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I am an adrenaline-addicted hand-cyclist. I of course love sport, especially riding my hand-cycle. I love to be active outdoors, to learn, to figure out ways around challenges, and to share special experiences and journeys with friends and people from all walks of life. Life has taught me the importance of holding tight to belief, and never, ever giving up.
“Someone once said to me, ‘Disability is a state of mind not a state of body.’ That’s a notion that relates to us all, regardless of whether we have a physical disability or not. Our own mind is our biggest obstacle to living and achieving our wildest aspirations. What is life if it isn’t an adventure? I’m constantly amazed by what can be achieved if we set our heart and mind to it. It’s all about finding belief, confidence, motivation and commitment and of course, friends. Then there are no limits.”
I was part paralysed in 2006 at the age of fifty. Facing a life in a wheelchair, I chose to fight preconceived ideas of just what was possible for someone who could feel nothing below their waist. There begins my story and the beginning of an extraordinary new life.
I can’t remember the exact details of my accident in July 2006 but I was only 500 meters from work when I fell to the ground. An ambulance was called and I was rushed to hospital. I spent five days in intensive care when the doctors told me I had suffered a spinal cord injury at C4/C5 level it meant very little to me. I was told that a slipped disc was crushing my spinal cord. I suffered severe nerve damage, leaving me part paralysed from the waist down and forcing me to come to terms with a whole new way of life. They told me it was “still early days” and that although I was paralysed in my legs it didn’t mean that I wouldn’t regain movement.
As time went on they told me the same thing, but no movement returned to my limbs. Over time the words “early days” were mentioned less and less, and this was the time I realised that something in my life had changed dramatically. The movement I have now would be all I’d ever have. I have movement from my waist upwards, I can move my arms well. I don’t have movement in my legs, but I am extremely keen and working hard to be as mobile as possible.
I understand the spine is a delicate thing. And I’m told that once your back is damaged it will never really; properly repair, so I train hard to keep my fitness and strength. However some people are not so lucky.
Over the last ten years I have overcome many physical and mental barriers with the help from my family and friends. I have completed in many events others believed impossible; these events have included Hand cycling from London to Brighton, 24 hour endurance race at Thurxton Motor circuit in which I qualified for race across America in 2018, Ride100, hand cycled from Scotland to London 600 miles in November 2014, raising £12000 for charity, Coastline Challenge 2017 hand cycling 2,500 miles in 27 days and i have hand-cycled in many charity rides all over the UK in the last three years. Just one of these challenges is more than most of us will attempt in our lifetime.
My aim is to demonstrate what a disabled hand cyclist can do, to raise awareness of hand cycling as a sport here in the UK. To hopefully inspire others to realise that just because you have a disability, doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve.
In July 2015 I Appeared on ITV Surprise Surprise TV Show, the show was supported by Sunrise Medical who donated 7 hand-cycles to my children’s disabled hand-cycling club. Please click on the link below
My background prior to becoming an endurance handcyclist adventurer was a chef/publican for over 20 years with personal experience of working in corporate and public sectors. I also ran my own health club for five years. This together with my life experiences has given me skills and insight that enable me to connect with a wide range of audiences.
I try to speak from my heart, with honesty and open-ness, sharing personal stories and experiences that have taught me significant things about overcoming challenge, embracing change, about making the ‘impossible’ possible and about stretching ourselves to achieve surprising things in a sustainable way. I speak to audiences in schools, social enterprises, charities, small businesses.
I love hand-cycling and the great outdoors and would love to hand-cycle around the world, so my personal Quest- For Hope. Is to hand-cycle a minimum of 10,000 miles around the world in the next three years involving a significant long bike journey on each continent.