Claire Lomas has talked about the rush she got from riding a motorbike for the first time in her life despite being paralysed from the waist down.
The 34-year-old, who lives at Eye Kettleby, suffered her devastating injury in a horse riding accident almost eight years ago but she has refused to live her entire life confined to a wheelchair.
Claire has walked the London Marathon in a robotic suit and handcycled 400 miles across England as part of a fundraising campaign for the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation (NSIF), which seeks a cure for paralysis, and her hobbies include mono-skiing, where she reaches speeds of up to 55mph on downhill snow slopes.
Whe she was offered the chance to ride an adapted high-powered 850cc motorcycle through The Bike Experience - which helps disabled motorcyclists to ride again - Claire did not hesitate to take it up.
After her ride, on Monday at the Donington Park circuit near Leicester, she said: “It was very hard to balance at first because I couldn’t feel the bike beneath me and, because I’m paralysed, I couldn’t just put my feet on the floor when I felt I was losing my balance. But eventually I was flying around at about 90km per hour and it was great.”
To help Claire, initially, she rode a 150cc bike with stabilisers at low speeds but impressed her instructors by quickly progressing to the 850cc bike. She said activities like the mono-ski and motorcycle riding had replaced the adrenaline rush she enjoyed as a high class three day eventer before her injury.
She added: “I’m going to Silverstone next month to have another go on a bike. They’ve asked me if I was interested in joining their race team but that is a long way down the line at this stage.”
Claire, who is mum to young daughter Maisie, has raised almost £500,000 for the NSIF charity. Her next big fundraiser is Ride2Recovery, on June 14, where she will ride a trike motorcycle on a sponsored ride out from Eye Kettleby Lakes. She is hoping others will join and that sponsors will pledge a minimum £5 donation, which can be done online at www.claireschallenge.co.uk