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16 October 2014

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Wheels in Wales

By Helen Jones
November 2003, Rhyl
A digital story from Capture Wales

Bike Crazy

Cycling hasn't always been easy for Helen but she's never let anything come between her and riding a bike.

"My first trike was stolen after my brother left it out on the street. I was heartbroken.

At the age of eight I broke my two front teeth falling off my brother's bike. My father went mad. The only way I would ever get a bike now is to buy it myself. I did this once I was earning. Within two years I owned five bikes and was the secretary of the Manchester Velo Cycle Racing Club.

By the time I was 18 the doctors advised me not to ride a bike due to the start of a chronic knee condition. They said I'd end up in a wheelchair. Obstinate, I carried on cycling until I could cycle no more.

I felt depressed whenever I saw a cyclist, I really missed the thrill of cycling.

Roughly 20 years later, and having moved to Rhyl, I saw a young man riding a bike which he pedalled with his hands. Instantly I knew I wanted one! Finding out where he got it wasn't easy.

Each time I saw him and tried to flag him down, he'd just wave at me as he sped past! Three years later I finally caught up with him. I was driving past when I spotted him in my mirror. I slammed on the brakes and found out where I too could obtain a hand-cycle!

Overjoyed at getting my hand-cycle at last, I've got my life back, riding my bike as much as possible. I raised £1029.05 cycling my first bikeathon and I'm looking forward to more fundraising.

The fact I use a wheelchair no longer means I can't ride a bike.

I've not just got my life back, I've also found my vocation."

Helen Jones

Please tell us a little about yourself.
I am a widow with two teenage children. I have been disabled and have used a wheelchair for the past 5 years. I am a very determined person who never gives in!

What's your story about?
I have always loved cycling and my story takes you through the problems I faced growing up, not being allowed a bike. Explaining the reasons why and how I have overcome each problem as they occurred.

Why did you choose to tell this particular story?
I wanted to inspire others who may think for one reason or another, they are not able to reach a goal. Anything is possible, you just have to want something enough!

What did you find most rewarding about the workshop?
Meeting other people and listening to their stories. This helped to develop my story. The team were a great crowd! In my heart all involved will be lifelong friends.

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