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'I have taken back my life': Man with limited lung capacity describes cycling triumph

PUBLISHED: 12:33 23 May 2019

He said: “It’s no exaggeration to say that every pedal stroke felt like I was drowning.

He said: "It's no exaggeration to say that every pedal stroke felt like I was drowning." Picture: Contributed by Tim Gregory

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A business owner who was determined to give people with health struggles another chance to cycle has spoken of his triumph following a devastating diagnosis.

Tim Gregory, from Loddon was given two years to live after he was diagnosed with fibrosis of the lungs. Picture: Contributed by Tim GregoryTim Gregory, from Loddon was given two years to live after he was diagnosed with fibrosis of the lungs. Picture: Contributed by Tim Gregory

Ten years ago, Tim Gregory, from Loddon, was given two years to live after he was diagnosed with fibrosis of the lungs.

His life was saved, but it was at the cost of extremely scarred lungs which can only process around 30pc of oxygen as average healthy lungs.

However, the 51-year-old found a solution and has now launched an electric bike business named Smilebikes, which is based in Langley, to help the elderly, people with health limitations or those who are physically disabled to get on a bike.

At the age of 13, Mr Gregory fell in love with BMX bike riding, but said the sport caused him agony after his treatment.

"It's no exaggeration to say that every pedal stroke felt like I was drowning. I was determined that I would not live my life without cycling - I battled on," he said.

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Despite the physical barrier, he travelled to France and climbed the Tour de France mountains over a three-year period.

"Heartbreakingly, the combination of thousands of hours of suffering on the bike to achieve my goals and the mental stress that the illness had put me through all proved to be too much for both my body and my mind.

"For the first time in over 30 years I put the bike away," Mr Gregory said.

He picked up is bike again six months after to go mountain biking, but his lungs could not take the erratic changes.

"On my 50th birthday I sat with my bike in a heap on the ground gasping for air, watching my friends having fun on slopes that I was unable to ride. "For the first time I felt utterly defeated by my illness," he said.

At that moment, an electric mountain bike whizzed past him, within two week he had purchased one.

"It has given me my whole life back, without it I couldn't go on. I can finally say, me and this disease are equal now - I have taken back my life."

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