A bridge Too Far; or is it!?

Roch Rochester received a welfare grant in David’s name, through Help for Heroes, as a means to purchase a specialist hand mountain bike in 2017. Since then, Roch has fully grasped the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors with his family and utilise cycling as a means of therapy. As it turns out, Roch has recently taken on a momentous endurance challenge with his mountain hand bike and covered over 200 miles, from Koblenz to Arnhem, earlier this year.

Roch has described his experience below;

“The road to recovery takes some twists and turns. The Captain David Seath Memorial Fund financed a mountain hand bike as a means to enjoy some time with my children out on the trails of Dartmoor. This was my goal and the joy that has provided is immeasurable. Well, not in the wealth most things in life are measured but, in my case, it is wealth in family time.

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“So, to the bridge too far… I put my name down for a cycle challenge with BLESMA. Having a spinal cord injury, I am in fact a member of this charity. The challenge was to ride down the Rhine from Koblenz to Arnhem in Holland. I say a ride down the Rhine… there where a lot of up hills also. Well, it’s only 200 miles and the opportunity to get to Arnhem for the 75th anniversary of operation market garden.  Being an ex 7 Para Royal Horse Artillery man, I would get to see some of my other brothers from other mothers. My pre-training consisted of more time on penicillin than on the bike.  This due to the metal in my legs which causes bouts of cellulitis. So, the training went well but I was determined to get there.

“So, we started the morning of the 15th September with the target to reach the bridge too far in Arnhem on Friday 20th September. We had a mixed group of injuries ranging from spinal cord injuries single, double and triple amputees. This was a fine site for the locals to try and take in. Riding down the cycle ways of Germany with all the Brexit wrestling happening and us going past flaying the union flag and our own corps flags.

“But anyway, what a challenge, not just physically but mentally for myself. Koln was the halfway point this was one of the hardest days for me where I tend to lose the feeling in the hands complete. I tend to overwork the shoulders so, I was contemplating duct taping the hands to the hand grips. We had to ride the streets of Dusseldorf and Duisburg if you haven’t been there. We shall we say being so low down to the floor I think I developed tram tourette’s.

“Yes, lots of Blesma tops worn as this charity organised and financed the trip. But without the funding from David’s memorial fund it would have taken years of building myself back up to the point I am at now and, without the help from many of the military charities, this would have been a bridge too far.   

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“So, keep up your fantastic work I am always deeply in debt to you all. Every day David is in my thoughts as get on my bike and my horizon expands.”

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