Inspirational Ryan from Chapel St Leonards rides in his first triathlon

From left are Dalton Leong, chief executive at Childrens Trust, Ryan Smith (centre) and Mark Smith with medals. EMN-170821-144816001
From left are Dalton Leong, chief executive at Childrens Trust, Ryan Smith (centre) and Mark Smith with medals. EMN-170821-144816001

A Chapel St Leonards man, who suffered severe brain injuries in a cycling accident four years ago, has taken part in his first triathlon.

Ryan Smith, 20, and his Mark Smith, 48, cycled 20km on a dual bike as part of the Superhero Tri.

The Superhero Tri was held in honour of Children’s Trust, in Surrey, where Ryan underwent extensive rehabilitation for nine months following his accident.

Speaking on Monday, Mark Smith said: “It was a really good event. It was very stimulating and incredibly inspiring.”

Mark told The Standard that Ryan ‘absolutely loved it’ and that he told his dad he was ‘buzzing’.

Ryan, an ex Skegness Grammar pupil, suffered severe brain injuries in a cycling accident in 2013. He was not wearing a helmet.

He and his family then set up the Ryan Smith Foundation to raise money to assist those with brain injuries and their families and promote cycle helmet safety awareness.

The Ryan Smith Foundation is now looking forward to hosting the third Bikefest at Fantasy Island, in Ingoldmells.

Bikefest will start at 10am on Sunday, September 10.

Last year, 97 riders took part, but the Ryan Smith Foundation are hoping for 100 this year.

Riders can cycle either 50km or 100km.

Entry fee is £10 which includes refreshments en route, mobile support crew, First Aid facilities and a free all-day ride wristband for all participants.

Entry fees will be donated to the Ryan Smith Foundation in support of safer cycling. Helmets must be worn during this event.

Bikefest is organised in association with British Cycling.

Mark said: “It is a fantastic event. We can’t thank Fantasy Island enough.”

As a paramedic for East Midlands Ambulance Service, Mark, Ryan’s mum Julie, and Ryan’s sister Rachael juggle domestic care for Ryan.

Mark describes them as ‘the spine behind Ryan’.

The Ryan Smith Foundation also visit schools to give talks about the importance of cycle safety.

Mark said they must have visited more than 15 schools, and handed out 1,000 helmets. He said: “Cycling is close to our hearts, and is at the forefront of our minds.”

For more on Bikefest, visit www.fantasyislandresort.co.uk/events/bikefest or visit www.britishcycling.org.uk and search for Riding for Ryan 2017.