A challenge like no other

This section of the page features an image gallery, so if you're using a screen reader you may wish to jump to the main content.

In June last year Matt Hopkins sat in the coastal town of Whitby, enjoying some well-deserved fish and chips. He had just cycled 150 miles, completing the Coast to Coast challenge in less than 12 hours.

But four years earlier Matt wasn’t celebrating. Having suffered a climbing accident, he was initially told that it was uncertain if he would ever walk again. He had broken his back and his pelvis.

Recovery and triumph
‘Three years after my accident I decided I wanted to see what my body could do. I was able to walk but my back and my core were very weak. I used to do a lot of running but I decided to try cycling as this has a lower impact on your body.

‘I trained for 18 weeks before the race – slowly building up from 18 to 90 miles. Before the race I was doing 50 mile rides, four times a week.

‘The hardest thing about the Coast to Coast was the pain. It hurt a lot. A friend of mine did the ride with me and it really helped having someone to talk to.’

'The best thing was being outside on my bike in good weather, with a great friend. The scenery was spectacular and although it was tough I felt elated by the achievement after my injury.'
- Matt Hopkins

The best cycling spot
Buttermere is my favourite spot to cycle in the Lakes, but I love exploring all over the Lake District. The views are different every day. You only have to cycle a few miles and suddenly you feel more relaxed.’

More about the Lake District

Outdoor adventures for all
Matt is now an instructor at the Calvert Trust in the Lake District. This residential centre has over 35 years’ experience delivering challenging outdoor adventure holidays for people with disabilities.

More about the Calvert Trust
 
Many thanks to Matt Hopkins for sharing his story and to James Kirby for the photo of Matt.

Read more stories like this
Sandra Pryor shares her experience: conquering mountains on crutches.