Former Horsforth student has set his goal with handbike challenge

Tommy Holgate preparing for his fundraising handbike ride

Tommy Holgate preparing for his fundraising handbike ride

First published in Local news Wharfedale Observer: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A comedian is cycling 1,400 miles on a handbike to raise money for Sport Relief.

Former Leeds Trinity student Tommy Holgate was inspired by paralympians to take on the challenge of riding from John O’Groats to Land’s End.

Tommy, who works as a stand-up comedian, comedy journalist and presenter for Sun TV, will spend 20 days riding on cycle paths and country lanes.

The former president of the student’s union of Leeds Trinity, which is based in Horsforth, graduated in 2008.

He said: “I have always been keen to push the body to its limits, but have never really had the chance due to work. I’m taking this year’s Fringe off, so it’s freed me up to train and promote this adventure.

“I wanted to use a handbike because I remember seeing them on the Paralympics when I was a kid and thinking ‘how are they doing that with their arms?’ “When I found out a lot of them were amputees, I thought ‘what, and then they go and train to be as fit as an Olympian? Legends!’ “So I’m keen to communicate how admirable people are who refuse to give in to perceived setbacks and go on to achieve incredible things.”

He added: “I interviewed double Olympic gold medallist Daley Thompson for a 1980s crisps promotion in The Sun and took the opportunity to ask him some advice afterwards.

“He told me that once you have the goal in mind, you just get it done. And coming from a double gold medallist, that sounds like advice I would like to take.”

Tommy said: “I’m nervously excited by all this. Occasionally when I catch myself explaining the idea to somebody and see their face looking back, I think ‘Oh dear’, but then when I go out on the bike the next morning, I love it so much that I then think ‘I can’t believe this is how I get to spend my time – this is amazing.’ “It’s safe to say, though, that every ounce of me feels like this is the absolute right thing to be doing right now.”

Visit the website my.sportrelief.com/sponsor/ tommyholgate to sponsor Tommy, or go to tommyhandbike.blogspot.co.uk to find out more about the challenge.

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