The annual CyclePower Tour is on again!
In 2011, it was Vietnam where a group of athletes with disabilities and their supporters rode from Hanoi to Ho Chi Ming City. Then in 2012, the challenge was from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh in Cambodia. This month, the CyclePower tour takes on Fiji with a demanding 550km ride around the main island of Viti Levu.
Sport and recreational options
Each year Disability Sport and Recreation (DSR) organise this fantastic cycling tour. The ride raises funds for sport and recreation options for those with disabilities, both here in Australia and also in underprivileged or third world countries. Over the past few years, the response both here and abroad has been described as 'overwhelming and amazing'. The CyclePower adventure continues to showcase to others what can be achieved despite disability.
Daring challenge by hand cycle
Several participants ride by hand cycle. This is a type of arm-powered bike that reclines close to the ground. It is favoured by those with mobility challenges.
The tour is also a daring challenge of long distance riding, encouraging the participants to overcome many of their own personal barriers.
Not a skip around the park
One such participant is Peter Hyden. Eighteen months ago, Peter's motorbike collided with a car, leaving him with paraplegia. But ever since DSR loaned him a hand cycle, it's been game on.
This is Peter's first CyclePower tour. And around the country town of Rochester, you will see Peter and his wife, Meran training for the ride.
Though Peter and Meran have holidayed in Fiji before, they know this journey is going to be very, very different.
There's not a lot of challenge involved in sitting around the pool and soaking up the sun. But things were a bit different then. I know we will be seeing a different side to Fiji on this trip. It's certainly not going to be a skip around the park.
Learning from others
Nevertheless, Peter is looking forward to what he is about to learn on the challenge.
You don't really have a lot of access to others with disabilities in a country town and I'm really excited about being exposed to different ways of doing things and how it can make it easier for me.
Living in the country also has its advantages. Peter says the backing shown by the people of Rochester has been amazing.
We live in a very good community and there has been no hesitation in the generosity of the locals. We have been truly humbled by their support.
First time for Alex
Alex and Warrick Grime, an Edithvale daughter and father team are also joining the tour. Warrick completed both the Vietnam and Cambodian challenge. However, this is the first time in the event for his daughter, Alex.
Alex, who was born with Spina Bifida, also rides a hand-cycle. Although hesitant in the beginning, Alex is now able to ride 70 km in a training session. She also practices on rollers at home. She is now looking forward to the challenge.
The pair have a definite competitive streak and Warrick says,
We will both push each other on the ride to see who will be the fastest up the hill and get to the other side first.
Looking forward to the challenge
This is Alex's first time overseas. She is excited about experiencing a new culture and helping others less fortunate than herself. Where once she felt hesitant, she is now looking forward to the physical challenge.
Alex and Warrick have also found family, friends and the community extremely supportive.
There are many benefits from sport and recreation: learning from others, pushing through barriers, personal achievement, setting an example and at the same time helping others who are less fortunate. With past tours having showcased all these things, CyclePower Fiji aims to do likewise.
DiVine applaud all those participating in the CyclePower tour of Fiji and our best wishes ride with them.
Further information on CyclePower Fiji:
CyclePower Fiji: http://cyclepower.org.au/
Disability Sport and Recreation: http://www.dsr.org.au/cyclepower.aspx
Raw Travel: http://rawtravel.com/trip/cyclepower_fiji_2013