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Paralysed rider now only rides with a driver for protection after incident

A disabled cyclist was run off the road in his handcycle, was doused with Coca Cola and left in a ditch for an hour waiting for help.

Rob Groves, who has been paralysed from the waist down since 2006, was training for a charity ride from Edinburgh to London near Charlwood, East Sussex when a driver came up behind him.

He told Crawley News: "It was the first time I had been out training on the road on my own and I forgot my phone.

"I was riding along Ifield Road when I could hear a beeping horn.

"I travel really low to the ground and there is a small mirror on my bike. I could see a blue Peugeot 208 behind me.

"We were both on a narrow stretch of road and my bike does take up a lot of the road. The beeping went on for three or four minutes; all along I was looking for a space to pull over so they could overtake.

"A gap appeared and the car zoomed past by me. The passenger was obviously annoyed because they shook up a can of coke and threw it out the window at me.

"The drink sprayed all over me and the shock caused me to veer left and hit the kerb which caused the bike to topple over.

"I was thrown out of the bike and down into a two-foot ditch at the side of the road, hidden by bushes and trees."
Rob had only bought his handcycle in May, which cost him £5,000. He decided to train for a 24-hour endurance race.

After the collision he managed to crawl back up the bank but was left with no choice but to sit at the side of the road and wait patiently for help.

He continued: "Cars passed me by but it is a fast stretch of road and nobody could see me.

"After an hour I began worrying that I was in trouble, I even thought about crawling out into the road so I could be seen and get attention.

"Luckily a couple, I'd guess in their 30s, were walking in the area and I started calling out to them for help. They saved me and got me back into my bike.

"I didn't get their names but I am so grateful.

"My pride was dented more than anything," he added.

"I twisted my back but there has been no long-term damage.

"I think the driver and passenger in that car believed I was simply riding a fancy bike and didn't know I am disabled.

"There is a bright flag on the back of my bike which hopefully helps to make me stand out and I ask people to give me time. Going at 14 or 15 miles per hour is as fast as I can go.

"If you see me on the road I will pull over and give you space as quickly as it is safe for me."

Rob now only trains for his Edinburgh - London ride with an able bodied cyclist or accompanying driver for protection. You can support his efforts via his page at JustGiving.com

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

16 comments

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belgravedave [268 posts] 2 years ago
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Do me a favour Road cc and find out where I can sponsor him for his endurance race.

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pakennedy [145 posts] 2 years ago
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Agreed belgravedave. I have almost no money and would happily chuck a few quid into a justgiving site to support the efforts of someone making such an effort.

Oh, and I was overtaken by a guy on a hand cycle a couple of weeks ago.

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kaska [12 posts] 2 years ago
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ragtag [217 posts] 2 years ago
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Think this is the fundraising page for Rob
http://www.action.org.uk/sponsor/raceforthedisabled

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workhard [397 posts] 2 years ago
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Charlwood is in Surrey not East Sussex and the victim is from Crawley which is in West Sussex.

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Tony Farrelly [2868 posts] 2 years ago
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belgravedave wrote:

Do me a favour Road cc and find out where I can sponsor him for his endurance race.

Done! There's a link to Rob's Just Giving page at the end of the article (and the start) and belt 'n' braces - here too https://www.justgiving.com/Robert-Groves5/

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gazza_d [460 posts] 2 years ago
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Drop the "cyclist" tag.

This is simply disgusting abuse of any individual, but even more sick that he is disabled.

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jacknorell [966 posts] 2 years ago
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Without using expletives, I can't actually state how angry I am at those feral lowlifes.

Well done on Rob for keeping his morale up! I've donated to the ride.

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SteppenHerring [328 posts] 2 years ago
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Hang on:

He said: "I think the driver and passenger in that car believed I was simply riding a fancy bike and didn't know I am disabled."

So if he'd been an able-bodied rider on a "fancy bike" then this would've been OK?

Nevertheless, surely it can't be beyond the whit of local or national government to get the message out that behaving like an utter bastard to another human being (regardless of disabilty or cost of bike - even fat blokes in Sky gear on replica Pinarellos) is really not acceptable.

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Ramuz [147 posts] 2 years ago
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Do you think this current government cares?

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belgravedave [268 posts] 2 years ago
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Thanks.

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Beatnik69 [320 posts] 2 years ago
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I'm not sure if Rob will read this thread or not but I'd like to wish him all the very best for his challenge. Unfortunately I'm not in his area or would offer to go on training rides with him.

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SteppenHerring [328 posts] 2 years ago
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Beatnik69 wrote:

I'm not sure if Rob will read this thread or not but I'd like to wish him all the very best for his challenge. Unfortunately I'm not in his area or would offer to go on training rides with him.

If Rob does read this, then if he could drop a mail to general [at] addiscombe.org then I will find people willing to ride with him.

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rob7777 [5 posts] 2 years ago
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Thank you all for your kinds words I hope to meet some of you one day. Rob

Take a look at Action Medical Research latest blog and read my inspirational story about taking part in the charity's toughest cycling cycling challenge, Action RIDE24 this September.

http://www.action.org.uk/blog/2014/07/11/paraplegic_man_takes_ultimate_c...

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rob7777 [5 posts] 2 years ago
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thank you so much for you kind words. Rob
http://www.action.org.uk/sponsor/raceforthedisabled

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rob7777 [5 posts] 2 years ago
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thank you for you kind words. Rob
http://www.action.org.uk/sponsor/raceforthedisabled