Go to a Christmas market #challenge2015

the final challenge

So the final challenge of the year was to go to a Christmas market. (follow link for a UK list)

All I can say is “Oh My Good God” people everywhere. So I am in a wheelchair, trust me they don’t care.

The atmosphere was great with the theme and festivities but it was hard work.

I felt so small and I was terrified, people where rushing around. They all had their own challenge on, their mission was a lot more important than anything else.

I enjoyed the time in Birmingham and it was nice not to have to climb anything or push up anything all I had to do was try and enjoy the surroundings.

Truth is I did I had mauled wine and our photo taken with Olof. The music was festive and the weather was crisp until it rained but luckily this kind of event only happens once a year..

Getting on an aeroplane #challenge2015

my November challenge

For November the challenge was easy “go on holiday” sound good right? ok there was a bit more to it than that i wanted to fly on an airplane, this is a massive challenge if you have never done it before, i have got used to being a wheelchair user here in the UK but to go and do this in a different country was a whole new thing.

Planning and organisation was key, getting a hotel that was suitable was the real task and then there was the fear of Airports and would my chair make it alive and in one peace.

airport assistance is a must they got me to where i needed to be and onto the plane and they looked after my chair perfectly although take you cushion with you on the flight this note is a must.

I found that the assistance in Lanzorate was in fact better than in the UK and this surprised me but it is a fact all the same.

The hotel was fantastic the staff was amazing and always happy to help where needed but one you left and got into the street this where very different. High curbs lots of cobbles and lots of steps but with my wife to help we got around with out to much trouble.12240119_10153902185292868_4825562320952072453_n

the journey back was again seamless and very easy and all in all i cant wait to go away again lets hope all my experiences are as good as this one was.

Riding a motorcycle #challenge2015

Riding a motorcycle

October was a busy month and I managed 2 race weekends and 2 bike experience days and it was amazing in every way

I have ridden bikes for years off and on about 15 years to be exact. When I went into a chair giving up my bike was one of the hardest things I ever did.  Taking it to the shop I bought it from and asking them to take it off my hands.

I just needed to get rid and move on. I had decided then that I would never ride again and that was just that. However then I was introduced to The Bike Experience

Here I met some of the nicest and most amazing human beings in the world. They got me riding a bike again not a trike a motorcycle.

With a few adaptions I was up on two wheels in no time. Everything came back to me every feeling every nerve seemed to work for just a second for the few moments I was on that machine I was the old me again.

I twisted the throttle and I rode it like I used to hard and fast and I loved it.

I made a lot of friends that day and I believe I will know them in one way or another for the rest of my life.

Off to the races in October

After my day with the Bike Experence I was invited to spend a weekend in the garage with the worlds first self sponsored disable motorcycle race team “Team Talan” and everyone who works with the team.  this was just breath taking in the pit garage at brands hatch was a dream come true and the guys very quickly became people i could soon add onto my friends list. i was in complete ore of the riders they just blew me away and the team was so slick and professional i just could not begin to grasp what was going on around me.

This was a fantastic weekend and when I was then invited to another Experience day I did not hesitate for long to take them up on the offer.

Back on a bike

So off to Donnington where I got to have another day on a bike this time my confidence was alot better and the track was alot of fun

I started off on a straight 4 bandit but i was chewing at the bit to get back onto a v-twin again and as soon as the SV650 was free I was back in the swing of things.

Dan one of the riders took me out to give me a few tips and before long I was leaning right over and in fact I even managed to scrap my toe on the ground, not bad considering I am strapped to the bike.

Getting to know people

And finally I was then invited back to the team garage at snetterton to enjoy the last race weekend of the season with the team, by now i feel like i know everyone really well and i feel i have started to fit in, this is where i want to be mixed in the middle with these guys maybe not out on track maybe not racing but in the garage learning what to do and helping out in anyway i can. these guys are more than just a group of people i met along the way these guys have become friends and real friends at that and i cant wait to spend as much time as i can with them so watch this space.

