Countries, Europe, Sport

Me-biking at the worlds in Ischgl

How many sports do you get to compete to be the best on the globe… well, how about me-biking at the worlds in Ischgl in Austrian Tirol?

Anybody who has seen me fall off bikes from Islay in the Scottish Western Islands.

To Quinta da Lago in Portugal might think again.

About allowing me to line up alongside other two-wheeled fans.

Or maybe I’ve tricked them with my triumphant picture at the top of a Pyrenees Tour de France stage.

EVERYONE’S a winner

Keep up: At the top of the Pyrenees

Fact is that you, me, or anyone is invited to the E-Bike World Championship from August 31 to September 2.

Where a world championship title for professional athletes and occasional cyclists from the age of ten will be up for grabs.

The rules of the world’s biggest E-Bike race they say are simple.

‘The fastest biker is crowned world champion in the ‘ELITE’ category,’ explains Dr Markus Mitterdorfer (E-Bike World Federation).

‘Participants in the ‘EVERYONE’ category compete against three riding time limits (gold, silver, and bronze).

‘If they fall below one of the three defined limits, the e-bikers will receive an official EVERYMAN World Championship gold, silver or bronze medal,’

Whoever falls short of the gold limit may call themselves world champions.

The most outstanding performers in each age group will be recognised according to gender and classification class.

So, in the words of Hot Chocolate’s Errol Brown ‘everyone’s a winner baby, that’s no lie.’

Although probably more apt in my case would be ‘we’ll put you together again.’

Fantastic Mr (and Mrs) Fox

Look, no hands: But I’ll be holding on tight

If being a world champion and telling everyone when you get home has whetted your appetite.

Then you’ll be ready for the other fun and games they have in store. 

The Ischgl Ironbike Fox Hunt Challenge will take place this year as part of the E-Bike World Championships for EVERYONE on Thursday, 31 August.

E-bikers try to overtake two ‘foxes’ on the uphill course towards Idalp.

The foxes are on the road with a lead run and without electricity.

The participants will follow a little later with electricity running through their bikes.

In two starting blocks, the aim is to catch up to one female and one male fox – the foxes are still a secret.

E is the magic number

Making a splash: And the wheels to handle the puddles

The highlight of the weekend will be the race to the E-Bike World Championship for EVERYONE taking place on two different courses on Saturday, 2 September.

The world championship route for the “EVERYONE” classification class is the longest in length with a distance of 27.1 km.

Participants in the “ELITE” classification class will be asked to do their best on a 37.1km long technically demanding course.

‘Over 1,250 metres in altitude, which has been newly extended, with steep climbs and spectacular single trails.

Trick of the trade: The skills team

Also introduced in both classification classes is the team classification.

A team must consist of at least four people to be classified with the fastest three counting.

And I have form here, even if it is on two feet and cross country or road racing and 40 years ago when my school team ruled Scotland.

There is no upper limit to the number of people in a team.

Those who do not have their own E-Bike can rent one on site for a fee.

It is also possible to book a rental E-Bike for two days.

Registration is now possible online.


Strumthing else: The post-race entertainment

And stick around too for the apre-E (you can have that one) with trick bike artists and live bands on show.

If you register by 29 April, participation costs €59 without a rental E-Bike and €108 with a rental E-Bike. E-Bike rentals can also be booked for two days.

Those who register by 25 August will pay €69 euros. From 26 August, €79 euros will be due.

Further information available at World Championship for EVERYONE 2023

So that’s me, me and you and a dog named Boo are all in for a spot of Me-biking at the worlds in Ischgl.



America, Countries, Sport

Drivin’ outta town to Arizona

A bag of balls and a bucket of booze and I’m drivin’ outta town to Arizona.

No, I’m not advocating drink-driving unless it’s golf-range driving in Las Vegas where the Grand Canyon State is on the horizon.

And where fast food and craft beer oils the joints and helps you grip it and rip it and hit it towards open Arizona.

Where you can reach not just in the mind but in a helicopter or in an open car.

And if you reach rough where noone has gone before then the expanse of Arizona feels appealing.

