A Moray woman who suffers from arthritis, fibromyalgia and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and normally uses a wheelchair or mobility scooter to get about has scaled Ben Rinnes on an e-bike. Karen Cox, who calls herself The Wobbly Cyclist, was raising money for Outfit Moray, the outdoor learning and adventure charity who first persuaded her to give an e-bike a try.
Cox’s condition leaves her in pain, with chronic fatigue and balance issues. She told the Press and Journal that while she’d always wanted to get to the 841m summit of Ben Rinnes, she wouldn’t have been able to complete the journey on foot.
“If it wasn’t for the e-bike I wouldn’t be cycling,” she said. “I would never have achieved that.
“I’ve lived in Lossiemouth for 26 years and have always seen Ben Rinnes in the distance – I wanted to see Lossiemouth from Ben Rinnes.
“But the children were too young and then my health declined and it became physically impossible for me to walk up. I didn’t think I would ever do it.”
The challenge required lots of training rides and learning new skills. “I don't know how or if my body will cope, but I am going to give it my best shot,” she said beforehand.
Still not got the hang of gear selection!— Wobbly Cyclist (@CoxandClan) May 29, 2021
Nothing broken and it's all part of my training to get up Ben Rinnes this summer to raise funds for @OutfitMoray@FSFDP
Virgin Money Giving page: https://t.co/qXQCUKvOzP#BeYouByBike #BikeWeekUK@WeAreCyclingUK pic.twitter.com/ZhhU7EfM1g
Despite the e-bike, Cox still struggled with the steepest sections, but she was helped to the summit by a team of friends, family and colleagues.
Yesterday, I was pushed, pulled and physically supported to achieve a long term dream & reach the top of Ben Rinnes thanks to my amazing family & @OutfitMoray friends.— Wobbly Cyclist (@CoxandClan) August 16, 2021
Thank you! ❤️@Wolfsmoon@ryanitis_ @chrsphr @AnnaVince3https://t.co/qXQCUKvOzP #BeYouByBike pic.twitter.com/AmW7yTHGjg
“When I’m on my mobility scooter I feel disabled but when I am on my bike I’m a cyclist,” she said. “And I’m definitely a mountain biker. I love that feeling of going on tracks and trails.
“There was low cloud when we went up but it cleared when we got to the top and the sun bounced off the Lossiemouth lighthouse. It was an amazing feeling.”
You can find Cox’s fundraising page here.