Megan’s hand-cycling adventures

Megan's handcycling adventures

Pictured: Megan exploring the Victorian outdoors on her hand-cycle.

Premier’s Active April is all about finding a type of exercise that you enjoy and is right for you. Some people love to go hiking, biking or in 30-year-old Megan’s case – hand-cycling.

Megan is an adaptive mountain biker who hand-cycled to Cope Aqueduct and the Tawonga Huts in January. On her adventure she stayed at YMCA Howmans Gap Alpine Centre located in Falls Creek, home of the local Dhudhuroa and Jaitmathang people.

“I love everything about the outdoors. The peace and quiet, the adventure and the fresh air. It’s surprisingly accessible in nature and usually it’s the man-made obstacles that cause all the issues,” she said.

During her two-night stay at YMCA Howmans Gap, Megan cycled 34 kilometres, climbing Pretty Valley Lake over the windswept ridge to Tawonga Huts nestled at the base of Mt Jaitmathang. She did this with her trusty hand-cycle – which is a type of bike pedalled by your arms, usually used by people who are paraplegic, or have a disability or mobility issues. Megan’s hand-cycle is specially made for cross country, making it perfect for the sometimes rugged terrain in the area.

“Hand-cycling is a great way to get out and exercise away from a wheelchair and see the outdoors. Nature is the best medicine you can have,” she said.

Megan got a huge dose of nature during her adventure while taking advantage of YMCA Howmans Gap Alpine Centre’s Accessible Accommodation building located close to the trail.

The $3.79 million Victorian Government funded building opened last year in partnership with Disabled Wintersport Australia and is Australia’s first dedicated alpine accommodation for people with a disability and athlete training base.

“The building is cleverly designed and not too “disabled” so you could easily take a group of friends or family to stay there,” she said.

Megan is currently busy renovating her house in Tolmie near Mount Buller, but foresees plans to head back to the area and ride the Mt McKay trail, the Historic Huts loop and explore more long distance back country trails.

For those thinking of having a crack on the trails, Megan encourages you to go for it!

“Look for information, ring the parks and speak to someone, try and head out with someone in case you need a hand and just give it a go, worse case you turn back and try something different.

“Then provide feedback about what was good and what wasn't, so hopefully someone in the future can use the trail as well,” she said.

At YMCA Victoria, we believe that encouraging all Victorians to get active is a worthy goal. That’s why we are a proud partner of Premier’s Active April, an initiative that promotes healthier and active lifestyles.

Sign up to Premier’s Active April to track your physical activity through the month of April. It’s free to sign up and there are lots of offers and prizes, including a 10 Visit Pass Card to use at your local YMCA centre.