The golf zone

Tee it up: Arizona in the distance

Our friends out West must have seen something in me out in the Las Vegas Top Golf range to invite me out.

To golf near the Grand Canyon in Northern Arizona.

Elephant… never forget

Watch out for the trees: Elephant Rocks

At Elephant Rocks in Williams only an hour away from the canyon.

The course’s quirky name originated from the elephant-shaped lava rocks that greet guests on their way to the public 18-hole course.

Closed in the winter, the course is the perfect getaway during the spring and summer.

Stay in Williams to dine in a retro diner along Route 66.

And I’m working backwards here having reached the terminus in Santa Monica.

On the right track

Get outta the way: Photobombed in Grand Canyon

Or ride the Grand Canyon Railroad for a scenic ride to the natural wonder.

Just make sure you don’t have someone photobomb your Grand Canyon shot.

So however you get there get drivin’ outta town to Arizona.


Countries, Europe, Oceania, Sport

World Cup songs

And we’re inspired by a Scottish presence at the World Cup in Qatar to visit World Cup songs.

No, not the Lochgilphead Loyal and their Saltire which suggests that they might be following the Auld Enemy England.

No, we’re reminded when Australia take the field.

Ausome: Aussie fans

Both in the three Scots-born players and the seven Aussies playing in Scotland… the Jockeroos.

And the fact that the Aussie national anthem Advance Australia Fair was written by a Scot, Peter Dodds McCormick.

The power of the anthem in a sporting match can be seen etched on the faces of those for whom playing for their national team is the ultimate.

But what about their efforts in football World Cup songs.

We’ve been scrolling through iTunes and come up with these standards.

And, as usual, we set it to a holiday location you’ll have been to… or want to.

A Spanish dream

Saltire In Tenerife

I have a dream, World Cup, Spain 1982

And maybe not the musical polish of later slick WC productions but this remains the standard by which all other Scottish songs should be judged.

Written by BA Robertson (Bang, Bang) and narrated by John Gordon Sinclair (Gregory’s Girl, it’s a dream sequence.

Where Sinclair scores a penalty winner for Scotland in the final in Spain.

Of course, Scotland, as per the norm, had a nightmare… but we still have the song.

Electric Qatar

Aussie, Aussie: With the Aussies in Munich

Down Under, Qatar, 2022: And us Scots get everywhere with the Men At Work standard and Aussie anthem again tinted with tartan.

Colin Hay’s distinctive whine owes much to his Aussie upbringing but everything to his Ayrshire birthplace.

Can you hear, can you hear the thunder?

Schland uber alles

Food for thought: Bayern eats in Munich Airport

Schland, Qatar 2022: And if this one sounds familiar it’s only because it’s a variation on Lena’s 2010 winning Eurovision song.

The lead singer of German offering Uwu Lena dons a wig and dress in homage to the singer.

Only he doesn’t say whether he ‘even painted his toenails for you, he did it the other day.’

Mexican hot

Mexican wave: Ole

Hot, hot, hot, Mexico 1986: And this takes us right back to Mexico and Maradona and Montserrat.

Yes, the theme tune to that year’s festival originated in the Caribbean island of Montserrat and Arrow.

England down the vindaloo

Off to Waterloo: Keith Allen

Vindaloo, France 1998: And in a seemless segue we give you the best World Cup song of all time.

And with honourable mentions to Ally’s Tartan Army (Argentina, 1978) and Three Lions (in all its iterations), Fat Les’s Vindaloo is the pinnacle.

With that marching quality, vid and football nonsense lyrics this England fans’ favourite even had this Tartan Army foot soldier going.

As I initiated my then-three-year-old son into the ways of the World Cup.

Complete with saucepans, wooden spoons and adapted lyrics…

‘We’re going to score one less goal than you.’


America, Countries, Sport

Thanksgiving in New England

Back in 1620 there was only Thanksgiving in New England and while all America doesn’t always appreciate New England, we do.

For those who follow such ball games a meme about the New England Patriots American Football team will be familiar.

