Handcyclist prepares for South Pole challenge

Yorkshire Post Monday 11 March 2013 

One of Team GB’s Paralympic success stories, Karen Darke is onto her next adventure and as Nicky Solloway discovers, a new generation of handcyclists look to be following suit.

Arm power has taken Karen Darke to some incredible places.

Since propelling her way to a silver medal on her handbike at the Paralympics Games in London 2012, the Halifax-born adventurer is now preparing to sit-ski a thousand kilometres to the South Pole.

The trip to Antarctica is just the latest in an amazing list of challenges she has set herself since becoming paralysed at the age of 21. They include climbing Mont Blanc, kayaking through Alaska and hand-cycling across the length of Japan.

Her list of adrenaline-fuelled conquests would be amazing feats for anyone, but are even more remarkable for someone confined to using her upper body strength alone. And now Karen’s story is inspiring a new generation of handcyclists up and down the country.

Hand biking in Britain has really taken off in the last 10 years. The Handcycling UK Association reports a big rise in the number of people signing up for taster days up and down the country and the association is now hoping to organise a handcycling event alongside the Tour de France when it comes to Yorkshire next year. Karen says she would love to be involved in it.

Read more: Feature on handcycling in Yorkshire Post