Letchworth man hand-cycles from London to Paris to raise money for Aspire and Back Up after they helped him through spinal cord treatment

Fundraiser Dave Ralph with his wife Debbie before he set off.

Fundraiser Dave Ralph with his wife Debbie before he set off. - Credit: Archant

A wheelchair-bound fundraiser from Letchworth has hand-cycled from London to Paris to raise more than £1,000 for charities that helped him through his spinal cord treatment.

Fundraiser Dave Ralph and his comrades at the foot of the Eiffel Tower in Paris at the end of their

Fundraiser Dave Ralph and his comrades at the foot of the Eiffel Tower in Paris at the end of their 300k ride. - Credit: Archant

David Ralph, of Common View, took part in the London to Paris Bike Ride 2016 to support the spinal injury charities Aspire and Back Up.

The three-day 312km group ride – including four on lay-down handcycles like David – started at Crystal Palace in London and ended in Paris at the foot of the Eiffel Tower.

“It was absolutely brilliant,” said David, 56.

“I’m still buzzing about it. The first day was harder then I expected, but it turned out my new disc brakes were binding. The mechanic fixed that and then I was flying.”

Fundraiser Dave Ralph playing wheelchair rugby.

Fundraiser Dave Ralph playing wheelchair rugby. - Credit: Archant


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David owned a Letchworth garage business for 21 years until a back injury and three failed surgeries left him disabled – but the 56-year-old did not let this get him down and took up wheelchair rugby.

“If it wasn’t for the rugby, I wouldn’t be riding,” said David. “I’d be stuck in a box.

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“I didn’t have a helmet or a bike when I decided to do this, but I spoke to my three boys, Andrew, Simon and David, and they clubbed together to buy me the hand-cycle.”

Businesses that have supported David include Altro Floors, who gave generous donations to both charities, and Specsavers of Letchworth, who gave him a discounted pair of prescription cycling goggles.

Fundraiser Dave Ralph.

Fundraiser Dave Ralph. - Credit: Archant

Tri Sports of Station Road gave him a reduction on gloves and a cycling jacket, and System Restore UK gave him a battery pack for his mobile phone.

“I’d like to thank all my friends, family and others who supported me, that was a tremendous motivator,” said David.

“My wife put up with a lot of rubbish and she’s just encouraged me through it all. You’ve just got to go on and do it. I say adapt and overcome.”

For more or to donate to David’s cause, see uk.virginmoneygiving.com/DavidRalph59.

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