Zipline #challenge2015

Heights and speed

This Zipline experence was a fantastic challenge. I got to achieve two things:

  • firstly of course I got to zipline something I have never done before.
  • secondly I overcome my fear of heights.
The staff was first class

Chepstow national diving and activity centre was our location and I have to say the staff here have been amazing.  They just could not do enough for me, including drive me from the bottom to the top and get my on the zipline its self.

Even though they knew what they where doing they listened to me and let me suggest what I could and could not do. No demand or command, we done it as a team and that really stood out to me on this challenge.

we had two Zips down the zipline and I could have happily had a few more it was great. The next time I do this will be in Snowdon where you hit massive speeds and it lasts alot longer.

I have also added a video on YouTube feel free to watch and enjoy such a cool experience and again I cant wait till next time.

And finally My lift for the day….. This dude was sound……

Canoeing #challenge2015

Canoeing with peace and calm

After the past few months of fairly challenging challengers we decided to do something a little more fun and with a little less strain on the body and canoeing was welcome addition.

We packed the car up for a camping trip the night before, enjoyed a great BBQ and a few drinks.

The next day we made our way to the river Wye where we met the guys who was going to help me onto the water. They sorted us out loaded us up and drove us up river where we would start our days  canoeing adventure.

Picnic packed! Life jackets on! Boats in the water thanks to the staff. We where set to go.

The river was great it was peaceful the water was calm and the views where amazing. I hold no secret that for me it is always about the views. We hit a few rapids which made it fun. At one point we even nearly came out but managed to hold our ground. Half way down we stopped for a bite to eat. Enjoyed in a very beautiful spot on the side of the river.

At the end I even managed to climb to the top of a big rock and throw myself in, it was not a delicate process and I did not look graceful but I did it and that is all that matters.

All in all I had a great time and again I would do it again however I wouldn’t mind making a few days of it and camp along the river side.

Surfing #challenge2015


I love the sea and i love water

Surfing was a great challenge. A challenge that was decided on the spot almost. We where on holiday in Cornwall the home to surfing in the UK! so why not?

Surf school

We used a company called “Freewave Surf Academy” based at Widemouth Bay.

Robin our instructor was amazing. Taking his time with me to get me ready to hit the waves. Nothing was rushed and my confidence just grew and grew.

The life guards on duty “Billy and Richie” where fantastic.

We arrived and got sorted. The life guards then drove me down to the water edge and helped me get into the water. Once my body was in the water and past the sea break things where a lot easier and with a little technique using the board to get out into the real waves it was just amazing from that point.

Robin instructed us how to get up on the board. However for me,  how to best get onto my knees and then he helped us hit the waves for some surfing.

I can move my legs so it makes this a bit easier but I have seen guys surf who cant and for them they just lay down and ride the waves. Its about being in the sea and enjoying yourself.

I cant wait to try Surfing again and am so glad that I challenged myself to try this now I am just hooked.

WAAT4 Challenge #challenge2015

A challenge of all challenges

I have done many challenges for many good charities. I have cycled the coast of south Wales. Even climbed Pen Y Fan before but never quite like this.

30 kilometres of every terrain known. Tarmac, chipping’s, moss, mud, stones and grass even at one point a little stream.

I took on the WAAT4 as part of a work team challenge and it became one of the biggest challenge I have ever faced it has also become the base to Something more.

I cant wait to hit the hills again with a new chair and a better idea of what lays ahead.

the route

We started off on the road for the first few miles. After the first check point the mountain formed in front of us. Taking on boulders the size of my wheelchair and steep climbs the reality of the WAAT4 challenge was showing face.

With my team pulling and pushing with all their might and me using my wheels to ramp over the boulders we managed to overcome the first major challenge of this climb. We soon faced the uneven ground. This was still steep and hard work and taking alot of effort. The chair had already started to feel the strains that the WAAT4 was throwing at it. With a wheel buckled and bent the challenge was quickly becoming harder than anticipated.

