On the first weekend of November there was a flurry of unusual activity and strange bikes to be seen around the Forestry Commission Wales Coed y Brenin Trail Centre in Southern Snowdonia, as the ‘Hand-Bikes at Dawn’ Team undertook training for their attempt to ride up Cadair Idris next April.On 20th April 2013, a small group of disabled riders will attempt to scale Cadair Idris, one of the tallest mountains in Snowdonia, using specially designed mountain bikes. The bikes, which are pedalled by hand rather than by foot, have especially low gears which will be essential on the steep and rocky upper slopes of the mountain. The 10 hour attempt to scale the mountain on April 20th will involve 878 m of climb over a 16 km journey, and will require endurance and skill to complete. The event will raise funds for the local ‘Challenge your Boundaries’ adaptive mountain bike project, along with the Aberdyfi Search and Rescue Team, the Royal British Legion, and the Mawddach Rotary Club.
“There were two overlapping events over the last weekend” said project co-ordinator, Graham O’Hanlon. “Our second annual ‘Leading Adaptive Mountain Bikers’ (LAMB) course took place over the 2nd and 3rd of November, and the last of our free “Momentum Ride 2012” series was held on the 4th.”
The LAMB course objective was to provide existing mountain bike leaders with the confidence and background information to include adaptive riders within their groups.” said Graham. “We were lucky to be able to secure a subsidy on the course cost through the Snowdonia National Park Cae fund, which made the course accessible to a wider range of leaders. Qualified and experienced leaders will play a core role in ‘Hand-Bikes at Dawn’, providing safety and mechanical support to the riders.” The training also serves to accredit leaders so that they can access the ‘Challenge your Boundaries’ equipment at Coed y Brenin.
“One of the feedbacks from last years course was that leaders wanted more practical experience with adaptive riders, so this year we arranged the last of our free “Momentum Ride 2012” for the following day” added Graham.
A number of the ‘Hand-Bikes at Dawn’ adaptive bikers attended the Momentum Ride, and the focus of the day was looking at ways to tackle the big obstacles that will be encountered on Cadair Idris. A series of obstacles were mocked up on the car-park, and leaders and riders explored strategies for getting the bikes over. The group then headed off into the forest park to work on bigger and more naturalistic examples.
“We had a really useful day, and have come up with some good strategies for negotiating the big stone slabs on our way up the mountain” concluded Graham. “I think everyone, riders and support team alike, has a much clearer idea of the scale of task we will be undertaking.”
A little help on the steep climbs...
The Challenge your Boundaries Project is being led by Graham and Jacky O’Hanlon:
Tel. 01341 430628 info@SnowBikers.com
The event is being co-ordinated by Graham O’Hanlon, who is project lead for Challenge your Boundaries and also co-owner of SnowBikers, a mountain bike skills and leadership training business.
Challenge your Boundaries is a local community project, based at the nearby Coed y Brenin mountain bike trail centre, who provide equipment, coaching leadership and leadership training to enable a wider range of riders to hit the trails. The project has organised a series of events throughout 2012 to help boost grass-roots participation in adaptive cycling in general, and mountain biking in particular . The series, called Momentum Rides 2012, was awarded the Inspire Mark by London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games.
Challenge your Boundaries is on Facebook.
More information about adaptive mountain biking can be found here: