A Crawley disabled man is gearing up for a 2,500 mile hand-cycle challenge along the coast – the first of its kind.
Rob Groves, 62, who has lived in Crawley for 25 years, is taking on the gruelling challenge in July and hopes to raise up to £15,000 for four charities.
He is now calling for the people of Crawley’s support.
He said: “I am excited and nervous at the same time. Having the right mental state is important all the time, to get the most out of every hour and every day.
“I will be chasing my dream of saving our oceans, not just riding my hand-cycle but to carry a message around the UK of the importance of climate change and pollution in our oceans.
“I feel more prepared physically and mentally than I had previously in my last two events. Training for this event has been the hardest I have ever put my body through.
“It is important to show that even with a disability that your life does not have to stop. So part of this challenge is to show what can be achieved disabled or able if you put your mind to it.”
Rob, who suffered a spinal injury ten years ago, is no stranger to a challenge or being in the limelight, having previously hand-cycled from London to Brighton, and Scotland to London for Children in Need, along with appearing on ITV’s Surprise Surprise.
Starting on Brighton seafront, Rob plans to cover the 2,500 miles in 27 days, averaging 85 miles per day.
Along the way he hopes to gather 100,000 signatures from people in support of saving the oceans, and to ask for more education in schools.
He will hand the petition in at 10 Downing Street on July 28 at the finish line, organised by supporter MP Henry Smith.
Many businesses are supporting Rob on his challenge, including the Crawley Wheelers, Halfords, Morrisons, The Gym Group and Sainsbury’s.
Simon Lang from the Crawley Wheelers said: “It’s amazing all the hard work and hours of training Rob has put in to take part in such an incredible challenge to raise awareness of climate change and pollution in our oceans also raising funds 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.
“The Crawley Wheelers will be following his progress and cheering him on throughout his journey.”
Neil Glinon, general manager at Halfords, said: “Some people when faced with a physical disability might say ‘fine I’m going to focus on something non-physical’ – not Rob Groves – an obsessive hand-cyclist.
“Rob is part of the ‘superhuman’ race – his strength and courage, and fighting spirits that transforms a challenge into success.
“It’s an honour to support Rob again this year in his challenge. All at Halfords nation wide support him every step of the way.”
Matt Hawkey, Georgina Innes and Anna leigh from Morrisons, said: “It’s an honour to support Rob in this challenge and bringing attention to the pollution in our oceans.
“Since Morrison’s brought in the 5p charge for plastic carrier bags we have seen a reduction of the use of these carrier bags by the millions and we continue to find better ways of packaging our goods.”
Rob has even had support from the likes of Prince Harry and Prince Charles.
His biggest supporter – his daughter Emily, 19, will be travelling behind him in a medical vehicle and will be streaming his journey on social media sites.
To sponsor Rob and to donate to his chosen four charities: Cycling Projects, Sea Shepherd, Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) and Dolphin Project, click here.
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