They can ride 500 miles, and they will ride 500 more
Disabled residents at a Cheltenham care home are keeping active indoors by taking on a massive virtual cycling challenge, riding the length of Britain from Land’s End to John O’Groats.
A team of residents and staff from charity Leonard Cheshire’s Gloucestershire House recently reached the halfway mark in their 1673km (1040-mile) virtual route from the Cornish coast to north-east Scotland.
Dave Evans, 57, who lives at Gloucestershire House and uses a powerchair, launched the challenge in a bid to boost fitness and has already lost 21kg (3 stone). Dave and his friends initially completed several of those miles outdoors thanks to the charity’s Gloucestershire Wheels for All scheme, and now use the static bikes in the home’s brand-new gym.
In a team with many full-time wheelchair users who have a wide range of disabilities, Dave is helping others feel the benefits of exercise.
“I am enjoying the challenge. We chose a route from Land’s End to John O’Groats because it is an iconic journey. To be able to contribute to a big team goal gives exercise a purpose and encourages people to get involved. It’s really beneficial – mentally and physically. It’s a great feeling to reach halfway”.
From the start of the virtual route at Land’s End in Cornwall through to its conclusion at John O’Groats in north- east Scotland, the LEJOG challenge is the longest distance between two inhabited points in mainland Britain. Dave still involves those not able to cycle, his giant map of landmarks generating conversations about past experiences and future holidays.
Harriet Gallagher, Occupational Therapist at Gloucestershire House, said:
“It is great to see things like the Challenge taking place. It is so pleasing to see residents supporting and motivating each other; it really gets everybody involved and creates such a lovely atmosphere in the home. Keep up the good work!”
Leonard Cheshire’s Gloucestershire Wheels for All project enabled Dave and friends to rack up the initial miles outdoors, cycling at the Blackbridge Athletics track and in the beautiful Forest of Dean. Wheels for All provides inclusive cycling sessions for disabled people living across the region, working with bespoke trike provider Tomcat to provide adaptive trikes for all abilities. Dave and his fellow cyclists now make the most of the static bikes in the Gloucestershire House gym.
For all riders taking on the LEJOG challenge Dave organised special t-shirts, sponsored by Tomcat, designed with free help from Cheltenham-based company Pure Creative and printed at reduced cost by Gloucester-based company Five Valley labels and designs. To donate to the LEJOG 2020 Challenge in aid of Leonard Cheshire’s Gloucestershire Wheels for All scheme, please visit justgiving.com/gloucestershire-house-lejog-cycle-challenge