When a recalibrated map went viral of America greened up and only a sliver around NE backing the Patriots.

Which for us with an Irish heritage and Irish-American cousins would always welcome.

Only this was a darker shade of green in support of the Eagles of Philadelphia, also a great sporting region.

Whether the original Pilgrims of Plymouth and the native Americans threw an oval ball we’ll never know.

And it was more likely the natives would have taught them their game, lacrosse.

Lacrosse the Atlantic

Give it some stick: Lacrosse

Still popular in the best colleges, of which NE boasts more than its fair share and further afield.

For those of us from other shores but with American connections the choice of a team, or teams, can be arbitrary.

You might adopt the team of your relatives and friends or latch onto those whose colours, name or top player appeals.

Or it could be that most unappetising of motives for following a team… glory hunting.

An accusation that could be levelled at me for adopting the New England Patriots, et al when I spent a summer in Massachusetts in 1987.

And the Boston teams, the baseball Red Sox, the basketball Celtics and the ice hockey Bruins.

Only my first brush with New England sport came decades before Brady.

New England sports

Take it as Red: Boston Red Sox

Back in the 80s when the Red Sox were still blighted by the Curse of the Bambino.

Which followed the sale of George ‘Babe’ Ruth to the New York Yankees.

And heralded in a period of success for New York and an 86-year drought for the Red Sox.

Brady’s bunch: The New England Patriots

Until it was lifted in 2004 and corresponded with six Super Bowls around this time.

The Celtics had been the standard-bearers until then with 17 titles, matched later by, whisper it, the LA Lakers.

But what’s all the fuss, Boston did it first.

The Bruins too add to the roll call of national titles with six Stanley Cups.

And hope springs eternal for those masses of fans who march on game days to the TD Garden, this Bruinophile among them.

Banner headline

Share and share alike: Thanksgiving

New England’s obsession with sports is as much a feature of the region as are the pilgrims.

With an exhibit of drapes, the Celebration of Championships greeting travellers to Logan Airport Terminal C.

And that includes the successes of Boston Cannons, exponents of the ancient Native American sport.

Which we are reminded may, or may not, have been the post-turkey and maize entertainment.

At that first Thanksgiving Day in New England.



Countries, South America, Sport

World calling Ecuador

As Qatar kick off the Jules Rimet Trophy let’s remember there’s another team playing too so an invitation here… world calling Ecuador, world calling Ecuador.

Having sidestepped the Qatar issue with all the guile of a Luca Modric.

Let’s turn our attentions to South Americans Ecuador.

And you barely need any Spanish to work out that the country derives its name from the Equator.

That being the case time pretty much stands still in Ecuador.

With the sun always rising at 6am and setting at 6pm.

Now if you know anything about Ecuador beyond the Equator then full marks to you.

But, of course, there is a whole country above, below and beyond the dividing line.

Gallop to the Galapagos

Here tortoise: And aren’t they giant?

Most notably the Galapagos Islands where the locals move at a very slow island pace.

A thousand kilometres to the west the Islands are on G Adventures, Intrepid Travel… 

And mostly all of your adventure tours to this part of the world.

Because of their giant tortoises who live for hundreds of years, its iguana and penguin and a host of other attractions.

Darwin’s species 

The evolution: Darwin

Charles Darwin remains the Galapagos Islands’ most famous visitor until that is I get there.

And it was here that my fellow beardie formulated his theory of evolution.

From studying finches’ changing beaks.

It’s not just in the Galapagos Islands either that you’ll be bowled over by just how many species are on show.

Biodiversity rules

A whole different ball game: Ecuador

In fact Ecuador tops the world for the density of its biodiversity.

The Galapagos themselves have 38 endemic species.

But there are also 106 reptiles and 138 amphibians endemic to Ecuador.

And count them (well no need, someone has done it for us) there are tens of thousands of bird species alone.

In fact 15% of the world’s population.

The Ecuadorian capital, Quito, will get more than a mention or two.

Because it’s naturally the hub of Ecuadorian football.

