Andrew Paddison, from Welshpool, is cycling all the way from Land’s End to John O’Groats this July, to raise money for three different charities; all on a hand-propelled bike.

The cycle ride, from the most southern point of mainland England, Land’s End in Cornwall, to the most northern point of mainland Scotland, in Caithness, is a popular challenge for keen cyclists.

Unlike the majority who take on the 874 mile ride, Andrew will be riding a hand propelled bike.

But he’s by no means the first to do this. This June, paralympian Mel Nicholls smashed the record, for both men and women, completing the challenge in just six days.

What makes Andrew different to most hand cyclists is that he doesn’t have the full use of his arms. In fact, being a person affected by thalidomide, he doesn’t have full arms at all.

“The majority of hand cyclists can use their whole upper body. They’ve got elbows and full arms. I haven’t,” he says.

In the 1950s, a drug was developed to help people sleep and combat the effects of morning sickness in pregnant women. The drug, thalidomide, resulted in babies being born with malformed limbs. As soon as the impact was made known, the drug was banned. But the damage was already done, and more than 10,000 children were born with thalidomide-related disabilities worldwide. In a few years, it will be 60 years since the first thalidomide babies were born.

However, Andrew doesn’t like the term disabled.

“If you’re disabled it means that you’re kaput. That you’re not able. But there’s nothing stopping me from doing anything. I’m a normal person and I just get on with things.”

He believes in adaptation, not limitation; and that’s exactly what he’s done to his bike to make his charity venture possible.This includes adding a motor; “There’s no way you could actually hand bike all the way without one,” he said. But he doesn’t want to skimp out. The motor only kicks in once he’s going uphill, when it senses straining.

“There is no throttle or switch that just engages the motor, you have to put the physical effort in for sensor to engage.”

Andrew said: “I don’t think thalidomide has affected my life. I was born like this, it’s all I know, I just get on. Whatever limitations you have in life, it shouldn’t stop you from doing anything.”

Andrew is raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support, Prostate Cancer UK and Bloodwise.

He sets off from Land’s End on Friday, July 12, and aims to complete the ride in just 13 days, cycling an average of 80 miles a day.

You can keep up to date with his progress by visiting his Facebook page, ‘Team Paddison’. To donate to his fundraiser, click here.