Crawley handcyclist takes on English coastline challenge

Race for the disabled raising funds for Aspire and funds for five Hand-cycles for the young disabled children in Crawley. Rob Groves. SR1510956. Pic Steve Robards SUS-150526-120626001
Race for the disabled raising funds for Aspire and funds for five Hand-cycles for the young disabled children in Crawley. Rob Groves. SR1510956. Pic Steve Robards SUS-150526-120626001

A Crawley man is getting ready for his latest charity challenge to become the first handcyclist to cycle the 2,500 mile coastline on England.

Rob Groves was left part paralysed from the waist down after a traumatic accident in 2007 aged just 50.

Instead of letting life in a wheelchair get the better of him he embarked on a mission to help change the lives of people in similar circumstances.

Among his fundraising feats are handcycling from London to Brighton and from Scotland to London.

Over ten years he has raised tens of thousands of pounds for charity to help young disabled cyclists.

This year’s 33-day challenge, will cover 2,500 miles and raise funds for Hand Cycling South UK. He had hoped it would be even longer.

Rob said: “I had a shoulder injury last year and had an operation on it before Christmas. I wanted to do 5,000 miles, but the doctors have said that would be too much for my shoulder and would result in permanent damage.

“They are going to do another operation a month before the event to help me complete it. I have been through enough that I am sure I will get through this one.”

His aim is always to change perceptions of disabled people and the event will end in Downing Street where he will meet David Cameron.

He said: “Young people need to know there are the opportunities out there and you can be part of society and be independent.”

He added: “Someone once said to me, ‘disability is a state of mind not a state of body.’

“That’s a notion that relates to us all, regardless of whether we have a physical disability or not. Our own mind is our biggest obstacle to living and achieving our wildest aspirations.”

He also wants work with schools to raise awareness importance of looking after the world’s oceans.

“I’d like to get every single school in Crawley involved. Halfords have given us a £280 special addition bike as a prize and we also have had a camera donated. They can take part (cycling), but also take a photo of me on my travels and upload it to a website. They can then win the bike or the camera. We will do a live stream.”

Get involved by emailing him on robertgroves777@msn.com or go to his Facebook page www.facebook.com/raceforthedisabled