And where because of the geographical advantage they have from being the second highest capital in the world.

After Peru’s La Paz they have a tidy home record.

Hitting the heights

Cat in the hat: Ecuador, home of the Panama

Of course, you’ll feel it yourself from being in a city 9,350ft above sea level (my highest is Mile High City Denver).

In the rarefied air that closer to God you are.

And that’s borne out too by the medieval churches.

Which UNESCO recognised Quito and Krakow as their first World Cultural Heritage sites in 1978.

You might hear too that Ecuador is the world’s biggest exporter of bananas.

And that it’s really where Panama Hats derive and you’ll be away.

Cheering Ecuador

Let’s call it Quitos: The locals

So that’s more than enough to be getting on with, and for the rest get out there.

We’ll try and keep you going as the tourney progresses but for now while the heat is on Qatar.

Here is where you’ll find the world calling Ecuador.


Marathon mania

Men and women in spacesuits and the front and back of horses, it’s Marathon mania on London Marathon Day.

So we’re going right back to the start to 490BC and Philippedes who famously ran 26 miles 385 yards to warn Athens the Persians were coming.

Because, of course they didn’t have social media back then.

And they’re off: On the Marathon

Nor sat-nav, cars or even signposts which of course we all have now.

Marathon, signposts for which you can see in the Greek capital, obviously makes a big thing of Philippedes.

And his modern-day successor Spiridon Louis, the first Marathon gold-medallist of the 1896 Modern Olympics.

All at the Marathon Run Museum.

Phil steam ahead

Cool it: On the run

Of course the most authentic experience of all is to run Philippedes’s route.

Which you can do in the Classic Athens Marathon Race which runs in 12-13 November.

Maybe best not reminding you here of Philippedes’ fate after he’d crossed the finishing line of the first Marathon.

Phil, by which we’d know him now, had just enough puff left in him to write out the word ‘Nenikikamen’ or ‘we won’.

Before he collapsed and died of a heart attack.

Better maybe try a less severe Marathon.

Run the world

Homer run: But staying the course

Maybe warm up with a London, Boston (the world’s oldest annual Marathon dating vack to 1897), Berlin (the fastest course).

Or if you really want to get left field then make a bucket list holiday out of it in say, Tahiti.

Where you can join the 1,000 runners in the Moorea Marathon, The Islands of Tahiti.

And pound the pineapple plantations and along the pristine white beaches.

So maybe you want to avoid today’s London Marathon mania well just choose your location.

Because everybody wants to run the world.



Countries, Deals, Sport

Rock up for Wrestlemania

He’s the lord of the ring, the hottest ticket in town, who you can see for yourself if you rock up for Wrestlemania.

And the best folk to tag along with to see The Rock come out of retirement at Wrestlemania 39 in Los Angeles next year are Cassidy Sports Travel.

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson debuted at Wrestlemania 25 years ago and has competed at 11 events.

Counting such other luminaries as Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin and John Cena as his opponents.

My eye on you: The Rock

And dropping jumping clotheslines, Samoan drops and running shoulderbreakers along the way.

Wrestlemania has been right up there with the NBA as the world’s biggest indoor entertainment sport.

And yes debates will rage over how scripted it is.

But nobody can deny that is pure entertainment.

And the SOFI stadium in La-La Land is just the venue for the antics as it hosted the latest Super Bowl.

The Fighting Irish

Swagger: WWE star Conor McGregor

The hybrid of Mixed Martial Arts has proved to be a gateway into Wrestling for many.

And Conor McGregor‘s successes in Las Vegas have prompted an Irish following for WWE too.

Ireland boasts a rich seam of wrestlers who will be represented across in LA at Wrestlemania.

And wherever the Fighting Irish go then their fans go with them… so look out for Finn Balor and Sheamus & Becky Lynch when you get over there.

So here’s what Cassidy are billing…

Wrestlemania Goes Hollywood


Wrestlemania 39 Package with return flights will see you stay for five nights at a 3* hotel in LAX area, travelling on March 30 with prices from €1,830pp.

