I'm inspired by the Paralympic cyclists

John Thraves
John Thraves had the lower part of his leg amputated two years ago, because of complications from diabetes. After the operation he was determined to cycle again, which he has - the two wheels have been replaced by a trike. He's also just become a qualified Bikeability instructor.

“I’ve cycled since I was a lad. When it became clear that the leg had to come off, I was absolutely determined to get back on my bike. I now have problems with my balance, so I have to ride a trike. I can now ride 25 – 30 miles and being able to cycle has meant that I’ve got my independence back.

I think that the Paralympic Games 2012 are an inspiration to many – seeing all those athletes compete and achieving really amazing things despite their disability. Disabled people, like myself, want empathy, not sympathy!

John Thraves

When working as a cycling instructor, I often find that the main issue is a lack of confidence. It’s therefore mostly about persuading people that anything is possible and that can take a little time. It doesn’t happen overnight.

The CTC pilot training scheme that’s teaching instructors how to deliver Bikeability cycle training to disabled people is great news, as is including disabled people in the training programme for all abilities.

Adapted bikes and trikes are really quite expensive and remain a big barrier for people with disabilities to take up cycling, and many don’t seem to know that they can claim a VAT discount - a whole 20% - if equipment is purchased to help with a disability.

There’s definitely a lot of work ahead of us to get more people cycling, but for now: Go Team GB!"

John Thraves is part of Dorset Cyclist Network and has recently qualified as a National Standard Cycle Instructor.