Welcome To The Road To Seville
Join fellow Celtic minded supporters on the journey of a lifetime and cycle 1,050 miles from Celtic Park to Seville for the 20th anniversary of the 2003 UEFA Cup Final.
Seville or Bust
There have been many memorable dates in Celtic’s history; 1888 the founding of the club, 1967 well this one speaks for itself, 1970 another European Cup final, 1979 when ten men won the league, 1988 winning the double in the centenary season and the list goes on.
Everyone reading this will have their own personal significant Celtic dates but I’m sure not many will consider the 19th September 2002 as being one which stands out. On this date Celtic beat FK Suduva of Lithuania 8-1 and so began the road to Seville.
How many of us watching the match thought that nine months later we would be involved in the biggest street party in Europe? The memory is, of course, bitter sweet and I don’t need to rehearse the feeling of disappointment here.
However, here’s the thing! It wasn’t just about the final it was about the whole journey: Blackburn, Vigo, Stuttgart, Liverpool and Boavista. European nights at Celtic Park, the scramble for tickets to the away legs, the Souness “men against boys” quote and the press having us as underdogs every step of the way all added to the mounting anticipation and ultimate elation as Henrik dinked that away goal in Portugal.
Well twenty years on and the memories are still as fresh and have, no doubt, grown arms and legs so a few hardy/foolish souls (delete as appropriate) intend to cycle to Seville to commemorate and recreate some of those memories as well as raise funds for The Celtic Foundation… and you could be one of them.
Interested ? then, Read More About The Road To Seville
The trip will be fully supported by a back up team including mechanics and physios and accommodation will be in hotels along the route. With the Grand Depart taking place from The Celtic Way on or around 6th May 2022 we intend to arrive in Seville on 20th May for the Anniversary of the final on the 21st May.
Leaving Celtic Park we will head towards Cairnryan and the Ferry to Belfast over “The Ayrshire Alps” a term coined by local cyclists to describe the undulating roads and sometimes challenging climbs as we wend our way south westwards to the coast and the end of the first day of our journey.
Refreshed from a nice meal and comfortable bed in a local hotel we will take the ferry to Belfast and the beginning of the Irish leg of the trip as we head towards our next ferry in Rosslare approximately 250kms south.
Leaving Belfast and Ulster behind, cycling south of Lough Neagh we pass into Leinster heading for the border town of Dundalk via beautiful, if rugged, countryside taking in the geographic formation and hills of the Ring of Gullion (not a hobbit in sight) as well as dipping in and out of the Giro d’Italia 2014 route.
It was in Dundalk in December 2000 Bill Clinton chose to give an address in the Market Square to 60 000 people proclaiming the Good Friday Agreement as “a new day in Dundalk and a new day in Ireland”. This will be the starting point for the debate that we will have in Kehoe’s bar that evening with the Tain Boys Celtic Supporters Club as well as sharing Celtic stories and consuming a (very) few pints of the black stuff.
Leaving the Tain boys behind we’ll continue towards Dublin in the direction of Drogheda and if Bill Clinton had 60 000 people in Dundalk, Pope John Paul II was a much bigger draw as he said mass for 300 000 in Drogheda on his visit to Ireland in 1979. We might then meet with a few of the St. Lawrence’s CSC for a bit of craic.
Skirting Dublin we continue south through the Wicklow Mountains National Park which is one of Ireland’s most popular cycle routes, stunning scenery and epic climbs leading to “Sally Gap” and another past the Shay Elliot memorial, named after Irelands’ first ever professional cyclist.
Following three tough but beautiful days of cycling in Ireland we arrive in Rosslare and, “as the ferry ship sails out against the sky, we live in hope and pray for a calm Biscay Bay” as we dispense with the lycra, relax and enjoy a few drinks as our thoughts turn towards arriving in Bilbao, the capital of the Basque country, on the northwest corner of Spain and the start of our cycle on mainland Europe.
Bilbao is famous across the world for the Frank Gehry designed Guggenheim Museum but, as Celtic supporters, our relationship with Bilbao is through its football club; Athletic Club Bilbao. There is a bond between the two clubs which was forged in 2011 in a friendly match when Neil Lennon commented that the two clubs shared a “philosophy, tradition and history”. This bond was further cemented when Athletic Club Bilbao awarded its ‘One Club Man’ award in 2019 to Billy McNeil only days before his death.
It will come as no surprise then that there is a Celtic Supporters Club in Bilbao (Bilbao Bhoys CSC) and there is the possibility that some of them may wish to cycle with us for a few hours as we leave their city behind and head for the hills.
There will be a bit of climbing to do before we descend into the vinyards to see the growing Tempranillo grapes upon which the locals weave their magic and turn them into Rioja wine. There will also be ample opportunity to sample some of the local produce as we wend our way south west through Castilla y Leon and some lovely rolling hills and beautiful countryside.
