Father's Paris cycle success
PUBLISHED: 10:00 31 July 2015
A young father left wheelchair-bound by a devastating brain condition has completed a gruelling 300-mile cycle ride in searing heat and hilly terrain to raise money for charity.
Simon Kindleysides, from Wortwell was diagnosed with a brain condition called functional neurological disorder (FND) in April 2013, which left him with no movement in his legs and numb from the waist down.
While in hospital, doctors also found he had a slow growing brain tumour.
Despite his condition, the 31-year-old used a hand cycle to complete the London to Paris cycle challenge, raising more than £3,700 for the Brain and Spine Foundation charity.
The event was coordinated by Skyline which is one of the UK’s largest organisers of charity fundraising events.
Mr Kindleysides was the only hand cyclist among the 88 riders who set off from London on July 15.
He said: “It was very intense and plenty of hills. We had to be at Dover for 5pm for the ferry so there was a bit of pressure to get there on time.
“It was really tough and I was struggling at times. But some of the cyclists were in the same position so we egged each other on and encouraged each other on the worst bits.”
The journey takes in some of England’s most idyllic countryside before the crossing over to France.
The route then takes riders through rural landscapes and areas of historical interest all the way to Paris.
Mr Kindleysides, who lives with his partner Hannah Young and two children, said: “Once in France there were some very big hills going up through the clouds and some of the cyclists got off and walked,
“But I had no choice as I didn’t have my wheelchair with me so had to press on - it was really intense.
“When we got to the hotel stopover each night we were last back, which was fine because we weren’t doing it for a race, but all the other cyclists were waiting outside to cheer us home.
“No one treated me any differently which is brilliant.”
Over four days, the riders completed 90 to 95 miles a day, sometimes in temperatures hitting 40C before the final day when they assembled four miles from the Eiffel Tower and asked Mr Kindleysides to lead the convoy to the finish line.
He said: “All along the route people were cheering us on and I was an emotional wreck by the time we arrived under the Eiffel Tower.
“All the pain I had felt over the past three days went away. It was an amazing feeling and I’m still buzzing now.”
Despite still getting over the effects of the gruelling trip, Mr Kindleysides is looking ahead to his next challenge which could be the three cities cycle next year which starts at London and takes in Amsterdam and Brussels.