Disabled residents at Cheltenham care home complete virtual John O’Groats bike ride


Disabled residents at a Cheltenham care home have completed a virtual cycling challenge under lockdown, riding the length of Britain from Land’s End to John O’Groats.

A team of residents and staff from charity Leonard Cheshire’s Gloucestershire House completed the 1673km ride from the Cornish coast to north-east Scotland – the longest distance between two inhabited points in Britain.

Leonard Cheshire explained how the lockdown would did not deter people’s determination to exercise safely indoors as they crossed the finish line on Easter weekend.

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Dave Evans, 57, who lives at Gloucestershire House and uses a powerchair, began the LEJOG challenge in January to continue his weight loss programme after losing an impressive three stone.

Evans and his friends completed the first miles outdoors thanks to the charity’s Gloucestershire Wheels for All scheme.

Mid-March saw the team switch to static bikes in the home’s brand-new gym. 

Evans commented: “I’m delighted for everyone who got behind this challenge. I loved it, and so did all the riders. It brought a smile to everyone’s faces and boosted morale. The timing of the lockdown has meant that the fundraising aspect of the challenge has taken a big hit. Our Justgiving page is still open.”

In a team with many full-time wheelchair users who have a wide range of disabilities, Evans helped many others feel the benefits of cycling and exercise.

The challenge also helped keep spirits raised while the nation faces testing times.

Gloucestershire House supports up to 36 disabled adults and the home in the Leckhampton area of Cheltenham recently received a rating of ‘outstanding’ from the CQC.

MaryClare Faulkner, project lead at Leonard Cheshire’s Wheels for All Gloucestershire Wheels for All scheme, said: “The challenge is a brilliant idea from Dave and a great achievement for everyone. It was really enjoyable from start to finish. Huge congratulations to everyone involve.”

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Alex Douglas

The author Alex Douglas

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