Health Spa.

Big ThanksPosted by Andrew McManus Thu, July 16, 2009 12:05:05

Big thanks to Sports masseuse Emmett O'Neill, Lavender Health Spa manager Helene O'Neill for their great offer to the Irish members of the Rose's Gift team.

The offer included a free 45 minute sports massage from Emmett and full use of the spa pool area.
Yesterday myself and Paul Collins made use of this offer and got much needed massages to help mend our ailing bodies before the big event.

We were informed by staff member Maggie that business is great these days, especially with Hen Parties. Apparently they tend to take a few bottles of champagne into the jacuzzi/pool area. Pity Paul & I didn't know this beforehand or else a few cans of Carlsberg would've been brought along.

The spa is a fantastic facility near Ballygawley and was the 1st building I designed as an practising architect at MMH architects (so of course it's cool).

To find out more about the Lavender Health Spa please visit:

Emmett outside the Lavender Health Spa.

Thanks Mr & Mrs Boylan.

Big ThanksPosted by Andrew McManus Tue, July 14, 2009 13:44:40

I want to give a big thanks to my friend Patrick Boylan and his beautiful bride Fionnuala (nee Kelly) for very kindly donating £180 to Rose's Gift in Lieu of wedding favours...!

And also big thanks to Patrick's best man Ronan Boylan for taking some time during his great speech to explain all about Rose's Gift and spreading the word...!

Patrick & Fionnula at their wedding in Armagh Cathedral.

At least we'll look the Part....

TrainingPosted by Andrew McManus Mon, July 06, 2009 23:33:18

... if nothing else.

Team Rose's Gift... our cycle jerseys have arrived! I picked them up from Cycleology the other day and they look great! All the sponsor logos and Roses Gift info are clear & in all the right places and they even have the map of the British Isles on the shoulders showing our route marked with a red line (which could come in handy when we get lost).
And when I tried mine on my anaerobic threshold instantly improved dramatically.... an effect similar to the magic footy boots I thought I had when I was about 6.

Nice work Eoin & a big thanks to Owayo Custom Sports.....

Here they are, along with the start and end of my modelling career (apologies, but Armagh Models R Us were all out of tall, dark & handsome, so... tough).

Who needs a car?

TrainingPosted by Andrew McManus Sat, June 13, 2009 16:18:57

Well I do!.... But not for getting to work anymore. I've 3 weeks done of my new cycle-to-work-routine which is helping not only to get me fit and train for the challenge ahead, but is also saving me lots in petrol money and knocking off any morning groggyness.

It's a nice 30 mile round trip each day and has a nice hard shoulder most of the way which means I can listen to the ipod and enjoy the trip. There's a leisure centre just around the corner from the office so I pop in for a shower and roll into work. Handy!

Trainings going well with all the Irish crew.
Paul 'andrew stole my hen' Kelly (as Paul Collins has named him!) lapped lough Neagh 3 times and totted up nearly 500 miles in a week...mental!
And contrary to Paul Collin's belief I failed to steal any 'hens' off Paul or anyone else for that matter. It had never dawned on me to use any of my riveting trombone stories! Dammit!! That tactic may work for Tom, a trombone pro with stories of playing in the West-end and in big sweeping orchestras in the Royal Albert Hall.
The most exciting trombone story I can remember was when I aged 16 playing a gig with my broken middle-finger in a huge white splint which made it look like I was giving the entire audience 'the finger' during the entire concert. Plus it clinked against the bell of the damn trombone every time I moved the slide..... Hardly the stuff of high romance, eh?

After the Tour of the Sperrins sportif. (photo missing Paul Kelly & his broken spoke!)

I saw this in Belfast the other day. It was made by the man at the front, Robert McCracken, for him and his family to ride around on together....! Amazing.

Just an idea but I would like to propose we attempt the challenge on bikes like this....... We wouldn't even all need to be awake at the same time... at least one person could possibly be resting.. or even asleep. How about it...?!

Long Live the Kings..!

TrainingPosted by Andrew McManus Wed, May 20, 2009 13:16:03

Didn’t sleep much on Saturday night in Eoin's house before the 'King of the Downs' 'Super-sportif'. I think it was because:
(1) I was absolutely bricking it because the article in cycling weekly about the ride made it sound like hell on earth,
(2) we had to get up at half 4 anyway!?!
(don't worry Paul Collins, I won't mention your snoring in this list, it wasn't that bad!)

But sleep would have been full of nightmares about crawling up big hills anyway so it was probably just as well. But eventually I passed out unlike Eoin who was up all night tending to Rose & Tara and fixing the heating in his house (or possibly watching his ‘new’ Sky channel, we’ll never know!!)

But after being woken by Eoin at an ungodly hour I walked downstairs & bumped into Alison returning from her ‘Moonwalk’ - a half marathon through the night ...!?! Well done Alison. I just remember thinking 'We are a house full of lunatics.' As we stuffed some breakfast into ourselves the rest of the lads arrived and off we went for a little trip to hell and back.

I think Paul Collins could be right in his last blog, the 9000ft of climbing involved could possibly be the male equivalent of child-birth! But come to think of it there were a fair few females doing the cycle too and they all seemed a bit too calm for that analogy to be true. (Labour pains must be worse than the Tour de France, ouch!?).

But anyway we did a great job sticking together as a group through the hours that followed. There were 10 main hills to be tackled with scary names like ‘The Wall’, but everything else in between seemed to be worthy of being called a ‘hill’ in my book. And the weather took a turn for the worst to add to the suffering! There was barely a flat road until the last few miles home where Steven & Eoin decided to turn up the heat to try to get the damn thing over with!

It was great to get together as a bigger group for once and it’s a pity there weren’t more of us there. But it was good to meet up with some of the London contingent. As a former trombonist in my teens I had a great conversation with Tom, a professional trombone player. Luckily none of the rest of the lads had to listen to our conversation about the finest of all musical instruments. They would’ve fallen asleep on their bikes and rolled into the nearest ditch.

With the cycle over Paul Kelly, Paul Collins & myself were rushed to the airport. Content with ourselves for surviving we sat down for a much needed meal. After gorging on pizza we walked off like 3 zombies without paying (hands up, my fault). The waiter shouted down after us and unfortunately after the days events we were all way too tired to try to make a run for it… dammit!

Next »