Disability writer sets out on a cycling mission
A man who refuses to be held back by his disability has set off from Campbeltown on a 237-mile cycling voyage. Disability sports and travel writer David Reilly, who was born with cerebral palsy, left Campbeltown on Monday morning to conquer the Caledonia Way, an iconic cycling route through Argyll and into the Highlands, ending in Inverness. David hopes the 10-day journey will raise awareness of accessibility along the National Cycle Network (NCN), promoting the Caledonia Way, which is route 78, as an all-abilities route. He told the Courier that despite his disability, which affects his coordination and balance, he tries to promote access and participation in outdoor sports for everyone, and he does that by taking part himself. He will complete the ride with support from the charity that coordinates the NCN, Sustrans Scotland, which aims to make it easier for everyone to walk and cycle in Scotland.
He set off from outside Campbeltown’s ferry terminal with Mike Dennison, marketing and tourism development officer at Sustrans, who will accompany him the whole way, and Laura White, volunteer coordinator at Sustrans, who will complete the first half of the journey to Oban. David said: ‘I approached Sustrans about a year and a half ago as I wanted to cycle the Caledonia Way - it took a while to get organised but here we are. ‘As a disability sports writer, I work to improve opportunities for disabled people to take part and participate in outdoor sports. ‘The Caledonia Way is an iconic route through the heart of some of Scotland’s most spectacular scenery and I’m really looking forward to riding it. ‘I don’t underestimate the challenge, however; 237 miles lie between Campbeltown and Inverness which is a really big push for me but I really look forward to completing the project.’ Tom Bishop, Sustrans’ head of network development in Scotland, said: ‘We are really excited that David is to set out and ride the length of the iconic Caledonia Way. ‘As a leading disability writer, David’s unique experience of cycling the Caledonia Way, and the conversations we hope it will inspire, will help us to understand what is required to make all of our NCN routes accessible and inclusive to all.’ Keep track of David’s progress by following him on Twitter (@david_ventures) or visiting his website (www. davidventures.co.uk).
David Reilly, centre, in Campbeltown at the start of his journey, with Mike Dennison, left, and Laura White, right.