Hand Cyclists summit Cadair Idris

On 20th April 2013, four disabled riders and their support crews set out to scale Cadair Idris, one of the tallest mountains in Southern Snowdonia, using specially designed mountain bikes. The bikes, which are pedalled by hand rather than by foot, have especially low gears which are essential on the steep and rocky upper slopes of the mountain, and the support crews used sand-ladders to provide traction over the most rocky sections of the trail.

Karen Darke and her team at the summit.

Karen Darke and her team at the summit.

The teams set out at first light, and Paralympian Karen Darke’s team was the first to summit, taking about 6 hours to make the gruelling ascent, with Adrian Disney’s team following on about an hour later. To the best of our knowledge, Karen is the first hand-cyclist to have reached the summit of Cadair but as it happened Adrian was the first to ride down. The other riders, Keith Robinson and Paul Robinson both exceeded their personal goals, reaching the 560 m contour, and the pillow lava below the summit cone respectively. The ride down in the afternoon sunshine was everyone’s prize for the effort.

The ride was coordinated by ‘Challenge your Boundaries’ an adaptive MTB project based at the Coed y Brenin Trail centre near Dolgellau. A tired but happy Graham O’Hanlon, who coordinated the ride, was extremely happy with the day “The weather was fantastic, and this spurred on the riders to great things. Two riders at the summit was a brilliant outcome. This has been a massively rewarding day for everyone involved.

“The whole project has had great support from the local outdoor community, and we really couldn’t have done it without them. It turned out to be a real multi-agency event with members of two mountain rescue teams, two RNLI lifeboat crews, the RAF, the Police and theSnowdonia National Park volunteering on the day. Thank you all.”

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Rider Paul had this to say. “I am completely humbled by the selfless enthusiasm of the support team some of the most inspirational and motivated people I have ever met. It was truly an honour to meet you all. I haven’t been on a mountain in over 15 years since my accident in 1997. It was an emotional experience and cannot express my gratitude enough.”

The aim of the challenge is to raise the profile of adaptive mountain biking within the UK and to raise funds for a number of associated projects and local charities. To date we have raised over two thousand ponds for Aberdyfi Search and Rescue Team, Walking with the Wounded, Challenge your Boundaries, and Mawddach Rotary Club.

You can follow our progress at www.facebook.com/challengeyourboundaries and you can help us by donating online at www.justgiving.com/Graham-O-Hanlon.

Contact us on info@snowbikers.com or call us on 01341 430628 for further information.

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