Seven years ago, Lindsay had a motorbike accident. “It happened at a roundabout at 20mph - I didn’t think it could happen like that. I broke my back, leaving me paralysed from the chest down. I was 31, in the army reserves and pushing my body hard. I was in my prime. I’d always done a lot of running, circuit training and going to the gym,” Lindsay explains.
After her accident, Lindsay got in touch with Terry from Wessex Accessible Cycling Club and found that cycling with people who had been injured a lot longer ago than her really helped.
“My first ride was up at Poole Park cycling track. I recall it being freezing cold - my eyes were streaming and I had a bright red nose. But I had fun anyway!”
Lindsay was hooked. “It was a good feeling going round the running track. It was nice to be out of the chair and physically pushing my body.”
The session gave her a taste for more and thanks to Terry’s help and encouragement, she was soon enjoying much longer rides with the club.
I thought I’d have to stick to basic dog walking and use my energy for getting dressed and showered, [but] it was a good feeling going round the running track. It was nice to be out of the chair and physically pushing my body.
Lindsay, cyclist at Wessex Accessible Cycling Club
Things changed again when shoulder problems threatened to put an end to her cycling.
“Before the surgery I’d thought about doing a wheelchair marathon. When my shoulder problem happened, I thought I’d never be able to do anything like this again. I thought I’d have to stick to basic dog walking and use my energy for getting dressed and showered.”
Determined to ride again, it took a long hard 18 months of rehabilitation and physiotherapy before she was ready to get back in the saddle.
“I wanted to see how far I could push myself. Last summer I got myself a personal trainer and I’ve been having physio and massage, too. I’ve got my strength up and I’m back on the bike,” Lindsay says.
Faster, further, stronger
With the support of the club, Lindsay has gone from riding a mile on the track to entering two long-distance cycling events. This year, she’ll be competing alongside able-bodied cyclists - the first event is 25 miles. Although it’s a massive milestone to cycle that distance, she’s not stopping there; Lindsay is also entering a 47 miler, the New Forest Rattler.
Lindsay is hooked on fitness and has made it her job, too. She’s now a qualified personal trainer and has even converted her garage to a gym. When she’s not leading sessions for her clients, she’s in the gym herself, testing her limits on the turbo trainer.
“I’d feel rubbish if I couldn’t do stuff like this. I’m still the same person as I was before. If anything I’m more determined. If you’ve got that mindset, having an accident like this doesn’t change that. You still have that in you.”
Singing the praises of the club that helped her, Lindsay suggests that anyone who wants to get more active should get in touch with their local accessible cycling club.
“Approach your local club and have a taster,” she says. “They’ll look after you and they can get rid of any fears you have. Go and enjoy yourself, try it and you might find you love it. You could spend a whole summer cycling with the club before you make your mind up and decide to take it up as a hobby.”