Dan is riding to help the medics who saved his life

May 29 2019
Dan is riding to help the medics who saved his life

A CYCLIST will pedal the length of the country to raise money for the medics who saved his life.

Dan Coles, 39, received emergency treatment after he crashed into a wall and suffered a serious head injury while out cycling.

He is embarking on a solo challenge from Land’s End to John O’Groats to raise funds for the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity after its paramedics saved his life.

In 2015 Dan, from Iron Acton, was out riding with a friend and about to descend Harptree Hill towards Chew Valley lake in the Mendips. Somehow he lost control of his bike, but he doesn’t remember what happened.

Dan, above, said: “When my friend got to the bottom he thought I must have had a puncture but after riding back up the hill he saw blood running down the road.

I believe, fortunately, the first people who stopped happened to be anaesthetists from the BRI who tried to do emergency first aid, but I wasn’t having it. When you have severe head trauma you are not yourself – you are in shock.”

Dan had a bleed on the brain, had fractured his pelvis, split his knee open and broken his shoulder plus the wrist and thumb of his right hand.


An x-ray shows the bolts needed to repair Dan's fractured pelvis

When the air ambulance arrived the paramedics tried to put lines into him but he wouldn’t let them. So the helicopter team flew off to collect a doctor. When they came back and Dan had been sedated, they found they couldn’t get him into the aircraft on a stretcher because of the angle of the blades. He had to be taken to hospital by a normal ambulance.

Dan said: “The Air Ambulance was scrambled and, in short, their critical care is the reason why I survived. When I found out how much it costs to launch the helicopter each time, I felt like I had had two goes, and I feel forever indebted to them.”

Dan left Southmead hospital after three weeks and had four months off work, then started thinking about how he could get fit and raise money. Before his accident he’d signed up for the Bristol to Bath marathon.

He said: “I was stubbornly thinking even if I shuffle across the line, I’m going to do it.”

Dan went on to do it in 3 hours 20 minutes. He now commutes by bike 30 miles a day to work and back, and he’s training for his next challenge, the unsupported ride from Land’s End to John O Groats. It’s always been on his bucket list to do it before he turns 40 this summer.

Dan said: “I’m going to do it over 11 days without a day off from the saddle so it will be 75-120 miles a day. Climbing the hills is the big thing so I’m doing anywhere between 1,600 metres and 3,000 metres climbing a day.”

Dan on his bike

Dan is hoping to raise over £2,000. He’s also a member of Acton Aid, an Iron Acton village group, which has chosen GWAAC as its charity to support this year.

Dan has four bikes – but he’s chosen to get back on the same bike that he was riding on that day in 2015 for the challenge.

You can find Dan’s JustGiving fundraising page online at bit.ly/2JSDUy1.