This summer 60-year-old Robert Groves from Crawley will be embarking on an extraordinary 33 day charity hand-cycle of the UK coastline, covering 2,500 miles of England’s coastline to raise money for Hand-Cycling in Crawley. Robert, who starts his challenge on 31 July, has been in training for months at The Gym Crawley ahead of his challenge. Starting at Brighton Pier, Rob is due to finish in London on 1st September where he will be greeted by David Cameron at Number 10 Downing Street.
A self-confessed fitness fanatic, Robert was injured in an accident nine years ago that resulted in a slipped disc crushing his spinal cord. This caused severe nerve damage, leaving him paralysed from the waist down and forcing him to come to terms with a whole new way of life. Training for this event has been years in the making with four training sessions per week at The Gym Crawley with the help of General Manager Barry Thompson and Personal Trainer, Gavin Smith.
Robert comments: “Before my accident I was a keen body builder and cyclist at the peak of physical condition. I had my own health club in the Midlands and used to cycle 10 miles every day. Since the accident I chose to fight preconceived ideas of what was possible for someone who could feel nothing below their waist. I’ve been determined to raise money to help others, especially those who may go through something as I did.”
Robert is raising money for Hand-Cycling in Crawley - an inspiring non-profit club that gives hope to individuals with physical disabilities by showing them what is possible. The club provides support, mentoring, grants for adaptive sports equipment and competition and training expenses.
Robert continues: “My aim is to demonstrate what disabled hand cyclists can do, and by meeting Mr Cameron I hope to raise awareness of hand cycling as a sport in the lead up to this year’s Rio Paralympics. My dream is to open a club for young disabled cyclists and train the next Paralympians.”
Speaking of the challenge itself, Robert comments: “The toughest part will be the hills and the terrain as I’m only using my arms to cycle but my training has prepared me and got me into the best shape I could be. Training at The Gym Crawley and the support of their team given me the confidence to complete this challenge. The motivation from the team has been immense.”
Barry Thomson, General Manager at The Gym Crawley, comments: “It’s amazing all the hard work and hours of training Robert has put in to take part in such an incredible challenge to raise money for others. His commitment and positive attitude is an inspiration to us all and we wish him all the luck and support in the world for this event. We will be following his progress and cheering him on throughout his journey.”