A FORMER top rock climber who suffered a spinal cord injury when he crashed his bike on the way to work in Sheffield is back in the saddle for a coast-to-coast challenge.
Dad-of-one Neil Bentley, aged 42, from Beauchief, was injured in the smash on Abbeydale Road as he cycled to the Foundry Climbing Centre on Mowbray Street, where he works as manager.
He underwent spinal cord surgery last year and is now planning to cycle the 140-mile route between Seascale in Cumbria and Whitby in North Yorkshire in a day – to raise funds for spinal cord charity Aspire.
Neil, who will be cycling with friend Simon Dale, said: “We are hoping to get around in under 10 hours – wind permitting.
“I am raising funds for Aspire which helps people after spinal cord injury.
“A couple of years ago I damaged my spine in a bike crash, which probably added to damage from a climbing accident a few years before.
“I received excellent care once I went to the doctor with my symptoms and after surgery I have been lucky to avoid permanent serious spinal cord injury.”
The challenge is organised by opencycling.com and there will be food stops along the way.
Neil, who lives with his wife Philippa Thompson and their son Tom, seven, said: “I have been looking for an opportunity to raise money for Aspire now I am back to fitness.
“The charity helps people with spinal cord injury providing converted housing, assistive technology, grants for equipment and campaigning for those with spinal injuries.
Neil is aiming to raise £1,000 and has so far collected more than £800.
n To sponsor Neil, visit www.justgiving.com/Neil-Bentley2