Worldwide cycle comes full circle for Limerick woman and partner

Jess Casey

Reporter:

Jess Casey

Email:

jess.casey@limerickleader.ie

Worldwide cycle comes full circle for Limerick woman and partner

Niamh Conway, from Ferrybridge, and her husband Matthew Good, from the UK

AN INTERNATIONAL teacher from County Limerick and her partner completed their ‘around the world cycle’ by tying the knot in California after pedaling thousands of kilometres through jungles, mountains and hillsides in places like Kyrgyzstan, Cambodia and Canada.

Niamh Conway, from Ferrybridge, and her husband Matthew Good, from the UK, set off on their impressive peddle around the world in 2017 from their home in Uzbekistan, where they were teaching internationally. 

On their travels, the couple raised more than €10,000 for the Prader Willi Syndrome Association, which supports those with the complex and very rare genetic syndrome. 

“We had everything on our bikes - our clothes, our tents, our cooker and our food,” Niamh told the Limerick Leader. 

“In places like Kyrgyzstan, sometimes we might have gone four days without seeing a village.” 

The couple left their house in Uzbekistan in June 2017, cycling east through Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, China, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia and Indonesia. 

They then flew to Chicago where they rode north into Canada and west towards Vancouver. Fleeing the cold weather, the couple rode south along the US coast to the Mexican border. 

Highlights of their trip included camping in Kyrgyzstan while herds of wild horses galloped across the hillsides, getting lost in the jungle on an island in the Mekong river, a “gruelling but beautiful” ride through the Rocky mountains, and snorkelling off the coast of Myanmar. 

The couple married in San Diego before finishing up their trip and heading home slightly earlier than expected. 

“We’d already been living together beforehand but I’d say it set us up well for marriage alright- cycling 24 hours a day together and living in the same tent for at least a year and a half,” Niamh laughed. “You know if you can put up with each other!”

The happy couple are now on to adventures of a new kind, as they eagerly await the arrival of their first baby in May. 

While Niamh had originally aimed to complete 18,000 kilometres on her travels, Matthew aimed to complete 40,100 kilometres, which is the long definition of around the world, she explained. 

“I was still cycling during the first trimester but it became unfeasible,” she said.

“So I stopped cycling, I had done the 18,000 kilometres I set out to do, and I rented a camper van, staying with Matthew as he continued with his 40,100 kilometres.” 

“It was fine except I was quite nauseous in the morning and I couldn’t eat as much as I wanted to. You’d usually eat a lot in the morning because we were cycling for at least 100 kilometres a day. In the hills in Canada, in the Rockies, that would be all day.”

“I’d get a bit tired then later in the day but other then that, it wasn’t too bad at all really!” 

The couple’s adventure will one day be a cool story to tell their child, Niamh agrees. “I can say ‘You were on the bike with me!’”

The couple aimed to raise awareness of Prader-Willi Syndrome, which Matthew's nephew was born with. They also raised more than €10,000 for the Prader Willi Syndrome Association. “On our website, www.pedalgog- y.net, people donated directly,” Niamh said.

“The last school that we worked at before we left held a cyclethon for us and again as we were on the road.” Niamh and Matthew are currently enjoying spending time with family before moving to Cambodia in the summer.