Hell On A Handbike?

Thalidomider hits the road on his hand bike in July to raise money for charity

On 12 July 2019 cyclist Andrew Paddison will be taking to the roads on his hand bike to raise money for charity and show the world that the impact of thalidomide shouldn’t hold anyone back.

The adventurous rider is covering the 980 miles between Lands End and John o’ Groats in thirteen days, a challenge some might deem impossible for a person with shortened arms, without elbows or radii, and a prosthetic leg.

Paddisons’s disabilities mean that he has to be helped on and off his bike by an assistant, and has had to make some ingenious adaptations to its power assist mechanism.

Unlike conventional electric bikes with a hub motor on the front, powered by a simple switch on the handlebars, his bionic system relies on a torque sensor to increase and decrease the power.

Two cranks, positioned side by side on the front of the bike have to be turned 360 degrees with the rider doing half a revolution before the torque sensor fires up the power. The cranks must run in parallel and never run offset to avoid damage to the rider from a twisted back.

“I could have installed a switch-powered motor,” explains Paddison, “but where’s the effort in that? I wanted this to be a proper challenge, especially as I’m raising money for cancer charities.”

Andrew PaddisonPaddison is no stranger to effort – his heavy duty training schedule has seen him build up to 28 miles a day so far, with the aim of reaching closer to 80 as the challenge gets closer.

“We’re going to be doing 70 to 80 miles a day,” he explains “going up to between 90 and 92 when we hit Scotland. Speed will be important, too, and I’m doing regular time trials as part of the training.”

The former local authority Planning executive will not lack support on his journey. A team of local cyclists will be with him all the way to keep up his morale and Road Cycling company Mellow Jersey are behind the logistics of the trip – including the provision of mechanical and ride support. Not one to leave anything to chance, Paddison is also building a back-up bike, just in case:-
“I’m more concerned with the bike letting me down than I am about my body coping with the challenge” he comments “Devon and Cornwall will be immensely hard going and will really test the power assist I’ve put in place.”


Bloodwise logoProstate Cancer Logomacmillan cancer logo

About Andrew’s chosen charities


Andrew’s chosen charities are:
Macmillan Cancer Support – www.macmillan.org.uk
Prostate Cancer UK – www.prostatecanceruk.org
Bloodwise    www.bloodwise.org.uk
Visit their websites to find out more about their work.

Richard Pugh, Head of Services for Macmillan Cancer Support in Wales said:

“We can’t thank Andrew enough for taking on such an awe-inspiring and demanding challenge.  Without fundraisers like Andrew we simply would not be able to do what we do.

At Macmillan we aim to provide physical, emotional and practical support to help people with cancer to live life as fully as they can.  Every penny needed to pay for that comes from the generosity of our fundraisers.

We know this will be a testing challenge, so from everyone at Macmillan we’d like to say a huge thank you to Andrew for every single mile of his journey from Lands End to John O’Groats.”

For information on Macmillan Cancer Support call 0808 808 00 00 or visit www.macmillan.org.uk

Mellow Jersey LogoAbout Mellow Jersey

Mellow Jersey was formed out of a love for cycling and the realisation that life is generally better on two wheels meeting other like-minded people and helping them achieve their cycling aspirations. They specialise in cycling tours, corporate and charity events, training camps, point to point cycling challenges and European sportive packages. Whatever your goals are, they’ll help you get there, taking care of all the logistics and making sure you have plenty of fun along the way.

For more information visit www.mellowjersey.co.uk