A mammoth and fascinating journey from India to Donegal for siblings Pete and Keara Brennan will see the final lap of their 12,000kms. bike adventure, reach a sort of conclusion, when they arrive in Dublin tomorrow. But it will be the following Tuesday, when they arrive in Donegal, home of parents Peter and Carmel in Mountcharles when the real party will commence. Final destination is the Diamond, Donegal town on Tuesday next at 7.30pm.
But it nearly all went all pear sharped for the intrepid duo even before it began, when equipment and Pete’s bike were robbed enroute to Delhi.
Pete told the Democrat: “I started my journey on an old Indian one speed bike and Keara only had her bike as much of her clothing and accessories were to come with my baggage. But after that, it all started fitting into place, although there were a few scary moments. One time In Iran, Keara was stopped by police and told that because she was a woman, she was not allowed to ride a bike.”
There were other days when things got hairy, like three days into Iran and realising that Keara’s passport had not been stamped. On another occasion at Quetta in Pakistan, close to the Afghan border, they were afforded police protection with their AK47s, until they were escorted to the border, as they could not ride their bicycles.
Keara summed up the adventure: “It was truly phenomenal. To see so much in such a short time was epic. So many different things happen on a bike. You realise how lucky you are as well especially as a woman. Being stopped by police, only to be told that I could not ride my bike, was real eye opener. But things always tended to work out for the best. It was amazing, fantastic and so easy to do.”
That being said, the siblings say that in all of their adventures, the Iranian people were the nicest and most friendly, with Pete adding that apart from some of the dangers in Asia, the most dangerous place he encountered were on the roads of England!
After solo cycles from Sydney to Darwin (6,000kms) and Vancouver to Alaska (6,000kms) Pete challenged his younger sister Keara to join him for his dream bike ride-India to Ireland (12,000kms). Keara agreed, if he would first sea kayak with her from Vancouver to Alaska (800kms).
This they did in June 2010. And so on Christmas Day last, they left India for Donegal, by bike. When they are not travelling or working, Donegal is the place they call home. There, they have a large extended family of O`Sullivans and Brennans. Granddad Peter James Brennan was for many years the Donegal Town postmaster.
Now young Pete runs a successful wedding photography business in Vancouver, BC, Canada. He also works as a registered nurse in acute medicine at Vancouver General Hospital, while younger sister Keara is a veterinary surgeon based in England’s West Country.
This time, the pair have travelled through India, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Greece, Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia, Croatia, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, France, Belgium, England, Wales and now are making their way from Rosslare through Dublin, Mullingar, Carrick-on–Shannon and Sligo to Donegal where they hope to complete the journey when they arrive in the Diamond at 7.30 p.m. on Tuesday June 28.
They are trying to raise €1 per every KM cycled and will be donating all proceeds to Room to Read, a charity that works to improve child literacy rates in the developing world.
Keara and Pete aim to raise €12000 and build a library in honour of their cousin who passed away in 2007. Dad Peter, who lives in Mountcharles with Mum Carmel says the intrepid adventurers would love to meet as many of their family, friends and supporters in Dublin to get them on their way for the final lap from Dublin to Donegal.
They have convinced a cousin and his band to come and play some music and are going to auction off goodies that generous supporters have donated, to help raise funds for their favourite charity Room to Read.
This will take place tomorrow night, Friday June 24 commencing at 7pm in Flannery`s- 6 Camden Street Lower.
The following day they will depart Dublin for Donegal.
A big crowd is expected to welcome them to Donegal Town. Some of their local connections include being children of Peter and Carmel Brennan (nee O Sullivan) Mountcharles, grandchildren of John and Mary O Sullivan Drumcliff (deceased) and of Peter and Eileen Brennan the Glebe (Eileen still lives there). They are the niece and nephew of Paul and Phyl O Sullivan, Manus and Finula Brennan as well as Fergus and Mairead Brennan of Brennan’s Pharmacy Buncrana. Read all about their travels on www.indiatoireland.org