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Overcoming Disability by Bike - Shaun Murray's story

    Cycling 120 miles in a day is a fair ride - even for a fit and experienced cyclist. Shaun Murray of Gee Cross near Hyde is certainly a competent cyclist, but has more than a slight physical handicap to overcome to enjoy it fully. At the age of 16 yrs he was involved in a motor cycle accident that left him with severed nerves in his spine and arrested development of his right arm. The extent of his injury was such that surgery was out of the question and he is left with permanent phantom pains of the sort which blight the lives of many who have suffered severe physical trauma.

    However at the age of 40yrs Shaun now shrugs off his disability and says 'you've just to get on with life'. He finds he can deflect pain by exercising, and with karate as his main competitive sport, he has attained the rank of 2nd Dan Black Belt. He has also run five marathons, and to top up his stamina and all round fitness tries to get out on his bike a couple of times a week.

    An engineering storeman at Cabot Chemicals, Shaun is a family man with three children aged from five to twelve years. In conversation with his friend Stuart Cresswell they decided to raise sponsorship for the Willow Wood Hospice by cycling from their homes in Cheshire to the Menai Strait. To give extra support on the road fellow work mate Paul Dalton was also enlisted to complete the team of three.   

brake and gear levers

Brake and gear levers located on the left

    With the technical assistance of Stuart, who owns the 4Front Engineering Co., Shaun had his mountain bike specially modified in order to locate the brake and gear levers on the left side of the handlebars.

    And so it was that as dawn broke on Saturday 17th July 04 the three intrepid cyclists set off from Hyde complete with a motor back-up team led by another pal Mark Pickering,. Following earlier consultation with CTC Cymru's Roy Spilsbury, it was decided to follow the line of Route 5 of the National Cycle Network along the North Wales coast, via Flint and Rhyl, to rendezvous with a CTC Cymru reception party at Pantri Bach Café, Pensarn.

Cyclists welcome Shaun at Pensarn

The CTC reception at Pensarn

    Despite riding into a brisk westerly breeze, Shaun and his pals found themselves two hours ahead of schedule when they arrived at the rendezvous. With the pace set by the Cheshire team, Roy and his fellow CTC member, Gwyn Jones, both of Penmaenmawr, led the way through Conwy, and on via the headlands at Penmaenbach and Pen-y-Clip. With the way clear beyond Aber, the Cheshire riders completed their truly commendable ride across the Britannia Bridge exactly 12 hours after setting off.

Outside The Smallest House at Conwy

The obligatory stop at the smallest house, Conwy

    Roy and Gwyn found that after only a few minutes in Shaun's company that he has not allowed his disability to hinder his enjoyment of a full and active life. For the future he hopes to have an annual event to raise funds for charity - but had to be dissuaded from planning to swim the Menai Strait, one of the most hazardous stretches of waterway around the UK. Whatever he decides, Shaun deserves every success. Oh, and by the way, if you have a troublesome tree in your back garden, Shaun's your man. He's a lumberjack too!




At Penmaenbach   Near Llanfairfechan   Crossing the Menai straits

Appreciating the view at Penmaenbach


A field crossing at Llanfairfechan


Nearly there: crossing the Menai Straits


Standing underneath the Welcome to Anglesey sign

A fitting end to a fine day's work


See also the 'Overcoming Disability' section in Cycle Life.