And you will get the goldens tickets for Wrestlemania Nights 1 & 2 (Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd April).

Making the grade

Sport mecca: The SOFI

Upgrades Available on Request for the Smackdown Event – 31st March – €550pp Supplement

Raw Event – 3rd April – €650pp Supplement

Wrestlemania will take place in SOFI Stadium – an incredible venue & host of the latest Super Bowl!

Drop into Cassidy Travel or contact them on 01 8779853.



Asia, Countries, Europe, Sport

Anyone for Raducanu and Maldives

So where has Britain’s sporting darling gone… well, anyone for Raducanu and Maldives?

Emma I think it would be right to say can do with some time out of the spotlight.

And that is what last year’s US Open tennis winner is getting with her engagement in the Indian Ocean atolls.

Emm-meet and greet

Oh OK then: Emma’s invitation

Emma will share her skills and pro tips with guests at Amilla Maldives Resort and Residences on Baa Atoll from 25 October -2 November.

Emma will give a 60-minute tennis clinic at the resort’s jungle-clad, US Open-standard tennis courts.

She will also attend a meet-and-greet and just like any other 19-year-old is excited about going out to the teardrop isles.

She said: ‘I’m delighted to discover the Maldives for the first time. I will have an amazing time there.’

Kings and queens of court

Off Pat: Rafter is a fan

Baa Atoll has become something of a magnet for the cream of tennis.

With former World No. 1s Angelique Kerber and Pat Rafter and Olympic gold medallist Sasha Zverev and Davis Cup winner Viktor Troicki all gracing its courts.

And those of us who have been out to the Maldives have always been mighty glad to have an alternative to water sports.

Because as enjoyable as they are, if like me you weren’t born with a snorkel in your mouth scuba diving doesn’t come naturally.


Lounging around: In Kuramathi

And you’ll be glad for a game of football or cricket with the staff as I did in Kuramathi.

And cool down later in your own infinity pool.

All of which should appeal to the jet set tennis player.

Something of which I got to know when we signed up for a Judy Murray masterclass in Quinta do Lago in Portugal.


Bandanaman is coming: Emma

And that’s the beauty of it for us and the scrutinised tennis star, here’s an escape from the humdrum of home.

Anyone for Raducanu and Maldives… I know I am.


Africa, Countries, Europe, Ireland, Oceania, Sport, UK

An Irish rugby conversion

As an Irish-Scot it’s when I’m at my most conflicted when it comes to international sports, but when it comes to egg-chasing mine’s is increasingly an Irish rugby conversion.

It wasn’t always so but then that’s 13 years in Ireland, and working in rugby heartland Ballsbridge in Dublin for you.

Scotland the grave

Scot the lot: Springjock Duhan van der Merwe

My own native land is Scotland of course, and let me remind you I followed them as a schoolboy through thin and thin in the late 70s and reported on them in even thinner times in the early 90s.

And now while the same can’t be said for Ireland in a football sense, in rugby the Boys in Green are actually for the most part Irish.

As opposed to a Scotland side which is filled with players who have been discarded by New Zealand, Australia and worst of all England.

In fact we’ve even coined a name for the legion of South Africans who have rebranded themselves as Scottish… Springjocks.

All of which running around aimlessly brings me to the imminent Rugby World Cup in France next year when I will more than likely be waving my Tricolour instead of my Saltire.

Now if you want to put yourself in the safest travel hands then get on board my old Irish pals Cassidy Travel‘s deals for France RWC 2023.

Deal us in

Vive La France: Les Bleus

Cassidy’s packages include return flights, return airport transfers, hotel accommodation (unless it’s a day trip) and t tickets,

So, whether you want a quick day trip, a longer 2-3-7 night option or a bespoke tailor-made sport holiday then Cassidy have you covered.

Game on

Drum up support: Romania

So without further ado here are the matches you can be at, starting with the Romania mania.

Rugby World Cup 2023 – Ireland v Romania

Day Trip Package to Bordeaux!

9th September 2023

Don’t have time to stay? No problem at all! Make it a day trip!

Ireland meet the European runners-up in Bordeaux.