11205540_10153579281202868_4918799741776969234_nfeeling the strain

As team we completed a few minor repairs that was needed and cracked on to the summit. The weather front had moved in bringing the rain and fog with it. There was now the elements against us. Due to the cold people started to struggle with cramp and lactose build up in their legs. Team spirit was still very strong and no one gave up but the mental battles where starting to show.

As we approached the base of the summit the path was almost vertical. We sat on the grass and looked up at the towering mountain knowing there was no way the chair would make it with me in it. The guys where never going to be able to pull me up, the terrain was just to steep. Left with 2 options carry me or I do it on my hands.

We went with option two

With a lot of support from the guys I was on my hands for the last 150 feet to the summit. All the way up was hard and gruelling. I knew I would make it there was no way these guys would let me give up now but my god it was not easy and it took will power. watch the video here

The decent off the mountain was as hard as the climb. The wheelchair had really suffered. The rocky paths never let out and the wheelchair and the team was all suffering.

We got to the 19k check point and the right wheel was so badly damaged that it had stopped turning all together. It was decided for my safety and for the benefit of the team that it was time to call it a day.

I was the first wheelchair user to attempt this challenge and I got as far as I could on THAT day but I helped raise a lot of money and I helped raise a lot of awareness making it all worth while and the highlight was being presented with a fantastic award at the end.

NOW I AM PLANNING NEXT YEAR AND THIS TIME THE CHALLENGE WILL BE BEATEN..

Carten 100 #challeneg2015

from cardiff to tenby

The Carten100 was my challenge for May 2015 a simple cycle ride……  Well ok not so simple! It started from Cardiff City in South Wales and made its 100 mile route to the popular welsh tourist town in west Wales Tenby.  Aimed to be completed in 10 hours and in total it took me 13 hours a time I was very happy with.

It was a massive challenge

For anyone able bodied or not the carten100 is a challenge but for me I completed it on a handcycle.

10675585_10153457907922868_9175806795399974429_nI was joined by my amazing team of support riders and with my support vehicle. However in a nut shell I completed this using only my arms to go the distance and driven by determination and motivated by my close friends…..

Why?

Why did I choose to do the Carten100? Well that is the easy part I have raised a lot of money for many good causes in the past. This one was no different and the charity of choice was the Velindre Cancer Centre

my father

This is not just any charity! It is the centre where my own farther is currently being treated for terminal cancer he was first diagnosed with Leukaemia and then shortly after lung cancer a few years ago. His treatment is not only very important but the care they give is essential to my dads needs. They offer him and my mother the support and assistance they need and they are like many others. We would be lost without this centre to care for people in the way they do. For many people this centre is a place of hope and that can not have a price or value it is just priceless.

The centre needs and rely’s on many fund sources to keep its doors open to the 1000’s of people that visit it every day. It is no secret that they say that everyone in the world will know someone who has had cancer. An illness that takes no considerations. The work this centre does on a day to day bases, the staff that work there giving individual care based upon individual needs young and old people like my farther is very important and life saving..

  • I Completed this challenge in the memory of Simon ash who lost his battle to cancer.
  • I Completed this challenge in the memory of Mrs Hole  who lost her battle to cancer.
  • I Completed this challenge in the memory of my grandmother who lost her battle to cancer.
  • I Completed this challenge in honour of Mr Pardoe who beat his battle against cancer.
  • I Completed this challenge in honour of My Mother who beat her battle against cancer.
  • I Completed this challenge in honour of My Farther who fighting his battle against cancer.

Gravity Riding #challenge2015

down hill at last

So it was a bit delayed due to me having double booked myself. However my April gravity Riding challenge for #Challenge2015 has now been completed..

