Nick Ivil, super cyclist with a learning disability, gets back in the saddle for Norwood Cycle Challenges
Remarkable charity cyclist Nick Ivil, who has Down’s syndrome, is training hard for this year’s Norwood Cycle Challenges.
He’s training for his seventh Norwood international cycling challenge, having previously taken part in tandem bike challenges all over the world, including Costa Rica and Madagascar, with Norwood. He will be taking part in the Road to Petra ride, one of the five planned challenges in Israel in October 2017.
There is a particular buzz around Norwood this year as the charity celebrates 25 years of cycling challenges in 2017. To mark the occasion, a special programme of cycling and trekking challenges, including five separate challenges in Israel that are scheduled to converge at the same point at the Red Sea port of Eilat on 22 October, has been compiled. Other locations include Transylvania for the Dracula Trek and Southern India for the Kerala cycling challenge.
As part of the challenges, volunteers who sign up to take the challenge have the option to ride tandem with people who we support at Norwood – often someone with a learning disability. Nick, 32, says taking on Norwood challenges has been a very positive influence on his life.
Nick said: “I’ve been riding a bike since I was four years old and I love the challenges. Cycling has changed my life; it changes people’s perception of me and gives me a lot of confidence. I’m training hard now, about four or five days a week. My ultimate goal is to get a six-pack. I haven’t managed it yet, but I’m getting there!”
Nick’s sister, Fran Cleaver, offers her brother moral support during his gruelling training regime. She’s full of praise for the Norwood Challenges team and the way it’s helped Nick.
Fran said: “Cycling is Nick’s life and since he started going on the challenges you can really tell the difference with how he is around people. He’s always been a big character but now you can tell he has more of a sense of purpose, something to work towards. And, most importantly, he just loves it.”
Joining Nick on the challenges will be Norwood sports coach Jonathan Green. He has been on a number of the challenges previously and has been struck by the camaraderie that he often sees develop between riders.
Jonathan said: “One of the best things for me is seeing people we support at Norwood interact with people who they wouldn’t normally interact with. It definitely builds confidence and people make friends for life on these trips. The tandem teams obviously build up a very strong bond, but it goes beyond that. These are really tough physical challenges so the camaraderie between everyone on the trip is so good to see. Sometimes on some of the harder climbs you see people slowing down deliberately to help others. One time I saw some people literally pushing another team up the hill. It’s that level of closeness that builds up over the challenges.”
Anyone interested in joining Nick on his challenge, or getting involved in any of Norwood’s other challenges, can visit the website here.
To find out more or help Nick on his way, people can visit the sponsorship page here.
Watch the Norwood challenges launch video for 2017 here.
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