Keeping to quieter roads we will skip past the major cities of Valladolid and Salamanca and arrive in Avila to the north west of Madrid which is a beautiful walled city and world heritage site. There is a degree of uncertainty whether or not there is a Celtic Supporters Club there but this is an ideal opportunity to start one.
To reach Avila we will cross the Sierra de Guadaramma National Park and mountain range which will provide a good challenge for the climbers in the group and an opportunity for everyone else to curse the course designer whilst ensuring the rest of us keep moving, albeit slowly, so that the indigenous vultures know we won’t be their next meal.
At this point we will be approximately half way through Spain enjoying the sunshine, the quiet roads, courteous drivers and the hospitality of the people we meet on our travels. Whilst looking forward to our arrival in Seville we will head towards Merida (possibly even some of us will be riding Meridas to Merida). Merida has a 1st Century Roman Theatre which is still used and you never know we might be able to provide the tourists with a choral version of The Celtic Song.
With a few bumps in the road on the way we will cover the final 200kms or so into Seville, a cycle around the stadium and an opportunity to relive those memories from 20 years ago. The next day will see the ceremonial waving good bye to our bikes as our travel partner loads them into the van to be deposited back at Celtic Park and we then go our separate ways as we head back home with a sense of achievement of having completed the route, had amazing fun and raised a wee bit of cash for a charity close to all of our hearts.
So the question remains; do you want to take on this fantastic opportunity to get fit, meet fellow supporters, share stories, raise some money for The Celtic Foundation and create some of your own new Road to Seville memories? If so, what are you waiting for?
Still interested ? Read Our F.A.Q’s for more information.
What is the Road 2 Seville?
The R2S is a cycle by 30 cyclists from Glasgow to Seville to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the UEFA Cup final between Celtic and Porto in Seville.
Reaching the final was a major achievement for Celtic and the experience of supporters in Seville was fantastic resulting in a long and positive relationship with the city.
The objectives of R2S are to provide a safe cycle event for cyclists of differing abilities and to raise funds for the Celtic FC Foundation.
R2S follows the format of the Road 2 Lisbon in 2017 when 30 cyclists cycled from Glasgow to Lisbon and raised over £80k for charity.
How long is the Road 2 Seville and what route will it take?
The 20th anniversary is on 21st May 2023, and it will take approximately two weeks to cycle from Glasgow. The plan is to arrive on Saturday 20th and have a celebration event on the 21st.
Route planning is one of the most important parts of a successful multi day cycle and is currently taking place.
The current plan is to cycle from Celtic Park to Cairnryan, ferry to Belfast, cycle down through Ireland, visiting some key points of interest, including Dublin, ending up in Rosslare.
Take the ferry from Rosslare to Bilbao in northern Spain and cycle from there to Seville.
There will be 13 or 14 days cycling in total as follows:
Celtic Park to Cairnryan – 90 miles / 144 km
Belfast to Rosslare – 330 miles / 528 km
Bilbao to Seville – 630 miles / 1,000 km
TOTAL 1,050 miles / 1,672 km
Over 13 days this an average of 80 miles / 128 km per day.
Who is organising the Road 2 Seville cycle event?
R2S is organised by a group of fans of Celtic FC who are also experienced cyclists.
The cyclists are supported by Greenrock a long-established cycle adventure company. Greenrock supported the cyclists on the Road 2 Lisbon.
The Celtic FC Foundation is a partner in R2S. The Foundation creates opportunities for society’s most vulnerable and marginalised individuals and group. For R2S, the Foundation provides a range of support services to the R2S event.
How good a cyclist do I need to be to participate?
A rough rule of thumb is that cyclists should be able to cycle consecutive days of at least 80 miles.
There is no requirement to be fast; the average distances of 80 miles per day requires a steady, consistent approach.
If 80 miles on consecutive days sounds daunting to you, come on an organised training ride as being part of a organised cohesive group of cyclists vastly reduces the energy required to complete each day’s route.
Leading up the cycle in May 2023 there will be a number of training rides throughout the UK to allow participants to get to know one another and practice and improve their cycling skills.
Assistance will also be available on issues such as bike purchase.
Note that cyclists need to provide their own bikes.
What does a typical day look like?
A typical day consists of 5 – 7 hours of cycling covering around 80 miles with on the road mid-morning, lunch and mid-afternoon food and drink breaks organised by Greenrock resulting in a lapsed time of 7 – 9 hours.
The cyclists travel in groups of 6 – 8 people which form naturally over the journey with plenty of scope to change groups.
The route is fully mapped by Greenrock and those cyclists with bike computers are encouraged to download the GPX files to help them navigate through the day.
