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From London to Paris and back to Yarmouth - Dales story

Dale's story Dale's Bike

"Late one Saturday afternoon in June 2008, I rode into the centre of Paris in a peleton of about 200 riders on the annual L2P London - Paris cyclosportif. We completed the 600 km, three day closed road event by cycling up the (closed) Champs Elysees, round the Arc de Triomphe and finishing under the Eifel Tower, with Parisians on all sides standing to applaud and cheer us in. It was an astonishing privilege usually reserved for Tour de France competitors and certainly represented the highlight of my more than fifteen years of bike riding.

Fast forward to early 2013 and the picture was very different. In the intervening period, a progressive degenerative neurological disorder known as Multiple System Atrophy, or MSA, with which I had been diagnosed in August 2012,had taken away first the strength and endurance necessary to ride long distance events, and then the balance and coordination necessary to ride a bike at all. I sold my beloved Italian racing bike and tried to come to grips with the fact that my cycling days were over.

Then a friend introduced me to a recumbent trike. Three wheels would certainly overcome my balance issues, whilst the fact that it is ridden in the recumbent, or lying down position, would help resolve the problems with low blood pressure that riding upright would cause. As for strength and endurance, well, what was training for?!

But how to afford such a trike? I soon identified that the one that best met my needs was made in Cornwall by a firm called Inspired Cycle Engineering, or ICE. But since these are relatively complex machines and production volumes are low, prices were three to four times as great as an equivalent standard racing bike. And because of MSA my income as a self employed surveyor was diminishing fast.

At this point, enter The Adam Millichip Foundation. I made an application and after some weeks had passed, I received a call from Stuart Millichip to say my application had been successful. By August, I had taken delivery of a beautiful black ICE Sprint 26X and was busy trying to persuade my recalcitrant legs to adapt to a new riding position.

In October, a friend and I undertook a three day 97 mile ride from Kings Lynn, round the North Norfolk coast to Yarmouth. No, not as far, or as fast, as my adventure to Paris, but a multi-day ride was something I thought I would never do again.

And it is you, the Trustees and supporters of The Adam Millichip Foundation, who have made this possible. MSA is a condition without a cure, or even a way of slowing its progress. But you have given me a way to fight back, perhaps to delay its effects and even to score some small victory against this relentless condition. And most importantly of all, to feel that I can do something to make a difference, to positively affect my life.

To every single one of you, a huge and heartfelt thank you."

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