Islander Nick Ozouf has been using Jersey Sport’s Cycle Without Limits Centre since it first opened in October 2020. Being born with a condition known as ‘Vitamin D resistant rickets’ that leads to softening and weakening of the bones and causes various mobility issues, hasn’t stopped Nick living an active life, including cycling, and now he is taking on a new challenge: to hand-cycle 26 miles around Les Quennevais cycle track to mirror the distance of the London Marathon, to raise funds for the Cycle Without Limits Centre and Acorn.
The challenge, taking place from 10:00 at Les Quennevais cycle track on Saturday 25 September, is expected to take a total of seven hours. It will coincide with Jersey Sport’s first HSBC Let’s Ride pop-up of the year at the cycle track, from 10:00-12:00 – so there will be plenty of cycling encouragement for Nick on the day!
Nick explained, “The track is just under a mile long, so it will take about 28 laps to cover 26 miles 385 yards, which is the marathon distance. That doesn’t sound much on a normal bicycle, but on a hand-cycle, particularly the one I use, it’ll be hard work! So far, the most I have cycled is 12 laps and I average about 4.5 miles per hour.”
Nick’s inspiration for the challenge came after he inquired whether he could take part in the official Virtual London Marathon, for which you can take 24 hours to complete the distance. However, wheels are not allowed in the event, so he chose to set himself a personal challenge instead.
Nick went on to explain’ “The Cycle Without Limits recumbent hand-cycle is an excellent piece of kit which allows me to exercise and ride a bike – something I would not otherwise be able to do if it wasn’t for the inclusive cycling centre and the support received from the excellent Cycle Coaches there.
The freedom of being on three wheels is great. I enjoy it, but it’s very hard work. You could compare the movement on this hand-cycle to rowing a boat through heavy waters.”
Nick hopes to fundraise at least £1,000 from his cycle challenge, which will be split between Jersey Sport’s Cycle Without Limits Centre and Acorn Enterprises. He has a Just Giving fundraising page set-up which can be reached via the Jersey Sport website. He explained,
“I wouldn’t be in a position to cycle or complete this challenge without the support of the people at the Cycle Without Limits centre, from Jersey Sport, which is a registered charity. They have given me a lot of encouragement and supplied the cycle to use. Fundraising for them will allow the centre to support more people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to cycle, to experience and enjoy the freedom of cycling!
I’d like to help Acorn because they offer great job and training opportunities to people who have a disability or long-term health condition and to be honest, this challenge is also for me. Due to my physical disability, I’ll never be able to walk, let alone run 26 miles 385 yards – so to complete this challenge is the closest that I’ll get.”
As well as raising money for the two charities, Nick wants to raise awareness of disability in Jersey. He said,
“People are only disabled if due to the environment or situation they cannot be involved or included. As a society, we are striving for equality in all areas of life and this must include everyone who has a disability, no matter what it is. If we can provide the right environment, equipment and support to ensure that people with disabilities are always included, then we can ensure that they are not disabled.”
Cirsty de Gruchy, Head of Move More Jersey added,” “We are delighted to be supporting Nick on his marathon challenge. Nick has been a regular participant at our centre since it opened in October 2020, and it has been a real privilege for the Cycle Without Limits team to be part of his journey. He has been dedicated to improving his cycling ability and as a result his balance and mobility. Every week he has challenged himself a little bit more and each week he has improved so we have no doubt he will complete his marathon! Nick’s journey is inspirational, and it shows the power that physical activity can have in a person’s life. We hope that it inspires others to consider taking up cycling and we would invite people to come up on the day to see our adapted cycles and try them out. We are really grateful that he has chosen to raise funds for Cycle Without Limits to continue to run the centre which is funded through charitable donations and we are really looking forward to supporting him out on the track on the day.”
The Cycle Without Limits centre is Jersey’s first inclusive cycling centre, Jersey Sport’s vision is to create an environment and opportunities to enhance the lives of people living with a disability by ensuring that anyone can access the physical, emotional, practical, and social benefits of cycling. The centre was set up in October 2020 and to date has been funded by the following sponsors: Ocorian, Rotary Club of Jersey, Enable Jersey, HSBC CI, Jersey Community Foundation and a private doner. The centre relies on kind donations and sponsorship to continue to offer these opportunities. Please come along to the cycle track at Les Quennevais on 25 September from 10:00 to support Nick and get involved with all things cycling at our HSBC Let’s Ride pop-up, taking place from 10:00-12:00.
To find out more about Nick’s inspiring story and to donate to his Hand-cycle Marathon fundraising, please visit: www.jerseysport.je/meet-nick