We'd like to introduce you to Robert, from Tasmania who is joining you in the challenging and important ride to Fight MS. He's riding an amazing distance of 750kms in October with his team, Chariots of Fire.
"Nothing will stop me from doing my very best to honour the commitment. It’s going to be great fun!" says Robert.
Robert has MS and is passionate about searching beyond his physical limitations for meaning and satisfaction.
This year, he's taking on the MS Gong Ride Virtual challenge on his recumbent bike. Here, he shares the story of his journey with multiple sclerosis and some words of inspiration for anyone who is looking at ways to reach beyond their physical limitations, and as he puts it,
“Search for something greater than self.”
Prior to the onset of multiple sclerosis at the age of 28, Robert had a background in architecture and art. He had commenced a career in teaching while constantly practising and applying skills in drawing and painting.
Robert says, "Although the devastating effects of MS flawed everything for me and left me legless in body and collapsed in mind and spirit, something inside of me said, 'fight every inch of the way'. I had extraordinary support and needed encouragement from many sources. My list of references would be one hundred years long, ten thousand people wide, and as deep as an ocean filled to capacity with friendship and love."
"The one thing I adamantly have to recommend to my fellow persons with multiple sclerosis is to develop a passion. Not just an interest, but something which truly is far above the ordinary, and beyond the restricted life imposed upon your present being. Fight every inch of the way."
Robert’s search for a physical activity that fulfilled his disabled body led him to recumbent cycling.
"I have many aspects to my life with MS: Recumbent cycling is my other passion. I discovered recumbent tricycles about 30 years ago and I ride on a daily basis. From a slow start, about 3 kilometres distance at first, I am now able to cycle up to 40 kilometres a day. You have to be able to get down into the low seat and stand up from this position, which is actually very difficult for me and requires arm strength."
The back of Robert's bike has been modified, and has a carrier attached and an ordinary handlebar bracketed onto this carrier. Strong rear lights are kept on all the time when he's on the road.
"For someone such as me with weak legs, the easy spinning solves the problem of steep hills."
Robert encourages anyone keen to explore recumbent cycling to give it their best, but always after getting advice from a health professional.