As a child suffering from haemophilia, David Thomson was effectively banned from riding a bike for fear of the consequences of any fall or knock.
But now, at the age of 54, the Inverness man is taking a recently-found love of cycling to one of the biggest stage sin Scotland.
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Mr Thomson was just six months old when he was diagnosed with haemophilia, a disorder which prevents the blood from clotting normally.
After a bike-free, “cotton wool” childhood, advances in medical treatment meant he could take to two wheels as an adult – and is now saddling up safely to compete in his second Etape Loch Ness.
He said: “As a child I had to watch all my friends playing on their bikes and for me it just wasn’t something I could do.
“My condition meant that I would spend weeks at a time in hospital. I would get out, and then a week or so later I would be back in again. Growing up, I was definitely the child who was wrapped up in cotton wool.
“Although by the time I was a teenager I used to sneak a go on my friends’ bikes without my parents knowing, I never thought I would ever be able to do something like this.
“I never imagined that taking part in something like Etape Loch Ness would ever be possible, so I suppose you could say I am finally living my childhood dreams.”
Around 5,600 riders will take part in the 66-mile challenge on April 28, taking in the breath taking scenery of Loch Ness.
Mr Thomson first signed up for the event back in 2015 but was unable to go ahead as he didn’t feel he was fit enough.
Despite hoping to compete the following year, the enthusiastic cyclist was involved in an accident, injuring his elbow and shattering his chances to take part.
He added: “I spent 2017 trying to get myself fit again, so it was 2018 – three years after first deciding that I would do it – that I managed to take part. It was a brilliant day and quite an emotional one too.
“I certainly don’t let my condition hold me back; I would say that it makes me careful and I perhaps ride more defensively so that I don’t fall off, but if I can complete Etape Loch Ness, anyone can.”