Suffolk: Back in the saddle after a crippling forest crash

Julian Evans is set to take part in the London to Brighton bike ride.

Julian Evans is set to take part in the London to Brighton bike ride. - Credit: Archant

WHEN Julian Evans suffered a crippling back injury while cycling off-road in Thetford Forest in 2011 he set himself a challenge to get back on his bike and complete a big challenge.

Apart from the pain he suffered he also broke a few other things... his saddle and bike seat stem.

He was unable to walk after the accident and frequently suffered loss of feeling in his limbs. Following spinal surgery at the Nuffield Hospital, in Ipswich, he was determined to get on his feet and back on his bike.

Now the sales director for Archant in west Suffolk and south Norfolk is in training for the London to Brighton ride.

He said: “My surgeon, Doug Hay, was brilliant, the surgery was a scary option but one that I had no real choice about; movement was agony on a scale that few would understand.

“I was clear and determined that I would ride again. I believe that keeping a positive and focused approach aided my recovery.”

Immediately following the surgery the 47-year-old, who lives in Wickham Market, noticed an incredible difference. He entered the hospital in a wheelchair and two days later walked out, albeit gingerly. From that day he set about regaining his fitness.

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“I am a competitive individual and worked under the close guidance of Andrew Gilmour, an osteopath and spinal specialist, who was very strict about what he would let me do and when. The first instruction was to do nothing for what felt like ages. I know they had the measure of me when I got home to find they had called my wife and told her my recovery plan – there was no sneaking out for a ride for me.”

It has taken Julian a long time to get to a position where he feels confident about riding the 54 miles between London and Brighton.

The road to recovery has taken three years and in this time Julian has tested his body to the full and found his limitations.

“I was lucky to get help from Darren Thomas at Cycle Revolution, in Foxhall Road, Ipswich; he made up a bike specifically for me working to my needs and budget.

“We created a full suspension off-road bike with air suspension systems that could be adjusted to provide the cushioning that I needed in the early days.”

The ride takes place on June 16 and he is aiming to raise £500 for the British Heart Foundation.

To donate go to https://www.justgiving.com/thegingerrider alternatively there are sponsor forms in Archant’s Bury St Edmunds, Sudbury and Stowmarket offices.