The Greenock support crew are never far from the cyclists and are on hand to assist with mechanical or navigation issues.
Accommodation is 3 star hotel where dinner is provided.
What does it cost to take part in the Road 2 Seville?
The final cost of R2S will be determined by the number of cyclists and the total cost of the event
Our current estimate is that the core cost will be around £2,600 per cyclist. This is fantastic value for money as it covers:
- Travel and accommodation from Glasgow to Seville
- All meals from Glasgow to Seville
- Support from Greenrock:
o Detailed route planner
o Support on the road from 4 experienced staff, a mini bus and transit van:
o Luggage transfer from Glasgow to Seville
o Mechanical support
o First aid support
o Bike return to the UK
Are there any other costs?
There are some non-core costs over and above the £2,600 which will vary from person to person according to personal choice:
Kit – we will have unique R2S cycling kit (currently under design) available to buy. Typically, one cycle jersey will be supplied to everyone covered by corporate sponsorship. Cyclists are free to buy additional items.
Seville celebrations – no details yet but we will either have or own celebration dinner in Seville or join in with other fan led events. Again, we hope a corporate sponsor will help cover this but there may well be something to pay depending on the cost.
Travel home – once the celebrations are over, everyone is free to do there own thing. Some will come home immediately, others will relax in Spain for a few days.
How do I get home from Seville with my bike?
R2S ends with the celebration event in Seville on 21st May and cyclists are then free to come home whatever way they want.
There are several airports in southern Spain and Gibraltar which have direct flights to various destinations in the UK.
Greenrock will bring the bikes back to the UK in their vehicles and will a number of drop off points, including Celtic Park.
Is it possible to cycle part of the route?
There are options to do the full route or part route. There are some further details below but if you have any questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The current cost estimate for the full route is £2600 per person, with part route costs indicted below.
The rough costs are as follows;
Glasgow to Rosslare £1,144
Belfast to Seville £2,153
Bilbao to Seville £1,308
What will the Celtic Foundation do with the money raised?
Celtic FC Foundation is for all, regardless of gender, age, religion, race or ability. The priority is to provide assistance to those who face daily challenges within key priority areas.
Our priority focus will support areas based on the need surrounding our home within the city of Glasgow.
Thereafter, our main geographical areas of support, in order of priority are:
• The North and East of Glasgow
• Greater Glasgow, Inverclyde and North Lanarkshire
• Scotland, Ireland and the rest of the UK
• Rest of the World, with an emphasis on Asia and Africa
The Foundation also offers support in the form of delivery and/or partnership to external charities and other organisations who offer value in the community and whose principles fit within these key priority areas.
Can I speak to someone about the R2S?
Yes of course.
I cycled when I was younger, but when the Road to Lisbon trip came up, I was inspired to get back on a bike, around 30 years after the last time I had ridden. I followed a rough training plan and got myself fit enough to complete the Lisbon ride. I have continued since and taken part in other cycling events, including Ride London and Majorca 312, as well as some week long cycles with the group that has stayed together since Lisbon. I think I am proof that you are never too old, or unfit to make a trip like this work. I am not a cyclist, I am just someone who likes cycling and would encourage anyone considering signing up, to have a chat about it with one of the group. They are a fabulous bunch, and offer nothing but encouragement and support. So feel free to get in touch.
“I would describe myself as very much the DIY/solo cyclist of the group – having never ridden as part of a cycling club or participated in any sportives. My cycling experience and interest has tended to focus on longer solo ‘touring’ style trips, such as cycling to all of Celtic’s 2017/18 away league games for the Celtic FC Foundation and in 2015 cycled from Glasgow to Berlin for Mary’s Meals. I got to know the group having signed up for the ill-fated Road to Milan and joined the group for a cycling holiday in Pitlochry in August 2020 – which was very much a crash course in group riding for me. Despite the initial worries and insecurities about riding with a group, I could not have met a more welcoming, encouraging and supportive group. If like me, you are interested but unsure about group riding or have concerns over your ability please get in touch and I would be happy to assist and share my experience.”
“I bought a bike back in 2016 to tackle the London Ride 100 challenge with my new company having not been anywhere near a bike since I was a teenager! At that point I had never so much as seen a road bike in real life much less done any sportives! I have grown up a Celtic fan thanks to my dad and when the opportunity to do the Road to Lisbon cycle presented itself we jumped at the chance, albeit with no clue what we were doing and knowing no one else in the group other than each other! Turns out it was the best decision we ever made and that two weeks of cycling was spectacular. We learnt lots about cycling and ourselves whilst being accompanied by the most incredible group of people who I am pleased to say are very much still active in my life today. If you find yourself wanting to learn a little more about this new trip, or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch I would be happy to help in any way I can!