STORIES OF PARA-RIDERS IN RIO
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I’m Karen Darke. If I had to label myself I’d say I was an adventurer at heart and an athlete (amongst other things!).
I first took up handcycling not long after becoming paralysed from the chest down in a rock-climbing accident. In the twenty or so years since then, a handbike has become an extension of my body! I love all that it provides: exercise, freedom, fun, friends, fresh air, adventure…
I always rode a bike for pleasure, but since 2009, when I started training seriously to try to get to the London 2012 Paralympics, it has become a passion, an obsession and a profession!
I traded in my office job for the bike in 2011 and have been pedaling in circles ever since. After winning a Silver medal at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, I’m hoping to upgrade at Rio 2016.
Making A Film
After losing the ability to walk, cycling has enabled me to be active and healthy, and added so much to my life. I am passionate about the positive impact that cycling can have for everyone, but particularly with a disability where your mobility is perhaps limited in some way.
I really want to show some of the behind the scenes stories of the paracyclists at Rio 2016, many of whom I know have come through great personal challenges to be there competing.
I’ve invited Lina and Luis from Al Aire Films to accompany me to Rio for the Paralympics to make a film that shows the emotions, good-feelings, and challenges that para-cycling generates.
They are giving all of their time and film-making skills voluntarily, but there are some expenses to get to Rio and make the film.
Unfortunately we can’t promise full coverage of races as we have no official Paralympic press access, and some athletes may be in ‘lock-down’ mode pre-racing. But, we want to create a film about the back story.
We are looking forward to capturing the Brazilian atmosphere with footage you won’t see on the official Paralympics transmissions.
We are also trying to plan a greet & meet event with local associations of physical disabilities, to surprise kids & young people, say hello and perhaps let them try a handbike!
If you want to know about what a Al Aire Films video can emotionally show, have look at the video below ‘Behind the Line – Mallorca Handbike Tour’.
If you want to know more about me you can check out www.karendarke.com
If you’re still reading, thank you for supporting this far. We know not everyone can contribute financially, but if there is any other way you can help, by sharing or making some noise about what we are aiming to create, that would be great.
2015 - Handbike across Cuba
2014 - Completes 'I'MPOSSIBLE' Ironman 13h 55m.
2014 - High Altitude Handbike from Tibet to Nepal
2009 & 2012 - World Paratriathlon Champion
2009 - Sea Kayaking Exped in Patagonia
2007 - Climbs El Capitan
2006 - Sit-ski across Greenland
2000 - Handbike the length of Japan
+Thank Yous and Updates
We'd like to say a big 'thank you' to all of our supporters for helping to make this happen!
Simon King, Peter Wilbourne, Sian Pinheiro-Torres, Petra Witowski, Taryn Al-mashgari, Lauren Gent, Dan Carpenter, Janet Carter, Rachael King, John Carmichael, Elaine Simpson, Alison Moore, Andre Phillips, Highbury Jackson, Glenda Hyslop, Mark Brooks, Ralph Thornber, Gus Mackenzie, Harden Carter, Francisca Philip, Adam Johnston, Gawain Morrison, Fiona Epstein, Jon Bowring, Ken Bailey, Deborah Webb, Marcus Brook, Kristina High, Carla Tennant, Alan Lamberton, Tiffany Crane, Megan Musgrove, Margaret McKeen, Angelica Kroeger, Natalie Gillespie, Donna Clayton, Elizabeth Rooke, Karen Crawford, Philip Donnelly, Francesca Scott, Anne Duinhoven, John Trowell, Richard Hewison, Euan Richardson, Richard Pearson, Andy Johnson & Peter Hill!
And also a big thank you for all the supporters of our first crowdfunding project in indiegogo!
Rebi Es-Punkt, Oma Elfriede, Chris & Mike Darke, Gabi & Klaus Es-Punkt, Duncan Wilson, Stewart Spence, Hannah Dines, Lucy Owen, Veit Rotthoff, ictl7, Diana Pres, lozhinton, Simon Darke, Margaret, Lucy Wallace, Robert Edwards, Christine, Ian Will, di.alt, Katie Gibson, Pete Stanton, helenandjd, tharwoodsmith, Craigie & Lesley, Mark Wright, irosie, kbenny2.
And a very special thanks from heart to all 'Anonymous' for believing in this project!
Back home and starting to edit the video material
Dear supporters, Brasil was an astonish experience for us! We did our very best to catch the atmosphere during the races; on the one hand the athletes that we would have almost no contact to them, because they had to focus and highly concentrate on their races. If you check the map, the races were taken place at Pontal, it's a 1 hour drive from Rio de Janeiro. We also tried to catch the normal and every day atmosphere of the locals that were sun bathing at the beach or surfing while next to them the cycling athletes fought for their best during the competitions. As you might already know, Karen Darke won gold at the road race competition! We filmed the race, the moment when she realised she won the medal and the ceremony afterwards. After competitions were completed, we invited Karen, her brother and mother and some friends of hers to finally get out of the paralympic village and just enjoy a nice day visiting Rio de Janeiro. We drove up the sugarloaf and the Corcovado mountain to see the famous Christ statue. It was a nice day for everybody and Karen shared with us her inner thoughts and feelings about the races, faith and the meaning of the Paralympics to her. Of course it is all filmed and as an image can describe better than a thousand words: we are now editing the material to show as soon as possible the result! Some of you might already had a surprise in the letterbox? Thank you for trusting in us and also for your patience.