Handcycling paralympians take on cyclists in K2 Crawley challenge

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A Crawley man saw his dream come true when handcycling paralympians raced a Crawley cycling group at the K2 leisure centre.

About 150 people attended former publican and bodybuilder Rob Groves’ event on Sunday (September 27) to show the seven handcycles he received on the ITV hit show Surprise Surprise.

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Rob, 59, has raised more than £10,000 since he decided to set up a Crawley handcycling club to inspire young disabled people two years ago.

Rob, of Town Mead, West Green, ran the Old Punch Bowl pub and was a former bodybuilder before he was paralysed from the waist down in an accident nine years ago.

His action star hero, Arnold Swarzenegger said Rob was the ‘true Terminator’ for the epic handcycling charity rides he had done when he was the star of Surprise Surprise in July.

He said of going cycling with his family: “You’re disability is gone because you have that independence and your family follows you, instead of you following your family.

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“It makes me feel normal again, you don’t feel disabled any more.”

The ITV show saw him receive seven handcycles, worth £30,000, for his youth club from Sunrise Medical UK.

Children with disabilities, Crawley MP Henry Smith, Councillor Chris Oxlade, the Mayor of Crawley, Cllr Chris Cheshire, who uses a wheelchair, and the Crawley Wheelers cycling club attended the event.

The paralympians challenged the Crawley Wheelers to a ten lap race round the centre’s track after teaching children how to ride the bikes. They won by a lap having started with a three lap advantage.

Rob said: “I’ve never seen so many smiling faces on the day.

“It was the first time ever able bodied and handcylists have raced together.”

Rob said Chris Cheshire was keen on the bikes and helping him set the club up in Crawley in November.

The wheelchair manufacturer Sunrise Medical UK is to cover the costs of repairs to the bikes.

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