Members of the Galway VHF Group provided Public Service Communications during the annual Croi Cycle on Sunday the 23rd of May. The group assembled at 7:45 am to install mobile equipment into the various vehicles used to control the event. Tom, EI2GP, was Medical officer for the day and doubled as spotter in case or cases of emergency throughout the lengthy convoy of cyclists. Gerry, EI8DRB, Provided Net Control and liaison with the HQ in he Maam Valley. Steve, EI5DD, and Arthur, EI7GMB, were located in the course organisers vehicles covering the safety of the event. John EI7FAB, and Joe EI3IX were located with the Repair Crews and dealt with any equipment failures or punctures. Enda, EI3IS, was based in the HQ and dealt with messages regarding the location of cyclists and deployment of refreshments. John, EI1EM, and Eamon Lynch were located with the Civil Defence Emergency Crews.
Quite a number of the Cyclists were relative amateurs and participated to the half way point in Maam whilst other more seasoned individuals cycled the complete course around the Corrib which was some 67 miles. The weather was quite hot with only a light breeze and there was quite a call for supplies of water and refreshments to be deployed from one location to another. Much of this was handled via the communications system.
The repair crews were kept busy throughout the event. Many calls were put out to assist cyclists stopped by the side of the road with punctures. Any station spotting a cyclist in trouble would put the call down the line and one of three crews would be dispatched in record time. It was possible to deal with many of the mechanical failures such as gear and chain problems although some had to be brought to base in the trailer as a last resort.
Communications were good and reliable for the duration of the event and operators were quick to pick up and relay messages where necessary. The liaison with the Civil Defence worked well and on two occasions there were calls for medical assistance which were dealt with quickly and efficiently. Civil Defence had two fully trained EMT’s in the Ambulance who demonstrated their expertise with a fast response time and assessment of the situation (a head and neck injury dispatched by ambulance to the Regional Hospital following medical assessment by EI2GP) Time of call to arrival at scene of accident was 4 minutes. The HF link provided excellent cover throughout the course and enabled the Medical Officer to be contacted even when arriving at the Regional Hospital in Galway.
This year is the sixteenth year that the Croi Cycle has been run and the Galway VHF Group has provided the Emergency Communications for each of the events to date. Every year there have been new challenges which have been easily incorporated into the operation and sometimes co-ordinated even whilst the event is in progress. One comment that summed it all up was that “there was comfort in knowing exactly what was happening when a question was asked”. Something that perhaps could not occur when using mobile phones on a one to one basis.
Report compiled by Steve Wright, EI5DD