A new deaf cycling group has emerged in NSW. They have been going to cycling events such as the MS Sydney to Gong ride, the Spring Classic and the Mudgee Classic rides. One man from a small group of people who recently set up an affiliated sport (cycling) club under NSW Deaf Sports, was interviewed by Deaf Sports Australia. David Parker shares his story.

As a young boy, David Parker loved to cycle. He’s had a few bikes in the past. It was until 2017 that Mr Parker began riding on a regular basis after being invited by a friend to go cycling. He had the intention of doing the MS Gong 83km ride that same year. “When I first cycled 5km, my heart was beating like crazy, and I was breathless! I thought, “How can I do the MS Gong ride? Nah, do it step-by-step.” So, over time, I gradually became more fit and could cycle longer and longer,” said Parker.

Mr Parker admits that having friends do help him get involved and feel motivated. With a good support system in place, Parker and his friends were able to eventually instil an interest in cycling amongst other peers. “We consistently hosted a large group of deaf and Auslan riders for the MS Sydney to Gong ride. I have [also] done the “Ride for Autism” twice to help raise money. We have built up a good rapport for social road biking,” Parker added.

Parker said the 120km Mudgee Classic 2021 was his personal achievement. Twenty riders came out to participate in the Mudgee Classic. “Nine of us did the 120km Classic [and 11 of us] did the 35km social ride. Prior to the event, I had a few setbacks so once I set my mind to it, I was able to do the 120km despite not being optimally fit.”

Parker believes that cycling is a great way for deaf people to get together, enjoy the ride and scenery while getting fit at the same time. “It is great for the heart. The freedom, the joy, breathing in the fresh air and having coffee with friends. You’d get to see more of the places that you miss when you drive. Watching Tour De France and other cycling classics on TV is also very exciting, not to mention quite a few late nighters!”

Auslan on wheels is the name of the road cycling club affiliated with NSW Deaf Sports. The club’s goal is to have a regular cycling group for deaf, hard of hearing people and Auslan users. To join Auslan on wheels, contact NSW Deaf Sports at nsw@deafsports.org.au.

Media contact:
Lauren Townsend