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    Inspiration for cyclists

    Scot Tares finds social media can offer some inspiration after all.

    Like many people, I follow social media sites but often, at best, just skim over the inspirational, human-drama stories that often feature in them, but last week one in particular caught my eye.

    Rick Hoyt was born 43 years ago with a profound disability, but his parents fought for him every step of the way to ensure that he was given a life and opportunities at a time when such things for people with disabilities were scarce. After school one day and communicating via an electronic talker Rick indicated to his father that he wanted to take part in a charity run for a high school friend who had been paralysed in an accident. His Father, Dick, was overweight, but agreed and both he and Rick completed the five mile run, Dick pushing Rick in his wheelchair the whole way. Soon they entered the Boston Marathon and next up was triathlons, where Dick would swim nearly 3 miles puling Rick in a dinghy, run 26.2 miles, then cycle 112 miles with Rick on the bike. Since then they have completed 212 triathlons together.

    By contrast in recent weeks Lance Armstrong has admitted his doping past, but despite his revelations of what we all already knew, there was not an inkling of regret or apology. In fact he was bold enough to say he couldn’t have won without doping; a misguided excuse that gives credibility to the notion that if something looks too difficult to achieve by a fair means, then it’s acceptable to cheat. The Brazilian novelist, Paulo Coelho once said, “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” Perhaps Armstrong was a victim of his own fear of failure.

    Armstrong stood, and still does to some as an inspiration to millions, but it was built on a deceit of lies, bullying and corruption and it appears that the foundation of this persona was a testament to his own feeling of greatness, rather than his humility. We all need people to inspire us, but perhaps those who should inspire us, and receive our plaudits, are the “local heroes”, rather than media fuelled idols. True inspirers don’t seek self-aggrandisement; they just get their heads down and get on with the work in hand.

    Cycling is a great way to get out and get fit, improve your health and well-being and it’s accessible for everyone. It’s also a great way to raise money for charities, with place to place rides, charity sportives and endurance events all providing challenges for those just starting cycling to more experienced riders. If you are sitting reading this thinking, “I need to lose weight”, or “I’ve not touched my bike for years” then look around you for the inspiration that will motivate you to get out and do something. You never know, you could maybe end up inspiring someone else. I often meet people who tell me, “Oh, I could never do that”, or “I’m not that kind of person”. Each and every one of us has the ability to achieve; Rick Hoyt and his son Dick proved that, and in the end it was the inspiration from each other that led them to great things and it still pushes them, “The thing I’d most like,” Rick types into his computer, “is that my dad sit in the chair and I push him once.” Now if that doesn’t inspire you, nothing will.

    Get out and ride

    Scot Tares