In 1988, David invested his time into cycling after early retirement and he soon became fully committed to solo road riding. Meticulous records were kept of distances covered and routes followed, but in 2008, there was a serious accident. David ran into a pothole in Derbyshire and was thrown off breaking his hip. With the support of his wife, he was determined to build himself up again by focusing on cycling.
During 2012, he had managed to ride over 5000 miles by Christmas but then disaster struck once again when soon after his 75th birthday he suffered a severe stroke and pneumonia. The consultant noted his above average level of fitness but David’s prognosis was very poor.
He had lost all his speech, was considerably weakened down his right side and severely affected by bouts of excessive fatigue that came on with very little warning. Despite this, David did not give up! He was in the Stroke Unit at Rotherham Hospital for eight weeks receiving physiotherapy and occupational therapy. David went from standing for a few moments without support to walking with a Zimmer frame within no time.
On hearing that David had previously been a keen cyclist, the therapist casually mentioned the Sheffield Cycling 4 All (SC4A) project at Hillsborough and that another of her stroke patients had made good progress on the scheme. Although hesitant, on July 11th 2013, David put on his bright yellow cycling jersey and socks and had an initial session at Hillsborough with the adapted bikes. The look of pride and achievement on his face was one that his wife will never forget!
David had decided that he wanted to get a suitable machine of his own and he was impressed by the range of modifications that were available in specialist shops. David ordered a bike and received it shortly after Christmas. His first ride covered a mile and a half in Rotherham’s Clifton Park. As a result of the adapted bikes, David can now spend quality time with his three youngest grandchildren and cycles once a week at Hillsborough with SC4A and also employs a companion to ride with him at other times during the week.
Put simply, SC4A has been an unbelievably positive influence for David. It provided the “spark” that allowed him to realise that once again, he could experience the “wind in his hair” and some of the freedom that cycling can bring to his now rather restricted world. SC4A gave him hope to persevere at a time when many of the things he valued most in his life appeared to have been taken away from him by the stroke. This would not have been possible without the support of Steve Marsden and the volunteers who continue to provide positive life changing experiences for many others.
Article composed by Sue (David’s loving wife).