Off Road Cycling in Dumfries

For ten days in August (3rd-13th) Scotland was lucky enough to host the worlds biggest cycling event, The UCI Cycling World Championships. As we watched the world's greatest riders zoom around the streets of Glasgow in search of the ultimate prize, the Rainbow Jersey, down in Dumfries they were hosting the Para-Cycling events.

Our Peer Support Advisor for the area, Mary, went along to check out the race in her home town and to meet up with fellow enthusiasts to get down and dirty on off road mean machines


“I want to ride my bicycle, bicycle, bicycle!! I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike, I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride it where I like”

These are the lyrics of one of my favourite Queen songs and also one of my favourite pastimes before I had my spinal cord injury.  I loved being on my bike, especially mountain biking getting muddy and wet and the more muddy the better…

This year in Glasgow and across Scotland the biggest cycling event ever happened.  The worlds greatest gathered to compete at the highest level, make history, and show the world the power of the bike.

Here in Dumfries we had the Para-Cycling road racing events.  It was awesome to see the speed and agility of the cyclists. 

Dumfries was buzzing and just across the road from the Para-Cycling action in Dock Park was David Hill from Clyde Muirshiel, Castle Semple Centre (Where we hold our yearly BBQ). He was hosting a come and try off-road hand cycle event. I went along and was lucky enough to have a go in one of these amazing three wheeled beasties. David was excellent at explaining to me and the others who turned up for the experience how to operate the bikes, work the gears, brakes etc… then off we went…

I was a bit cautious at first but it didn’t take me long to find my confidence and I was there… we went firstly on a cycle path and then the fun began straight through a gate opening and off road, up in the air and down into the field we went - I was laughing and smiling so much that I my mouth and teeth were full of grass and probably some flies too but I didn’t care it had been well over 19 years or more since I’d had this feeling and it felt fantastic.

I didn’t think I would ever feel this kind of adrenalin rush again. I have a handbike that attaches to my wheelchair but this bike was in a different league altogether. I’m hooked now and want my members here in Dumfries to have a go at this experience too. we are hoping to organise a SIS Legacy Off Road Hand-cycle day with David and these amazing bikes, watch this space!!!

As for me… I’ve joined an off road hand cycle group and will join them on rides when I can.

Oh and by the way… does anyone know how to get grass stains off your teeth!!

- Mary Bell, Peer Support Advisor for Dumfries