'I need to get to the game' - The Hibs fan who cycled 186 miles to see his team play Ross County
Kieran Power wanted to inspire and motivate fans with his challenging cycle to see Hibs
Football fans are a different breed. They will do some weird and wonderful things for the club they support. From refusing to wash a ragged, fetid drink-stained scarf to simply turning up week after week with little reward.
As Kieran Power, the supporters representative to the club's board of directors at Hibs, puts it: “supporters will always do extraordinary things for their club”.
The 34-year-old led by example on Wednesday as he embarked on an ambitious 16-hour, 186-mile cycle from his home in Musselburgh to Dingwall to see his team face Ross County.
This was no sponsored ride, nothing to do with charity. This was simply a supporter going to a football game, looking to inspire and motivate, while paying tribute to people who are no longer here.
“I didn’t have the car, my missus had the car for work,” Power told the Evening News. “I need to get to the game, obviously being the Hibs supporters representative on the board.
“It’s really just giving myself a break from life. Just taking a whole day out, me, my bike to cycle and to motivate and inspire the team but really to motivate and inspire the Hibs support.
“As much as I represent the fans I’m sort of in that official capacity that I know I need to do more because it is quite a heightened position, quite a visual position.
“(I wanted to) lead by example and show that supporters will always do extraordinary things for the club. That’s not just Hibs, that’s up and down the country supporters will do quite a lot for their teams, so players and clubs remember that.”
He added: “Because of certain factors, taking a break, not having the car, needing to be there, you know what, I’ll just do this on a whim, dedicating it to people who aren’t here and just get on with it because otherwise I’d have been doing it anyway.
“It's something which has been flagged by Hibs fans recently because the month of November is obviously about absent friends, a lot of remembrance celebrations. It was really to bring that back to the fore even though we are in December.”
Power, who has been the fans’ representative at Easter Road for six months, is familiar with long distance endurance cycling, having cycled around Arthur’s Seat for 24 hours in the summer to raise money for a mental health charity and previously to London solo over two days to raise money for a children’s cancer charity.
Despite his experience, the 186 miles did begin to take its toll towards the end due to the non-stop rain, but he had Hibs fans supporting him along the way, from those passing him to go to the game via more orthodox ways to those on social media.
“I left at three in the morning," he said. "I wanted to get the majority of the riding out (early). Navigating Edinburgh, navigating Fife practically in pitch black and no traffic which I managed to succeed. I got to Kinross before I started to see cars and traffic on the road so missed the majority of rush hour which was fantastic.
“Once I got to Pitlochry, parts of Perth then into the Highlands it was just breathtaking scenery. Scotland at its best.
“The downpour wasn’t forecast so from Kingussie onwards it was just relentless all the way to Dingwall. That was a tough part. I considered getting the train from Inverness for the last 14 miles because I had nothing left in the tank because of the elements not the mileage.
“You could tell who were Hibs fans as they were beeping and it became well aware that it would be myself on that journey. There was a wee bit if devilment, Kenny Millar (Hibs’s communications officer) texting me the game might be in doubt.”
Power arrived in Dingwall at 7pm with time enough to reward himself with “four or five” steak pies. Only then to see Hibs lose 2-1 to the Staggies despite taking the lead.
He the evening with a well deserved night out in Inverness before a train back at 5.30 on Thursday morning.
“By that point, I was glad to just be there but I wish they could have replicated the 550 fans that turned up because it is a 400-mile (round trip) in December on a Wednesday," he said.
“I just wanted a wee bit more effort from the players. Everyone in the Capital can agree with that statement.”