Saturday, March 25, 2006
oh... the one thing i should have said... can't get used to this order thing...
my (very) recent interest or should i say re-awakening to the wonders of cycling, was down to a sponsored trip to cuba in aid of the back up trust (www.backuptrust.org). i was expected to ride 400km from havana to trinidad, so thought i better get some miles under my belt first.
i've got a bit of a soft spot for back-up due to the amazing help they gave my best mate after he had a fall, broke some vertebrae and ended up in a wheelchair... sounds too simple that doesn't it? sadly it is... he's an inspiration, and i credit some of that to backup who played a part in his amazing recovery and positive outlook on life.
so... the plan was... 4 ABs (able bodied, that's me and yes, i had to ask what it ment) and 7 wheelchair users fly out to havana have a day there and then get on with it. sounds simple enough, but with cuban accessibility meaning only two flights of stairs to your bedroom (easy for me, not so easy when you rely on wheels) the trip quickly became more than just the ride.
everyone who came along inspired me in some way, though i have to pick out brod, for impressing me with his mileage (especially considering he'd done approx. 2 miles in training) and jason (the guy in the picture), a paralympian and all round nice fella, for helping me use up all of that energy i had left with some fartlek.
in the end, we didn't cover as many miles as we hoped, the cuban roads (and hills...) made tough work for someone using a handbike (front wheel drive... powered by your upper arms... jeez...)... but it was one of the most amazing things i've ever done.
if you do decide to ride cuba, there are a few things i'd recommend, buy a good saddle (and leave it and anything else you can for your cycle guide, cycling socks (even dirty ones) are valued), bring pens (you'll make lots of friends) and develop a taste for rice and beans. then go with it... and enjoy the chorizo spam, it's 'interesting'
p.s. that's a pic of me in a handbike. i managed 10 metres before my arms felt as if they'd come out of their sockets.