Roughriderz hosted my challenge and was amazing. Phil and his team took care of me  all day.  I took part in gravity riding for the first time ever, it was one of the best days i have had. The weather was good and the rain stayed away.

I cant recommend this enough to anyone who is remotely interested in an action packed day. If you are looking for speed and excitement then down hill is the event for you.

The Day

I turned up and got set up. Everything was supplied and the guys really looked after me, even put my chair in my car for me locked my car and made sure my keys where safe. Once I had got into the gravity bike and comfortable the fun started.

We took to the course with some fantastic instructions. basically hold on and have fun . As soon as I understood how to be safe we upped the speed each time. By the third run down and as my confidence built the feeling of speed and adrenaline really started to kick in.

Giving thanks

This day out cost me £150. When I think of what I got for it I would say I got a bargain. The three guys Phil, Ed, and Tudor where brilliant from the word go. We hit the track maybe 10 or 11 times with loads of gopro footage. All the uplifts was included as well as full PPE equipment and of course the bike.

For me this was a day of great company fantastic scenery and the weather was on our side. Would I recommend people to try this? Yes in a heart beat!

I can’t wait for my next birthday because I think I know what I want.

I want to thank the guys for all their help and making this a day to remember. Phil for his instructions and tuition and making sure I was safe comfortable and enjoying myself. ED for getting me sorted, loading me in the van, getting me out the van and just making sure I was good to go at all time. And, Tudor for driving up and down the uplifts all day so it was simply fun fun fun and very little effort on my part.

All in all if I was going to rate this out of 5 it would hit a massive 10 get on this people! YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT

Clay Shooting #challenge2015


Where do I start with Clay shooting…

Clay shooting is an amazing sport. It dont matter if you are able bodied or not. You don’t even need to be any good you just need to be willing to have a go. I took part for two reasons:

first off it was a friends birthday, and what a great way to spend the day. Breakfast a bit of Clay shooting and then off to the pub for a few pints and a meal sounds perfect. No matter how you look at it fun is always a great day.

The other reason was to complete my march challenge. In fact #challenge2015 was designed as a great motivation to get out and have a go, today i did just that.

i had my concerns

For me this was something I was very worried about. I didn’t know how I was going to cope with the recoil. How I would handle a gun sat down. However I have used a gun before, so there was a bit of pride I had to swallow as I knew I was not going to be much good. I didn’t want to embarrass myself, but I decided that I was going to do it and so off I went.

The day

We got to the clay shooting location and the nerves started to kick in I made light heart of it but deep down I was terrified.

11083610_10153332492877868_7965709256506801747_nThey where very real I had fears of coming out of my chair and embarrassing myself or worst the recoil caused me to drop the gun. Once I had the gun in my hands it all seemed to come back to me. I noticed straight away that I felt more planted sat down. infact I felt I had less to worry about not using my legs. Even noticed that holding the gun was very comfortable.

As it turned out I did ok. I don’t know how hard the clay shooting was in comparison to more advance shoots. For me I held my own and was very happy with the fact that I did not take my first shot and hurt myself.

Finally

The day all in all was great. I would recommend this to anyone. Its a great way to spend a day and if there is a group of you all the better. I was on two minds to do this. Had real concerns, I pushed myself to do it and I am glad I did.

I  think if it had not been for #challenge2015 and it being a friends birthday I may have been more likely to shy away. Now I know that would have been a terrible mistake.

I cant wait to go again. This is a great example of getting out there. Seeing how you do and then shocking yourself at the fact that your fears where easily overcome.

Handcycle Marathon #challenge2015

Why this?

Handcycle Marathon? what was I thinking! but it was all for a very goo reason.

Before the days of being confined to a wheelchair I used to help out as a volunteer. I used to work with young people at a  local youth theatre company called WAWWA.

I had the pleasure of working with some amazing young people in my time there. Not to mention the chances i had to work the stage on some fantastic shows.

The problem with young people are they are addictive. If you are willing to open your mind they will teach you more than you can ever wish to teach them. That is exactly why I loved them all so very much.

