Get Inspired: Goz & Ross take on hand cycling
As a kid, I remember that learning to ride a hand bike was pretty easy. I would often go off with my friends, spending hours riding around in the school grounds.
So, with this in mind, I imagined riding as a grown up would be pretty straight forward.
However, my adult-self found it much more challenging than I expected, especially when I first got on the bike. I found it even harder than pushing my wheelchair on grass because I didn't have enough strength to propel the wheels to move a few meters.
After some practice cycling so I could get used to the new bike, we pedalled down the cycle trail which was a bit scary. My heart was pumping going down the steep hill, trying to control the bike as well as negotiating tight corners.
I have to confess I cheated going up the hill and got on the electric scooter, as there was no way I was going to get back to the top without a little help!
Overall I enjoyed the day and it definitely brought back the memories of riding as a kid. But it did make me realise that I was weaker in my arms than I thought and as a result of getting back on the bike I have started going to the gym.
The experience also reminded me that I had always wanted to cycle across America just for fun with one of my friends. But, as usual, life got in the way. After our day in Yorkshire, I'm inspired to start off locally and see what happens from there!
When we first started our series of sporting challenges way back in January, I never thought I would have so much fun and be thinking about getting back into competing. We still have other activities to try (such as dancing) and I can't wait to get stuck into them (some more than others!)
"It's like riding a bike."
I think that's supposed to mean once you've learnt how to ride a bike, you'll never forget; and after taking on the cycling challenge, I see where they're coming from. I started off a little shaky, but once I found my rhythm, it all came flooding back.
It's actually been quite a long time since I rode a bike, which is a shame because it's such an accessible form of exercise. I find getting out on the main roads a pretty daunting prospect, with cars whizzing past, traffic lights ahead, pedestrians crossing and potholes aplenty.
That said, with a lovely Yorkshire countryside backdrop, it felt very good to get back 'on my bike.' This challenge wasn't too physically demanding at the start, however by the end, I was beginning to feel a slight strain on my thighs. Surprisingly, the hardest part was remembering how to balance properly find the right posture to ride well.
I was also keen to try out the adaptive bike because I wanted to know what it felt like and whether or not it had any similarities to the cycling I was used to. The adaptive mountain bike was particularly tough, with two opposing handles; one for pushing forwards and one for changing direction. It's all about upper strength and this isn't easy when you're on uneven ground or trying to push yourself up a hill, so I certainly didn't envy Goz' experience!
I really enjoyed the freedom of cycling and having the ability to do what you what you like. Unlike the other sports we have tried, there aren't any rules or restrictions to cycling and we had complete free rein, providing we didn't crash into anything!
I have also realised that it certainly doesn't have to be about commuting to and from work in the daily rush hour; this can be something that you do for fun on a weekend and an excuse for exploring the great outdoors.
However, by the end, I didn't feel I had learnt anything new or gained new skills, so cycling isn't up there as one of my favourite challenges so far. At the moment, tennis is the front runner for me, and is the one to beat as we continue our journey to find a sport we love!
If you are interested in getting into cycling, take a look at the Get Inspired cycling activity guide for details.