Team GB’s Toby swaps bobsleigh for bikes to support disabled cyclists

12 September 2018

Toby Olubi with wheels for all participant paula merrimanTeam GB bobsleigh star Toby Olubi paid a surprise visit to cyclists at Gloucestershire Wheels for All, the inclusive cycling project run by leading disability charity Leonard Cheshire.

Toby, a Gloucester resident and Winter Olympian, returned to Wheels for All last week at their new location in the Forest of Dean.

Toby often trains at another Wheels for All hotspot, the Blackbridge Athletics track, where he first traded the bobsleigh for the bike.

In April he rode five miles with two disabled cyclists on specially adapted bikes, helping to raise £750 for Sport Relief.

A key member of GB’s four-man bobsleigh team, Toby famously self-funded his Olympic journey to South Korea by appearing on Deal or No Deal and several other TV game shows. 

While he did not quite get the medal he craved this winter, he is clearly finding some extra motivation through his time with Wheels for All.

Toby said: 

'After a disappointing Olympics, Wheels for All inspired me to keep going and to grab life by the horns likes its participants.

'You’ll always find the participants with a smile on their faces as this project gives them the scope to explore their athleticism, using a great setup that is not always available elsewhere. I found their positivity to be contagious.'

Since launching in 2014, Leonard Cheshire’s inclusive cycling project has supported almost 2,000 disabled and non-disabled people to come together, and recently expanded from Blackbridge to the Forest of Dean’s Cannop Cycle Centre.

Mary Clare Faulkner, who runs Gloucestershire Wheels for All, said:

'Margaret, who has MS, comes as often as she can with her husband as it is the only chance they get to exercise together in the fresh air. Until she tried out one of our recumbent Trikes Margaret was limited to using a scooter, which didn’t give her any exercise.

'Now, for the first time in her life, she has discovered the joys of cycling alongside her husband as he walks their dogs – and she finds it exhilarating and life-enhancing. 

'It’s thanks to support and funding from Cycling Projects, Pedal A Bike Away, the Forestry Commission, Active Gloucestershire and The Barnwood Trust – who were all with us on this journey -  that this has been made possible.'

Martin Hawkins, Head of Social Sustainability at the Barnwood Trust, said:

'Cannop Cycle Centre is a wonderful place to enjoy the Forest of Dean on wheels.

'We are delighted to see that our funding will enable the various adapted bikes to be stored easily so that as many people as possible have the opportunity to get out and about on their bikes.'

Media enquiries

For additional information, contact Nick Bishop in Leonard Cheshire’s external communications team on 07889 976 267 or nick.bishop@leonardcheshire.org. Out of hours press office mobile: 07903 949 388.