Tag Archives: Mountain Biking

Dead Man Cycling – the inspirational story of David Smith, MBE [@DSmithGB]⤴

from @ OllieBray.com

David Smith Bike

If you watch one thing on the television over the next 25 days then watch 'Dead Man Cycling'.

The hour long documentary tells the extraordinary story of Gold medal-winning Paralympian (and former Kingussie High School Pupil) David Smith, MBE. 

If you live in the UK you can watch the programme for the next 25 days on BBC iPlayer.

Gold medal-winning Paralympian David Smith has faced many struggles in his life and career. The professional karate champion, athlete, bobsleigh brakeman, rower and now cyclist faces the biggest battle - for his life.

David Smith was born with clubfoot and came close to having his feet amputated at birth. After spending his first three years learning to walk in special boots and plaster casts, a career in Olympic sport seemed doubtful. However, that was just a hurdle he needed to get over and it was not going to hold him back.

David from Aviemore in the Scottish Highlands, is nothing if not determined. Despite his disability, he has succeeded in following his sporting dream first representing the UK at karate, Scotland at athletics and the UK at bobsleigh before deciding that rowing offered him the best possible chance of living his dream of Paralympic stardom.

However, nine months before London, David was diagnosed with a rare tumour on his spinal column and battled to regain fitness after life threatening surgery. Determined to win gold again, this time in cycling in Rio, David received devastating news that the tumour had returned and another battle against the potentially lethal illness started.

Dead Man Cycling follows David over the 18 months before, during and after his second spinal surgery. It is an emotional story of David's sheer inner strength and utter determination as he fights to live and ultimately regain fitness.

Never known to do anything by halves, David sets himself the seemingly impossible goal of attempting to cycle one of the world's most notorious cycling climbs - Mont Ventoux. Not once, but three times in a day - all just six months post-surgery. But, will the Dead Man Cycling make it?

David's website is also really worth exploring. Not just to find out more about this extraordinary man but to explore some of his beliefs and routines that have allowed him to do so well. I particularly recommend the page (and sub-pages) on 'wellness'.




Cycling in the Western Isles⤴

from @ OllieBray.com

  British Summer

Summer seems to have missed Scotland this year!

But, last week we managed to avoid the showers (well most of them...) and get away on a short cycle expedition to the Western Isles. The weather was pretty kind to us and we had a favourable tail wind for most of the journey which helped us haul the panniers up some of the steep hills.

Kincraig Loop (via Barra, Uist, Haris & Lewis!) - Summer 2015

We cycled from Kingussie to Ballachulish and then from Ballachulish to Oban where we got the ferry to Barra. From Barra we caught another ferry to Eriskay before cycling up though South Uist, Benbecula and North Uist. Another Ferry took us to Harris where we tool the 'Golden Road' along the west coast to Tarbert and up into Lewis. Harris was my favourite part of the cycle trip as the road was challenging with stunning scenery. We ended up in Stornoway where we caught the ferry back to Ullapool and cycled home. The whole trip took us six days door-to-door.

Louise made a nice map of our route using Google MyMaps.

I was impressed with the Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) Hopscotch Ferry Deal which was only £37.60 for all the ferries in the island chain. Bike also go free and everyone that we met seemed to be very cycle friendly.

Island Hopper Map

I wonder if the trip might make a good DofE Gold route?

The book Cycling in the Hebrides: Island Touring and Day Rides (Cicerone Guides) is worth getting if your thinking of heading out that way.

The Extra Wheel Trailer: Iceland 2013 Expedition (@cyclesense)⤴

from @ OllieBray.com

Great Divide Ollie Cropped

When I cycled from Canada to Mexico a few years ago I used a Bob Trailer. I love my Bob Trailer and it has served me well. But then someone told me about the Extra Wheel Trailer and although they look completely ridiculous I was impressed with the simplicity of design, weight and how easy they would be to transport on a plane.

We will be giving two of these trailers a good test in Iceland this summer during our three week expedition there – which starts on Monday 15th July. I have embedded a video of the extra wheel below.


We have no fixed itinerary for our trip to Iceland and have chosen to book only the first and last nights accommodation – the rest of the time we will simply be exploring.

Thanks to our new pals at Cycle Sense for helping sort the trailers out for us.