Package Includes:

Return flights

Return Airport Transfers

Match tickets

All from €599pp!

Rand old team

Rainbow nation: South African support in the townships

Bok your team, if your team is Ireland, against South Africa.

Rugby World Cup 2023 – Ireland v South Africa

2 Night Package to Paris!

23rd September 2023

The perfect two-night deal for rugby fans!

Package Includes:

Return flights from Dublin or Shannon

Return Airport Transfers

2 Nights in a 3* Hotel

Match tickets

All from €1099pp!

From Bok to Jock

Split loyalties: Ireland v Scotland

And one where any Irish-Scot can’t lose.

Rugby World Cup 2023 – Ireland v Scotland

2 Night Package!

7th October 2023

Two-night deal for you to enjoy one of the best

Rugby World Cup France 2023 events.

Package Includes:

Return flights

Return Airport Transfers

2 Nights in a 3* Hotel

Match tickets

All from €899pp!

Pieces of eight

Hakademic: The All Blacks’ Haka

Rugby World Cup 2023 – Quarter Finals!

Tickets to both matches included!

14th & 15th October 2023

Should they progress, Ireland will then meet the winners or runners-up of Pool A,

which includes France and New Zealand, at the Stade de France.

Package Includes:

Return flights

Return Airport Transfers

2 Nights in a 3* Hotel

Match tickets for Both Games

All from €1599pp!

And, of course, if Ireland beat the All Blacks (and everyone defeats them these days) they get to keep them!

So get your green out and support the Boys in France next year.

And that even includes Irish-Scots looking for a proper team to support… it’s an Irish rugby conversion.






Caribbean, Sport

Dom Rep it up

So we bought my Dear Old Dad a book of the world’s most difficult golf holes though the Teeth of the Dog where they like to Dom Rep it up wasn’t on it.

The book was, of course, a joke with tees on one mountain and the green on the other among the ‘holes from hell’.

And bless him, Dad was incredulous and slightly nervous even looking at the holes.

On account that he took a 7-iron off the tee at a particularly difficult par-5 at his local Hilton Park Golf Club, near Glasgow.

Teeth of the Dog

Water feature: Casa de Campo

The Teeth of the Dog in Casa De Campo is one of those courses which will test all those Sunday golfers, like Dad and me, but it’s for real.

Casa De Campo, which my old chum and expert on all things Caribbean (and golf) Clem Walshe, came on my radar.

When we all met up for a Caribbean Road Show in Dublin.

And the Dominican Republic resort brings news to us that it has been voted No. 1 golf resort in the Caribbean.

All of which hasn’t escaped the notice of the world’s A-listers.

Grand Slam Dunk It

In the hold: Michael Jordan

Grand Slam Dunk Michael Jordan is a fan.

As well as Jennifer Lopez, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg and Dennis Quaid.

While Bill Clinton has even got his molars into the Teeth of the Dog.

The specs are that it was designed by Pete Dye with seven of the 18 holes on the 7,357 yards course playing right along the Caribbean Sea, 20 feet above the surf.

For those golfies among you Golf Digest  placed The Teeth of the Dog at No.20 in its top 100.

It was topped by Royal County Down at No.1 but with Gullane’s Muirfield.

Up the road from me here in New Berwick, at No.7.

On the Teeth of the Dog the sea is on the left on holes five through eight.

And on the right on holes 15 through 17 and every hole is unique and scenic.

The rates

Dye For: If you avoid the water

Now there are three courses at Casa de Campo in La Romana.

The geniusly-named Dye For and the more traditional The Links building the trinity with our Teeth of the Dog.

We’re told that with your all-inclusive stay you can enjoy daily golf across all three award-winning courses at a reduced daily rate.

The nightly rates per person are between $65-$95 and follow the site for other rates.

The resort also boasts eight outstanding restaurants.

And the stunning Minitas Beach Club, a Marina and an Equestrian Center featuring Polo.

There’s a shooting course too.

While there’s great shopping, and three private pristine white sand beaches.

So go on Dom Rep it up.