Pushing the limits to achieve your goals
At Feros Care, we’re lucky to meet many wonderful people receiving NDIS support. One of these people is Grant Allen who has achieved many amazing feats throughout his 43 years. With a love of the outdoors and pushing the limits, Grant discovered a natural flare for BMX bike riding early on. It’s this everlasting passion which has been the source of some of his biggest adversities, and his greatest triumphs.
Navigating new challenges
Growing up on a farm in the small country town of Auburn, South Australia, Grant was always on his bike. After completing high school, he moved to Adelaide where his love of riding crossed over to his professional life. Grant began working in the bicycle industry while also participating in extreme mountain bike competitions such as the Red Bull Rampage in the Utah desert.
In 2011, while gearing up for an event, Grant sustained a spinal cord injury when he crashed riding at his local mountain bike park. He said that following the accident, Feros Care’s support through the NDIS was invaluable, working with him to establish his plan and tackle his new life as a paraplegic.
Grant’s first wheelchair wasn’t ideal, so his Local Area Coordinator (LAC) supported him through an assessment process to request funding for a more comfortable alternative that was appropriate for his lifestyle.
“One of the biggest things was getting that new wheelchair, a day chair which was better fitting, lighter weight and easier to transport,” Grant explains.
“I’ve never felt like I can’t get the help I need from Feros Care and the NDIS. Any needs have always been really well looked after.”
Despite the accident, it wasn’t long before Grant found his way back to bikes, and a career as a Para-cyclist soon followed.
With many highlights including appearing on the Red Bull Rampage and UCI Para Cycling World Cup podiums, one of Grant’s most incredible achievements has been his Tokyo 2020 Paralympics debut. Here he finished sixth in the men’s para-cycling road race H4 event, the realisation of a long-held goal.
“I was just short of being selected for the 2016 Games”, says Grant, something he describes as a catalyst for fueling his determination to take part in the Tokyo 2020 Games.
“I remember getting the call to say that I was selected, and it was a really big relief and a very cool feeling.”
The Games themselves were surreal for Grant in more ways than one, with Tokyo held during the height of the pandemic, at a time when international travel had otherwise come to a grinding halt.
For Grant, being involved in the Paralympics and getting to share the experience with really good friends, was further elevated by watching his partner Emily Petricola win gold in the women’s C4 para-cycling.
“It was incredibly amazing all-round; especially given the way the world was at the time.”
A passion for helping others
In something of a full circle moment, Grant now helps people on their own journey in his work as a disability equipment supplier for Push Mobility.
Grant’s work mainly involves matching people with disability to equipment that fits them and their lifestyle.
“We show people options and things that can make their lives better and more enjoyable,” he says.
Though the common objective of Grant’s role is helping people, there’s never a dull moment. Each day brings a fresh challenge, leading to the discovery of new ways to improve peoples’ lives.
“It can be anything and everything from doing an adaptive bike trial at a mountain bike riding spot, a home visit, measuring up a step or ramp for someone’s house, or sitting down paddle boarding with someone on the water.”
A life without limits
As a happy-go-lucky kind of guy, Grant attributes his positive mindset in part to ensuring there are always exciting things to look forward to. This ethos is proving especially true as he sets his sights on one of his most aspirational projects to date, to be the first person to successfully complete the challenge known as ‘Everesting’ on an adaptive bike.
The grueling challenge involves riding up and down the same hill continuously until you reach the elevation height of Mount Everest, a feat Grant estimates will take 30 hours from start to finish.
“It’s close to about 250 kilometres of riding, you have the climb over 8,848 meters of elevation, so it’s a pretty big undertaking that’s for sure. It’s something I’m excited about and looking forward to it.”
Words of wisdom
“I think one thing that I say to people all the time who have a newly acquired or diagnosed disability, is that things get better and improve with time.”
“It’s about finding the good, really going after it, and doing something that makes you happy.”
Having a disability is something Grant says has given him a greater appreciation for the things he can still do, such as finding new limits to push on the tracks and trails, a passion that he now shares with his 11-year-old daughter Ruby.
“The small things like having the ability to go on a ride with my daughter, to teach her and to share something that I enjoy, is just incredible. I really treasure it, and it’s not lost on me how lucky I am to be able to do that.”
Grant’s story shows that with the right support from the get-go, a positive attitude, and personal motivation, anything is possible.
You can keep up with Grant’s daring feats and mountain bike adventures on his Instagram.
If you’d like to find out how Feros Care can help you reach your goals, click here.