Severely injured soldiers and veterans making up three international teams, from the UK, Canada, and New Zealand, are to cycle, using specialist recumbent tandem cycles, over 1500 miles from the most southern point to the most northern point of New Zealand during late October and November 2018.
Working in conjunction with The NZ Defence Force, Operation Ride will be the first distance event of this kind and it is hoped it will become an annual challenge with the next event being hosted by the winning team. Teams will cover 100 miles of challenging terrain per day. The challenge has been taken up on the UK's behalf by The Pilgrim Bandits, a charitable organisation run by Ex-Special Forces personnel.
The Pilgrim Bandits don't want sympathy. They don't do sympathy. They offer help to realise challenges for people who have already done more hard miles than the the rest of us are ever likely to.
The ever adaptable Hase Pino is the tandem of choice. Originating as an adaptive machine, it has a small but growing following amongst able-bodied tandem teams.
In the case of these guys, each cycle will have an adapted hand-cranking system at the front, for the amputees. Those who have ridden a Hase Pino will know that it is not built for speed, though comfort and stability are top-notch. There'll be some hard leg and arm work to be done over the hills. By the sound of it the challenge will be approached in a spirit of tight teamwork and a focus that sees obstacles as no more than an opportunity to rise to a challenge.
Andre Edwards, one of the support team for Operation Ride said, "The bike is a Hase Pino that has been adapted. Hand-crank on the front. Reason for this is the challenge will consist of teams. Each team will have two double amputees which will alternate on the fron of the bike, using the hand cranks.
The back is normal as we will have single leg amputees, arm amputees and other injury riders on the back of the bikes. All our single leg amputees are very proficient in riding “normal” bikes.
The adaptions were done by Hase. They are the only company we could find who could provide the bikes with the adaptations we needed."
Get Cycling, the York based Community Interest Company that does so much to promote inclusive cycling, sourced the bikes for the Pilgrim Bandits.
Although they don't do sympathy, you can support The Pilgrim Bandits' projects through donations or purchases form their on-line shop.