A couple of year’s ago, my daughter Elliot asked for a bike for her birthday, to replace her old, rather baby-ish trainer bike (all stabilisers and tassels and princesses).

She wanted to learn to ride properly. And she tried and she tried. We took her to lessons at the Manchester Velodrome. We encouraged her to have a ride with her younger brother (who had riding down to a tee). She sort of got it, but could not quite get it, if you know what I mean. It was too wobbly and the saddle was uncomfortable.

Elliot wanted to, but it was too much for her. The feeling of letting go upset her so much. The saddle was just not right and felt weird.

As many of my friends know, my daughter Elliot has got Asperger's syndrome. Whilst Asperger’s is not a learning disability, she finds many things that we all take for granted a huge challenge. Everyday tasks that we wouldn't think twice about can seem impossible to her, and doing them can even cause her physical pain, like going to the shops, or brushing her hair.

Elliot struggles with social interaction with everyone from her school friends, to even her Mum and I. But every day she's tries so hard to be the best person she can be. She tries so hard not to let her condition beat her and stop her doing things.

I wanted to do something to show her that she's not alone.


Now, I love riding my bike. Even it's just commuting into work to be a cheapskate. I love it. But I'd never done anything like Pedal to the Pier before. Like I said, commuting to work, the odd ride out at the weekend (if I get time), and a rare blast at a trail centre. That's about it.

But 100 km off road? Nope! Not me!

But I wanted to show Elliot that sometimes if you put your mind to something, you can do it. That we all, whether we have Asperger's, a learning disability, depression, or whatever, can get through pretty much anything.

So I did it and along the way I raised £280 to support the incredible work Mencap do with people with all forms of learning disabilities to make sure society is more inclusive and people with learning disabilities can live the life they choose.

If I did it, you definitely can!

Find out more

Has Matt's story inspired you? If so, you can sign up for Pedal to the Pier today!

Or, if you fancy something else, why not take a look at our Events pages? There's lot of different things for you to get involved in and try to raise some money to help support our work improving the lives of people with a learning disability.

If you have any questions, you can also speak to our Events Team:

Feeling inspired?

If Matt's story has inspired you then why not sign up to take part in this year's Pedal to the Pier event for Mencap?

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