On 21st July 2022, 37 cyclists including five handcyclists are riding 300 miles from London to Paris to raise funds for Back Up, the UK charity dedicated to supporting people affected by spinal cord injury reach their full potential. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the first handcycling team to complete Back Up’s #NoLimits London to Paris ride. Starting at Hampton Court and ending at the Eiffel Tower, the riders will climb a total of 15,000 feet over three days and end in Paris the day before the Tour de France final stage.
In 2012, Back Up trustee Danny Turnbull, alongside two other handcyclists, were the first to complete the #NoLimits London to Paris ride. Their aim was to was prove what was possible after becoming paralysed following a spinal cord injury. This year, two of the handcyclists who took part in the original team, Alan Cook and Luke Delahunty, will ride again. Claire Danson, former European Triathlon champion, will also become the first woman to handcycle the ride. All 37 riders will be riding in memory of Danny Turnbull, who died from cancer in 2017.
“One of Back Up’s values is embracing challenge – by doing so we show all that is possible after spinal cord injury,” said Abigail Lock, CEO of Back Up. “Back Up’s iconic #NoLimits London to Paris ride not only provides bucket loads of challenge but it allows handcyclists and cyclists to complete this iconic ride together. This amazing fundraising challenge, in memory of our former trustee Danny Turnbull, raises vital funds for our work supporting people to positively adjust after spinal cord injury. I wish the team of cyclists and handcyclists bonne chance!”
Andy, based in South East London, first met Back Up after he sustaining his spinal cord injury in 2008, and attended a wheelchair skills session ran by the charity. He’s handcycling from London to Paris to support others who have been affected by spinal cord injury.
“Back Up is a charity very close to my heart,” said Andy Adamson. “The #NoLimits London to Paris ride is an opportunity to help support people who have been through a life changing injury and really make a difference to people who’ve had a hard time. I knew Danny Turnbull personally, so riding in his memory is an honour. I also want to prove to myself that my fitness has continued to improve and hopefully I’ll be able to smash this challenge!”
The principle difference between bicycles and handcycles is riders pedal a handcycle using their hands, arms and upper body instead of their legs and feet. For many, handcycling provides individuals with a sense of freedom and independence. Handcycling requires a high-level of upper body strength. The handcyclists taking part this year will have completed over six months of intense training.