Disability news

Father and disabled son cycle 100km a day for a month

Nick and Rio watson on a bike

A father has completed a gruelling bike journey covering 100km over 30 consecutive days with his disabled son.

Nick Watson, 53 covered 3,075km around the Al Qudra race track in Dubai last month on an adapted bicycle with his 20-year-old son Rio sitting in an accessible seat for the RideWithRio challenge raising awareness to make society more inclusive.

They spent a total of 130 hours on the bike for the fundraiser organised by Team AngelWolf, founded by the Watson family.

The British family, including Nick’s wife Delphine and 16-year-old daughter Tia, moved to the United Arab Emirates [UAE] 25 years ago where they launched their non-profit foundation.

Nick Watson told The National: “The consecutive days during June always takes its toll because of the weather. We started early to beat the heat. That was a massive priority, especially for Rio.

“Every day, we would wake up at 2.15am and be on the bike by 3am. Rio absolutely loved it. Most of the days, he was up before I did.”

Nick and Rio had to ride four and a half hours every day in order to reach their daily 100km goal.

Rio was born with the rare chromosome disorder 1q44 microdeletion syndrome which affects his motor skills.

“Rio is susceptible to seizures,” Nick Watson explained.

“His health is top priority, which means I am checking on him throughout the ride. He has zero stress when we are on the bike. It is exactly the opposite.

“When we are moving, he is stimulated by what we do. He is safe, happy and content.”

It’s not the first time Nick and Rio have taken on such a challenge, far from it in fact! In 2021 they completed a 50km ultra marathon celebrating UAE’s 50th anniversary - but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

“We have so far done 500 races and covered almost 14,000km,” Nick Watson said.

“Sports is a lovely way to break down barriers and we are trying to promote the message of inclusivity by what we do.

“Sometimes families with children with disabilities feel a bit segregated. We want to encourage others to take part in these challenges or even go for a walk with their children, and feel accepted and included in the community.”

Nick and Tia, who is also a triathlete, raise inclusion awareness within their community under the Team AngelWolf’s “WolfPack Impact Talks” initiative funded by sponsorship which sees them highlighting the importance of overcoming physical challenges.

[ Damien Hirst designed the world's most expensive bike which was auctioned for $500,000 at Sotherby's. ]

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