Disability writer David Reilly is celebrating after conquering an iconic 237 mile cycle route in Scotland, to help raise awareness of accessibility along the National Cycle Network.
Reilly, who was born with Cerebral Palsy, was greeted by Depute Provost and Leader of Inverness Area Councillor Graham Ross and Chair of Inverness Access Panel Lachie Smith at the end of The Caledonia Way, National Cycle Network Route 78. With support from Sustrans Scotland, David battled against Storm Ali to complete the 10-day long challenge ride, which saw him travel from Campbeltown to Inverness, to challenge perceptions about disability participation in cycling.
An amazing achievement
Speaking about his achievement, Reilly said:
“As a disability sports writer, I work to improve opportunities for disabled people to take part and participate in outdoor sports.
“Inclusion and access are issues very close to my heart and I'm delighted to have worked with Sustrans on this project. The Caledonia Way is an iconic route through the heart of some of Scotland's most spectacular scenery.”
Councillor Graham Ross said:
“I really admire David for what he has achieved. It shows that people with disabilities can take part fully in life. He is a really remarkable man. I hope his journey and what he has achieved will inspire and encourage others to take part in similar adventures.”
Lachie Smith, Chairman at Inverness Access Panel said:
“It's amazing. David is a hugely positive example for disability inclusion and a great role model. It just goes to show what can be achieved by anyone. He is an inspiration.”
National Cycle Network review
David’s ride comes as we near the completion of a year and a half long audit of National Cycle Network routes across the UK. The results of the National Cycle Network review, which are set for publication in November 2018, will help us to create a network of safe, accessible and high-quality routes and paths that will make walking and cycling easier and safer for everyone.
As part of his ride Reilly stopped in Oban to speak to a representative from Oban Disability Access Panel and Sustrans Scotland Network Engagement Manager Nail Shannon, about some of the challenges faced in making the National Cycle Network more accessible and inclusive to all.
Sustrans Scotland Head of Network Development, Tom Bishop said:
“We are really proud of David and what he has achieved by cycling all 237 miles of the Caledonia Way – especially with all the challenges he has faced, from the weather to the difficulty of some of the sections of the route.
“As the National Cycle Network has grown over the years, we recognise that its quality has varied and that this has resulted in an inconsistent experience for the people who use it. We need to make it better, which is why we are undertaking a UK-wide review of the National Cycle Network.
“As a leading disability writer, David’s unique experience of cycling the Caledonia Way, and the conversations it has inspired, will help us to understand what is required to make all of our National Cycle Network routes accessible and inclusive to all.”