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Sammy Wilson revs up for cross-border biking challenge

Environment Minister Sammy Wilson is taking to his motorbike on a 12-hour odyssey for charity today.

He is to loop the northern part of Ireland to raise money for the cross-border air ambulance.

Around 1,000 people are expected to take part in the ride stretching from Bangor, Co Down, to Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim.

Fellow rider and Newsletter senior reporter Colin O'Carroll said: "The idea is that everybody within the area will be able to be transported to a major hospital within 55 minutes, which is within that golden hour.

"Bikers are supportive of it because whenever they are injured it is often in inaccessible areas like fields where ambulances can't go."

Fellow journalist Geoff Hill, who has travelled through South America on his bike, will take part, as well as many expert riders.

The route covers Bangor, Co Down, Balbriggan, Co Dublin, Carrick-on-Shannon, Ballybofey, Co Donegal, Strabane, Co Tyrone, and Ballymoney, Co Antrim.

Participants were leaving from different points in the circuit simultaneously this morning.

Police reminded road users to be aware of greater numbers of motorcyclists on the route.

Pc Bill Holden said: "While motorcycling gives an extremely high level of pleasure, it is still a vulnerable activity and comes with great responsibility.

"Think of your quality of life and how easily it could be destroyed, not to mention the people around you that need you to come home safely."

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