Ronnie gets set to pedal 4,000 miles in US coast-to-coast cycle for charity
A Newtownabbey man is setting off on a 4,000 mile cycle ride across the USA to raise money for new education centres in Rwanda.
Ronnie Crawley, a financial adviser and keen cyclist, will start his coast-to-coast journey tomorrow.
He will be part of a group starting the adventure in Florence, Oregon, and then travelling through Yellowstone and the Midwest and finishing in Yorktown, Virginia.
The 59-year-old said: "We will also go through the traditional ritual of dipping our wheels in the Pacific Ocean on the west coast USA at the start and also dipping in to the Atlantic at the end of our journey.
"We hope to average 70 miles a day, which will be less when we go through the Rockies, but we will make up for it later on and perhaps travel up to 100 miles a day.
"The big thing is to finish well each day and to press on to the next base for the night.
"I have been training hard for this, but it will be a big challenge.
"I will be 60 in September and I will feel the pace, but I have lots of experience in cycle rides all over the world, and that experience will help me greatly."
Ronnie has cycled in South Africa, China, Europe and many other places.
"On this trip, I hope to raise money for Rwanda and already people are giving me donations, for which I am very grateful," he said. "Apart from the fundraising, which is very important for the people of Rwanda, this is something which I have always wanted to do.
"It's a real adventure and I have confidence that, barring any injuries, I will finish the ride in good shape."
Ronnie is a member of Whitehouse Presbyterian Church and a few years ago he visited the country of Rwanda with a Skills Exchange Team from Whitehouse.
On his return, Ronnie and a number of cycling friends and colleagues on a trip round Ulster raised £14,000 for Rwandaand he is keen to focus any proceeds from this trip to the same good cause.
He said: "I have paid 10,000 US dollars for my keep in America, plus the return air fares out of my own pocket, so anything I raise from this trip will go directly to the people in Rwanda."
Ronnie is being helped to fundraise by Helen Lindsay, an elder at Whitehouse, who has visited Rwanda several times.
She told the Belfast Telegraph: "Ronnie is hoping to raise enough money to build a nursery school in Rwanda, just north of the capital, Kigali.
"It will be part of a larger Education and Community Development Centre complex, which will also have a primary school and a further education college.
"It will teach skills such as mechanics, electrical skills, hospitality and tourism, art and craft and tailoring, which will transform an entire community.
"This is a very worthwhile project and our thoughts and prayers will be with Ronnie as he carries out this great project.
"We hope to welcome him back in September, when we will hear more about his marvellous adventure."
To donate, you can contact Helen Lindsay at firstname.lastname@example.org