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“Originally native to Edinburgh, I began secondary school in Galway when my family moved there. After the Leaving Cert, I joined the French Foreign Legion’s parachute regiment where most of the next seven years was passed in the beautiful island of Corsica or on the African continent. Then in 1993, just as I was about to begin a career as a commercial diver, my life direction was altered drastically by an encounter with meningitis which fairly devastated my health. Gone was the adrenalin rush of the night-time skydive and the thrill of hurtling uncontrollably down a Himalayan mountain peak; to be replaced by the immense joy of climbing unaided – after months of physical incapacitation – from a wheelchair, to sit on the damp grass of a cool summer’s day.

The rush and the thrill were to return however, and through cycling they came! Not just once or twice, but daily. Whether that be through dashing along a deserted Salthill on a cold dark winter’s morning with the driving wind and rain at my back, or zooming down Galway’s many hills, or simply cruising through the streets. Cycling is absolutely indispensable to my quest to regain full health. Physically it gives me independence and freedom, keeping me young, fit and strong; while mentally with the copious production of all those chemical goodies, such as endorphins, that it engenders, it’s difficult not to smile as I feel like I’m flying.”

Liam Cullinane, Galway