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3 Capitals Challenge 2016 

Cathy Leech, Partner at Irwin Mitchell’s Manchester office once again took part in the annual Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) Cycle Ride this year competing the 3 Capitals Challenge.

“On Thursday 19 May 2016 a group of 35 of us met in Budapest to cycle to Vienna for the SIA. There should have been 36 of us but one of the wheelchair users did not get transferred in time to catch his connecting flight – a depressingly familiar story for wheelchair users at airports. But luckily for us SIA peer support officer, Gary Dawson made it in time to set off for the ride. The rest of us had a cycle tour round Budapest (a fantastic city). A few of us were shown the delights of a traditional “Ruin Bar” in Budapest the night before the ride began. I won’t name names...”

Cathy Leech, Partner


Day 1 was cycling from Budapest to Tata in Hungary. Quite a bit of it was on roads after a stretch alongside the Danube. There were mainly quite considerate drivers apart from a crazy car transporter driver who tried to push me off the road. I think this was more scary for the people behind who saw the near-miss unfolding than for me. I only realised at the last minute. Gulp! One puncture and no other mishaps, so it was a good day. For anyone unaware of the delights of Hungary, I can recommend this beautiful country. We had lunch at a wine cellar under a church with views over the Danube, quite simply stunning

Day 2 was another beautiful day. After losing a couple of people including one of the hand cyclists at the start of stage 2 (don’t worry reader, we found them again) there were no untoward events. My favourite memory of the whole trip is from this day. On a flat sunny road, Jonathan (one of the experienced hand cyclists) was helping Swati (a newer hand cyclist) by pushing the rear axle of her bike with the front axle of his - team work indeed! Jonathan was a deserving winner of the “Domestique” award that night for the person most selfless in their pursuit of team success. That night we reached Bratislava – it had been a long day of nearly 80 miles cycling. Some people went out on the town. Only the language barrier can be blamed for the fact that one group ended up in “a library which only sold cider.” How innovative! Perhaps this is the answer to keeping our own libraries open in the UK - “I would like the latest Harry Potter and a half of Strongbow please.”

So to Day 3 , another sunny and beautiful day. We were mainly riding on bike trails this time which were fabulous. Lots of miles by the side of the Danube and a brief stop where (unexpectedly) we realised the locals were all stark naked as they sat by the river with a picnic. Moving quickly on, we reached Vienna and our final celebration at the Opera House was joyous. A personal triumph for everyone involved and a terrific success for the organisers at SIA. Next year... Transylvania – hope to see some of you there!”