As I lay in my hospital bed, I began to make plans. It wasn’t sport as such in the beginning, but always along the lines of What CAN I do, what challenges could I set myself and what adventures could I have in doing so.
My father had recently told me about one of my great ancestors on his side of the family. His great grandfather, Herbert Ernest Nicholls, had a brother called George. Little was known of George other than his journeys at sea and in my eyes and according to the family history books, George Nicholls was seen as some kind of adventurer. It was reported that George went overboard and was lost at sea on his way back from the Faulklands in 1890, leaving what was then a small fortune of £100 to his brother Herbert. Perhaps my favourite part of the story, when my great great grandfather, recklessly spent all the money with his wife as they took off to live in Paris, ironically my favourite city in the world.
I have always had adventure in my soul, as a child I would take off on my bike, not knowing where I was heading but for adventure, taking a left, then a right at every road junction I came to until I discovered my unknown destination. In my adult years adventure took its guise as adrenaline sports such as climbing, abseiling and mountain biking, white water rafting and sea kayaking. I had begun to turn my focus to adventure racing.
Getting quickly bored of the white walls and ceiling of my hospital ward, my thoughts began to sail further afield. It was very early days, and I didn’t know what was to be my future, but making plans and having a focus was what I needed right then, however long it would take me to get there. There was no timeline for the unknown that lay ahead of me.
I wanted to follow in great great uncle George’s footsteps, without getting lost at sea. I knew adventure was in my soul but it seems it might also have been in my blood after all.
I didn’t know where I wanted to go, but I knew it had to be wild. Once now a dedicated sportsperson, I didn’t have time take my big adventure all at once, but had decided I could at least start it. I opened up my Ordnance Survey map and scanned my chosen land. My finger landed on a small island, left of Glasgow and just off the west coast of Scotland.
Car loaded with wheelchair, racing chair and handbike, I began my journey to rediscover my adventure and to find out just what I was capable of. I set sail to the Isle of Arran.
My passion for endurance cycling and adventure go hand in hand. I take my training on the road throughout the beauty and wilds of the UK as well as further afield. Basing out of ‘Luna’ the campervan, my nomad athlete lifestyle is the perfect balance outside of the competition calendar, allowing me to train and ride in some of the wildest and most beautiful training grounds there are, alongside my own adventures of bike-packing, coastal paths, wild camping, sea kayaking, wild swimming, climbing and always aiming for the top of the mountain.
My adventures are told through writing and photography and can be found in my Storyteller blog.