“You don’t have to be a world champion”

Meet Bristol Sight Loss Council member Steve Ewens. His life was turned around when he decided to take up tandem cycling after losing his sight due to Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP).

Steve talks about the positive difference cycling and sport has made in his life and shares why others should take up sport too.

Nine years ago, following years of gradual sight loss, Steve was feeling isolated. He no longer took part in sport – something he has always loved. Everything changed, however, when Steve got an email from a local charity asking if he wanted to get involved in tandem cycling.

He said:

“Once I made the initial contact with the cycling charity, Lifecycle UK, they welcomed me with open arms. They took away any concerns or fears I might have had about getting back on a bike again after 25 years of no riding. Once I had a go on the tandem, I threw myself completely into it.”

“I have never looked back since that first session. It was both the fact that I could get out and do some physical exercise but also take part in social events that were taking place and other opportunities like the walking. Going to that first cycling session has completely turned my life around.”

The improvements in Steve’s life since he started cycling nine years ago are truly significant. Not only is he now much fitter than he was previously, but he met a supportive community of fellow visually

impaired people who inspired him to get active a follow his passion for travel and sports.

Steve has taken part in a range of activities. He has walked in the mountains in Andorra, Bulgaria and up to Machu Pichu in Peru, as well as white water rafting in Croatia. Steve has kept up his cycling which eventually led to one of his greatest achievements.

He explains:

“My brother and I cycled from Land’s End to John O’Groats. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I never thought I would have done this. You just have to take that first step as you never know where things might lead.”

If others are thinking about getting a little bit more active, then Steve has a clear message for everyone: “What have you got to lose? You have got so little to lose – but so much to gain!

“Whatever sport or activity you get involved in, you don’t have to be a world champion. I got so much enjoyment and enrichment from simply taking part.”

You may also be interested in

Learn more about inclusive sports like blind tennis, blind cricket and tandem cycling.

Find out more about Becoming a Sight Loss Council member

Publication date: 12 March 2021

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