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5th Anniversary of Atlantic to Titanic Challenge taking on 200km and diabetes

Northern Ireland cyclists take on the Atlantic to Titanic Challenge


For five years on the last Saturday of September, the men and women of Square Wheels Cycling Club have pulled on their lycra, headed to Ballyshannon and braced themselves for 200 km of challenging roads leading to Titanic Belfast.

They do this thanks to Aidy McNally, who has Type 1 diabetes and who wanted to support local charity, Diabetes UK Northern Ireland.

Aidy was diagnosed in 2001 and finds that exercise helps him manage the condition, while keeping him fit and enjoying the social aspects of the growing cycling fraternity.

After completing the fifth successful Atlantic to Titanic Challenge on Saturday 30 September, Aidy said, "I am so pleased that we are celebrating our fifth anniversary, especially as this challenge never gets any easier."

"We train throughout the year and try to get as many people as possible to join us for the big event. Over the years it has come to mean more and more as we know the number of people living with diabetes is only going to go up and up and we feel like we are doing our bit to help raise awareness."

“...more people have gathered to take part

...sharing our defiance of this relentless condition...”

"We want to offer support to anyone out there who wants to take up cycling to get fit and have a laugh while doing it. We have members who are living with Type 1 diabetes and those who are living with Type 2 diabetes as well as others who know family members and friends living with the condition. Square Wheels Cycling Club wants to encourage everyone to get cycling and feel the benefits so if you want to join us on any of our activities throughout the year then contact us on We do routes suitable for everyone so get in touch and we can help get you started or support you to reach the next level."

People with Type 1 diabetes cannot produce insulin. No one knows exactly what causes it, but it’s not to do with being overweight and it isn’t currently preventable. Type 1 diabetes is treated by daily insulin doses – taken either by injections or via an insulin pump. It is also recommended to follow a healthy diet and take regular physical activity.

People with Type 2 diabetes don’t produce enough insulin or the insulin they produce doesn’t work properly (known as insulin resistance). 85 to 90 per cent of people with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes. They might get Type 2 diabetes because of their family history, age and ethnic background puts them at increased risk. They are also more likely to get Type 2 diabetes if they are overweight. It starts gradually, usually later in life, and it can be years before they realise they have it. Type 2 diabetes is also treated with a healthy diet and increased physical activity. In addition, tablets and/or insulin can be required.

Aidy added: "Over the years more people with diabetes, or people with loved ones who have diabetes, have gathered to take part in this mammoth cycling challenge sharing our defiance of this relentless condition. It is important that people know they are not alone when it comes to diabetes."

“Diabetes is just another bump on the road that you have to be aware of and take appropriate action so it doesn't get in your way.”

Diabetes UK Northern Ireland National Fundraiser, Naomi Breen, said: "After working with Aidy and the Square Wheels Cycling Club for the last five years, I know how much this means to them. They are passionate about cycling and use it to take on diabetes. They all support one another and treat diabetes as just another bump on the road that you have to be aware of and take the appropriate action so it doesn’t get in your way. It really is so inspirational and I want to thank them on behalf of Diabetes UK Northern Ireland and the local diabetes community for all that they have done to raise awareness and funds."

If you want to know more about diabetes or what you can do to help contact Diabetes UK Northern Ireland: or call 028 9066 6646.

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