Low Wood Club helps on Road to Recovery

Mark Fishwick suffered a serious cycling accident in July 2014 requiring surgery and a period of careful rehabilitation. His determination saw him back at Low Wood Club and in the saddle by November that year and incredibly, he competed in the infamous Fred Whitton Challenge in May 2015 covering some of the steepest roads in the country, raising money for The Great North Air Ambulance Service which had come to his rescue! This is his story …

The accident

I was cycling fast down Kirkstone Pass and a car turned across me. With no time to brake I flew over the bonnet of the car and was unconscious for a few minutes. I later learned that an off-duty doctor appeared on the scene followed by an ambulance. Having assessed my injuries they decided I should be airlifted to Royal Preston hospital. By this time I had been administered morphine and so was happy with whatever they decided! I was still in a pleasant state of acquiescence when I gave permission to the film crew that arrived with the air ambulance crew to capture my ‘rescue’ for broadcast to the nation.

Great North Air Ambulance . Photo by: Peter McDermott
Great North Air Ambulance . Photo by: Peter McDermott

My injuries were not quite as serious as first thought but a four part shoulder fracture was going to debilitate me for quite some time.

The road to recovery

Four days after the accident I underwent an operation to repair the fracture. Then I had to keep my shoulder immobile for 6 weeks – easier said than done and I didn’t sleep for the first 4 weeks! After that initial period of recovery, I enlisted the help of Janet Smedley, physiotherapist at Low Wood Club. She was brilliant and, working with the exercises she gave me, I was driving again within a month.


I then started an exercise programme at Low Wood Club, mostly on the spinning bike in the gym and some swimming. I also went to the weekly spin classes that the club runs for its member. These enabled me to build up some strength and gave me confidence to ride a bike again.


Getting back in the saddle again

It took until late November to get back on the road. It was a strange experience and it felt quite alien for a while. There was the initial nervousness but because of the work I’d done at the gym this was soon overcome. I was determined that fear would not stop me getting back to the sport I love. After that, there were physical obstacles to overcome, not least my shoulder stiffening up because I was in the same position for long periods of time.


Within five or six rides my confidence was back and I was building up my fitness. There was one scary moment when I hit some ice and fell off the bike but only a scrape and back on the bike.

The Fred Whitton Challenge


It had always been an ambition of mine and I had applied in 2014 but wasn’t successful in getting through the ballot. In January 2015 I heard that I had secured a place and set myself a target of riding 100 miles a week until the event in May. Despite a really harsh winter I managed to ride 2,500 miles in 2015, more than 140 miles a week. Further motivation for the event was that I was now cycling to raise money for the North West Air Ambulance and the fantastic work they do. If it hadn’t been for their speedy rescue my rehabilitation may have been very different.


Accident Rehabilitation and Training

If you are recovering from illness, injury or accident, our equipment and expert help at Low Wood Club or our sister fitness centre, Sandpiper Club, could help you meet your personal training and fitness goals.

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