Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Neil Fachie is still dreaming of further medals as he grapples with dirty nappies

The multi-medal-winning para-cyclist from Aberdeen recently became a father, but he still has his heart set on pursuing more prizes.
Neil Drysdale
Neil Fachie, his wife Lora, and baby son Fraser at their north-east home.
Neil Fachie, his wife Lora, and baby son Fraser at their north-east home.

It was one of the most memorable images from the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics; the spectacle of the north-east’s champions taking part in a bus parade around Aberdeen and being shown their golden post boxes.

Even before that memorable ceremony, tandem cyclist extraordinaire, Neil Fachie, had already picked up a little matter matter of four gold medals on the global stage, but the former physics graduate has exploded into the stratosphere ever since with an astonishing series of performances at the Paralympic and Commonwealth Games – and he hasn’t ruled out pursuing more honours in the next three years.

With some people, you might imagine they were fighting a losing battle with the old man with the scythe, but while Neil and his wife Lora – an acclaimed cyclist in her own right – celebrated the arrival of their son, Fraser, last November, there’s no sense of this man slowing down at 38 or saying au revoir to the velodrome.

Yes, the curtain will fall at some stage. But it’s not going to happen anytime soon.

Neil and Lora Fachie spoke about their careers and para-sport at Inverurie Town Hall. Pic: Kenny Elrick.

‘Nobody was sleeping much’

Fatherhood has brought its own challenges, but it’s typical of Neil’s stakhanovite approach to life that he regards obstacles simply as new mountains to conquer, not least because he is utterly devoted to Lora and the couple’s little bundle of joy.

He said: “It has definitely been a challenge. The first couple of months were brutal, nobody was sleeping much and it made training a bit of a non-event at times.

“But, as Fraser has grown up a little and we have found our routine, it has been great. My time to train is more limited, but it has meant that I am much more focused on getting the session done and getting back to my boy.

‘Grandparents will be a huge help’

“I’m still not sleeping as much as I would like, but as most parents will know, you learn to perform on less sleep. We also bought Fraser a little dumbbell and kettlebell for when he decides to join me in the gym and he has already kept me company through a few of those home gym sessions.

“The real challenge will come when we get into competition. But with both Lora and I often competing on the same day, the grandparents will be a huge help.”

Aberdeen medal hopeful Neil Fachie. Photo by Jeff Holmes JSHPIX/Shutterstock (12958514n)
Aberdeen’s Neil Fachie has won five Commonwealth Games gold medals. Pic: Jeff Holmes JSHPIX/Shutterstock

It may be difficult for some people to comprehend why Neil is so motivated to carry on training relentlessly when he has no less than five Commonwealth Games golds in his possession from Glasgow in 2014 all the way through to Birmingham last summer. Yet, when asked why it mattered so much, his response was exemplary.

He said: “I’ve been really keen to push the boundaries of parasport, because I think it’s important to highlight what people with a disability, particularly those with a visual impairment [he has a congenital eye condition, retinitis pigmentosa] are capable of.

“I’m also aware that there’s no buzz quite like racing in front of a full crowd and I want to keep experiencing that as much as I possibly can. I’m not getting any younger and I know that this won’t last forever.

Gunning for a fourth Commonwealth Games

“There are some big events on the horizon though, firstly the World Championships in Glasgow this summer. It’s going to be a huge event with all cycling disciplines coming together, both able-bodied and parasport, for a cycling games.

“Racing in Scotland in front of the home fans is  like nothing else. After that, we have got the 2024 Paralympics in Paris next year. Beyond that, I’m not sure, but I would love to represent Scotland again in 2026 at the Commonwealth Games [in Australia].

“I’ll be 42 by then, but if I can still do it, why wouldn’t I go for it?”

It was such a tonic to witness Neil transcending illness and a far from ideal preparation for the event to claim a record-equalling fifth Commonwealth Games gold.

The cyclist had been struggling with a cold right up to the competition and had lost his voice by the time it came to the tandem B 1km time trial But, undaunted by the expectations heaped on his shoulders, he and his compatriot, Lewis Stewart, produced a blistering display to add another gold to his abundance of prizes.

In many respects, it was a microcosm of his career. There’s nothing straightforward about elite sport, but this diminutive character has the right stuff when he needs it.

Not that it doesn’t mean he is adapting to new circumstances and domestic chores.

We still have to pay the mortgage

As he said: “I certainly wouldn’t consider myself to be anyone special. I was just lucky to find the thing I am good at and it has been an incredible journey.

“However, I still have to pay the mortgage and the bills like everyone else. I still have to change stinky nappies in the middle of the night as well.

“I do feel that having a visual impairment has meant that I have always had to fight a little harder for things and that is probably why I’ve always been so focused.

“Fraser is probably visually impaired too and I want to lead by example and show him that if he puts his mind to it, he is capable of anything.”

Neil and Lora Fachie with their Rio Paralympics medals.

Neil has written a book Earn Your Stripes, with a fulsome foreword by fellow Scottish cycling maestro, Chris Hoy.

He received an MBE in 2013 and OBE in 2022 and has a wealth of medals, but there’s not a trace of arrogance in his make-up. Egos are parked firmly at the door in this family.

He said: “Yeah, it [the book] was quite a nice thing to look back over my career, it’s not something we usually do. I have definitely learned a lot and I am still learning.

He was sick before his first race

“I think the key things have been how to cope in high stress situations, how to perform even on those days when I don’t fancy it, and how to get the most out of myself.

“I have come a long way, really, but I vividly remember the first race I did on TV.”

Neil added: “I was still in athletics back then, racing over 100m and I was so nervous that, on the way to the start line, I was sick, which is obviously not ideal before a race.”

“I still get nervous these days and I get bombarded with negative thoughts before every race, but I know what to expect now and I’ve learned to use it to aid my performance rather than hinder it.”

It’s a time-honoured adage in sport, in showbusiness, in life itself. If you don’t have butterflies in your stomach or if you think you’ve mastered something to the nth degree, you should probably pack it in and pull on your slippers.

Just don’t mention the latter to Neil Fachie.

Further information about the book is available at

Neil Fachie has huge admiration for Sir Chris Hoy.


  1. What book are you reading? I’ve just started ‘An Officer, Not a Gentleman’ by Mandy Hickson, one of the UKs first female, fast-jet pilots.
  2. Who’s your hero/heroine? Chris Hoy. Absolute sporting great and a truly humble, down-to-earth guy.
  3. Do you speak any foreign languages? I learned German at school. I think I still ‘spreche’ a little.
  4. What’s your favourite band or music? I’m a fan of rock music. Favourite band, Biffy Clyro. Mon the Biff!
  5. What’s your most treasured possession? I should probably say one of my medals or my son, but probably my lego Bugatti, that thing is beautiful.