Limerick teacher to cycle around the world

Effort to raise awareness for Prader-Willi Syndrome

Maria Flannery

Reporter:

Maria Flannery

Email:

maria.flannery@limerickleader.ie

Limerick teacher to cycle around the world

Matthew and Niamh will be documenting their time in the saddle on www.pedalgogy.net

A LIMERICK teacher will cycle around the world this summer in an effort to raise awareness for Prader-Willi Syndrome.

Niamh Conway, from Ferrybridge, is swapping pedagogy for ‘pedalgogy’, when she sets off from her current home in Uzbekistan this June with her partner Matthew Good, who is from the UK.

The incredible cycle will see the teacher, who trained in Mary Immaculate College, pedal through Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, China, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, Canada, Mexico, and the USA.

“Matthew has always wanted to cycle and I have always wanted to see the world so we had been talking about the idea of taking off on our bikes for a couple of years now,” Niamh said.

The pair are both teaching in Uzbekistan, after having met in Togo, West Africa.

“When Matthew's nephew was born with Prader-Willi Syndrome, neither of us had heard of it — which meant that most other people probably hadn’t either. His nephew is very lucky to have such a big group of supportive family and friends, as he will need care for the rest of his life,” said Niamh.

“We handed in our notice in October to leave our jobs in June and have been busily preparing ever since,” she said.

Niamh went to Scoil Carmel and subsequently graduated from Mary I in 2009 with a degree in primary teaching.

“This Christmas we flew back with suitcases full of camping stuff, bike parts, suncream and other essentials,” she added.

They feel that only a bicycle can provide the perfect balance of immersion and speed, and hope to learn about new ways of living during their 18 month ride.

“I am teaching second grade at the moment — first class — in Tashkent International School. The students come from about 40 different countries. Uzbekistan has beautiful ancient silk road cities that are like living museums, and a set of caves are being explored here at the moment which might be the deepest in the world,” said the Clarina woman.

“So the hope is that one day in June we will wake up and say ‘this is the day’, hand our keys to the landlord, cycle out the gate, turn east and keep going until we hit water,” she added.