The Spinal Injuries Association is the leading national user-led spinal cord injuries charity. Each year they have an annual cycling fundraiser and in summer 2017 it was time for a trip to Transylvania.
Cathy Leech, one of our partners who campaigns for justice for clients who have suffered life changing spinal injuries, took part in the challenge. She put thoughts of Dracula to one side to take part in the trip alongside 20 riders, which included three handcyclists and a mix of experienced and amateur cyclists. Here’s her diary.
Riding through Transylvania was a mountainous challenge with a capital C. Our fantastic Romanian guides set up our mountain bikes and we set off up the hilly terrain. The first few miles were slow, steady and manageable but that didn’t last long and soon we were crossing a hairpin descent in raging head winds to get to the quite beautiful Bram Castle, the birthplace of Dracula, according to legend. A windy challenge met us in the afternoon before the day ended with a Tour de France-esque mountain top finish to our hotel which was perched high above Brașov.
We were lead out of the pretty town of Brașov into rural Romania by some local road cyclists. It was quiet and the crazy drivers from the day before had not yet woken up. We met lots of Roma gypsies on their horse and carts – a regular choice of transport in rural Transylvania.
In the afternoon we were tested by several category four climbs and to make matters worse, it started absolutely lashing it down with rain. It was an incredibly tough cycle but we had to think of the difference our fundraising could make to so many people and battled on to the summit.
The final day began with a climb to the top of the village so we could take pictures, sing Yodel-e-ie-oh and have a dance together - there is much video evidence but that is not being shared.
We finished the cycling with yet more hills interspersed with interesting visits to a fortified church and a private cultural museum. We were in fine voice when we finally arrived at our destination in Sibiu. They were stunned to see the sight of hand cycles and such a heroic effort but were less impressed by the singing.
The event finished with the usual celebration dinner and prize-giving but the real gift was the £40,000 we raised for the charity.
Cathy is also taking part in the SIA Cycle Espana ride from Wednesday 9 to Sunday 13 May 2018.
Published: 15 March 2018
Focus on Spinal Injury - Spring 2018
The Exclusive : Back to the Future
The Expert : In the Spotlight
The Charity : SIA Ride to Transylvania
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