Anyone doubting the positive effects cycling can have, need look no further than 42 year old, Ashley Stubbings from Mansfield Woodhouse.
Despite being born with Spina Bifida, Ashley has always dealt head-on with the mobility issues that come with such a condition, but has never been able to realise one of his dreams - to ride a bike.
In 2011, Ashley attended the British Cycling Show to see what was available with regards to cycling solutions for people with restricted leg movement. He explained: "I went to the event with an open mind and met Martin Griffiths of Quest 88 for the first time, who introduced me to the world of handcycles. After testing several models I knew the Excelerator upright handcycle was the one for me, and all I had to do now was save up the money to buy one!"
This is where Ashley's story really takes off. Ashley decided - as many do these days - to put a post on Facebook, telling people he had seen this amazing handcycle and was determined to save over the next 12 to 18 months to buy one, so he could turn his dream into a reality. Several months later Ashley took a call that literally took his breath away, as he explained. "It was from a guy called David Rogers who I had not seen since secondary school and he said if I could raise £1000, he would match it!" Within a few weeks Ashley received a call from a second friend asking how much he still needed to raise - and days later received a cheque for £800!"
What should have taken up to 18 months had been accomplished in a matter of weeks and Ashley contacted Quest 88 to order his handcycle. Since its delivery, the handcycle has completely changed Ashley's life, both physically and mentally. Ashley was aware he needed to lose weight and had tried various forms of exercise including weights, gym work and swimming, all to no avail. However, within weeks of getting on his handcycle the weight was coming off and to date he has lost almost 3 stone. Not only does Ashley go for bikes rides on his own, but he also rides with his wife and children.
The handcycle has also helped Ashley from a mental health perspective, as his wife Jess explained: "Ashley has suffered from depression over the years, but since being able to go out on his bike, this has greatly improved. It may be a cliché but Quest 88 and the handcycle have literally changed not only Ashley's life, but all of ours and I cannot thank Quest 88 enough for all their help and support.
Ashley's Topend Excelerator Handcycle is ideal for people with little or no leg muscle movement. Stable, easy to manoeuvre and sufficiently lightweight to transfer in and out of car boots. The smooth Shimano shifter allows the rider to tackle hills or level terrains with equal ease and the seven-speed Shimano hub, with reverse braking, means hands never have to leave the pedals.
The Excelerator features a simple fore-aft sliding seat and footrest system, both of which are fully adjustable. It also features a straightforward crank height adjustment with a fully adjustable chain tension idler, to avoid adding or removing chain links. Optional Top End V cranks can provide even more power and clearance, and with a weight capacity of 158kg, the Excelerator is perfect for anyone who wants to ride it.
A final word from Ashley: "It is hard to put into words what a difference the handcycle has made to my life and that of my family. If you are in a similar situation I would urge you to contact the team at Quest 88 as they have a cycling solution suitable for almost every level of disability - and they are also incredibly nice people".
For more information on the range of inclusive cycling solutions available from Quest 88 please call 01743 363512, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: www.quest88.com/all-ability-cycling