One of Scotland’s most determined sporting heroes has got back on a track bike for the first time since battling cancer once again.
Determined paralympian Dave Smith, from Aviemore – who is planning to return home this weekend – already has his next major target in sight.
He is to attempt the Route des Grandes Alpes, a gruelling 400-mile cycle across 17 of the highest mountains in France, and has set his mind on conquering the challenge in September with his old friend Ewan McCarthy from Kingussie and others.
The route between Thonon-les-Bains and Menton totals more than 50,000 feet of ascent.
Dave said he still has the all clear after an MRI scan showed no sign of a tumour that had threatened to crush his spinal cord.
And in recent days, he managed an hour of unsupported cycling at the British Cycling track in London and a 14-mile walk the following day – not bad for a man who is still paralysed in his left arm and partly in his left leg.
Last year, Dave, 37, had surgery to remove the tumour close to his spine.
He said that the MRI scan he was shown earlier this year was the first since 2013 not to reveal a tumour.
Dave said it was better than winning gold at the London Paralympics in 2012.
And he now he’s back on his bike.
“This time last year I was in a wheelchair – so to be back on a bike, the first time since February 2016, was something special. It was great,” said Dave.
“At first I was on a trike to build confidence and balance but I was soon on two wheels going round the track. It just felt really good.
“I’m now aiming to do more rehab and the Route des Grandes Alpes in September with a few friends. I want to also do a track classification race in Manchester at the end of the year.
“I feel an athlete again. I hope to come up to Aviemore at the weekend and ride some tandem with my friend Noel Baxter. It will be really special to come home again. I can’t thank people enough for all the support they have given me back home and elsewhere.”