I started handcycling to get my fitness back after my accident. I knew that I couldn’t run until I got some blades and I couldn’t play cricket, rugby and football, which were my main sports before.
I was first introduced to a handcycle when I was at Headley Court, the armed forces’ dedicated rehabilitation centre, in the summer of 2011. I had been in a wheelchair and had put a little bit of weight on, so it seemed like a good time to start exercising!
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I started going up Box Hill and doing 10-mile routes around the climb, which is near the centre. Box Hill will either make you want to continue handcycling, or never go on one ever again! I saw the potential of how good it could be, and I became addicted to it from there. Help for Heroes funded a handcycle for me, and from there I started racing.
To be selected for Great Britain for the 2016 Paralympics in Rio is a massive motivation for me. There’s a lot of hard work to be done, but I’m getting more racing experience and training better.
Racing in the RideLondon Grand Prix was good for me as it showed me how far I’ve got to go to achieve what I want to. Paralympians are elite athletes, and the standards in all sports and disciplines are very high.
It was also incredible to be competing on the Mall, and around Buckingham Palace and Horse Guards Parade. Not many people will get to do that during their sporting careers!
I see Jon-Allan Butterworth quite a lot. He went through the Battleback programme that is funded by Help for Heroes. It was great to see him win three silver medals at the London Paralympics.
Before I had a bike, which I used to go to work and back. I was never a massive cyclist. Now, I’m addicted to it!
It would be great if my experience can inspire other people. Even just one person who sees me as someone who has achieved something having been injured, I would consider that as successful. I’m not even talking about a serious athlete, either. It could just be a recreational rider.
This article was first published in the August 29 issue of Cycling Weekly. Read Cycling Weekly magazine on the day of release where ever you are in the world International digital edition, UK digital edition. And if you like us, rate us!