One girl really stands out in my mind. Tash, a great kid and a wonderful family of whom I was and still am very dear of.  One day the phone rang and I was presented with the worst news imaginable……………

On February the 14th, a day I will never forget. Tash was taken from us. She died from Toxic Shock Syndrome, this is not common and the symptoms can if known be very clear, Unfortunately for Tash these where missed, Her family like millians of others simply did not know what they where.

Since Tash’s death her family have campaigned to make sure as many people as possible are aware that Toxic Shock Syndrome exists. TSS aware was set up to inform others of the symptoms. Hopefully lives have been saved.

the challenge

My Next Challenge is aimed at raising awareness. To do this I decided that a very fitting challenge should start at point that has meaning. For me there was nowhere more suiting than where it all started,  WAWWA rehearsal room. It just had to be that place.

I decided that as my life has changed so much since being in a wheelchair,  I wanted to do something that would show a real challenge to me. Something that would raise awareness, make people want to know what I was doing and why I was doing it. So I decided on a push maybe a marathon or something like that but I didn’t want to get swallowed up in the crowd. The plan I wanted was to make it stand out.  The best way I could was over a distance. So I really wanted to start at WAWWA. that was the first bit sorted.

After much deliberation I decided I would take myself on a journey.  All I need was to decide we I would end it. Then it came to me! It would end  in the very place a young angel stepped into heaven. The very place we all stopped and  celebrated the great life of such an amazing young lady. The lovely St Priory Church in Chepstow. Where Tash’s funeral was held.

planning and PREPARATION

Planning began. The route has been decided. Distance? 21.6 miles. Taking on long roads, up steep hills and also back down again.

I had a support vehicle to follow me. My wheels was a quickie handcycle. Up until I completed this I had not cleared anything close to this distance. The whole thing was completed using only my hands as the source of power.

I was nervous, as i always am before a challenge. However I couldn’t wait to hit the roads for another milestone challenge. Joined by a great team and for a great cause.

the ride itself

The ride itself was hard. I can lie it rained hard the whole way. Within 10 meters in I was soaked through. It also stayed that way till the end. We battled the wet and the cold. The hills where long and tiring, the last hill of all nearly broke me.

With the support of those around me I battled on till the finish. With one of the team being seriously affected by the cold, we needed to get her off the bike and in the warm. The bike was loaded up into the car and the challenge continued. One thing I have learnt is there is no point putting yourself at risk.

Then another of the team got a puncher and suddenly the spare bike came into its own. So a quick swap and we where back on, finally the last hill and then down to the finish line freezing cold and soaked through. The feeling was immense and the challenge was complete.

What a day. What an experience. And best of all we hit the news so loads of coverage. Awareness was what this challenge was about. So a successful day in the end.

WCMX #challenge15

WCMX was recently unheard of here in the UK. Made famous by Aaron “WHEELZ” Fotheringham.. Even though in recent years this sport has now really started to build in popularity in the U.K it is still very new very young.  I think I could be one of the first people here in the UK to pick this sport. I don’t think it will stay that way for long. However in the U.S.A its very different  story.

Steven Jacobo, another USA star competes in this sport to a high standard. As well  as successfully becoming sponsored by companies like high-five and Box wheelchairs. For me this was something I always wanted to at least try.

After having been given a Quickie XTR frame with a rock shock fitted to the rear axle my project had begun. With the addition of  some new rear wheels. A set of scooter casters. Some tidy straps and a no fear approach I was ready to hit the ramps.

Once I bought the right body protection I headed to RampWorld Cardiff and with a bit of time from Jason (the owner) I was good to go.

Attempting WCMX was the first part of my 12 challenges. I will be completing a new challenge each month of 2015 to show that all you need to do is look outside the box. I am very glad I have given WCMX a go. Really looking forward to hitting the ramps and learning new skills and getting better as I go.