Having a heart condition and suffering a serious injury didn't hold Preston man Stephen back as he cycled 100k for Heartbeat

Two major health scares - one which nearly resulted in death - have never stopped Stephen Knott from pursuing his passion for cycling

Thursday, 25th April 2019, 2:01 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th April 2019, 4:55 pm
Stephen Knott

The 62-year-old, from Preston, was told he would never ride again after he was knocked off his bike eight years ago.

He spent a week in intensive care after he sustained horrific injuries but, after months of rehabilitation, he was determined to get back in the saddle.

His cycling future was then thrown into question after he was diagnosed with angina two years ago and underwent treatment.

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Stephen Knott

But just months after having a stent fitted in his heart, he successfully pedalled 100km on a static turbo trainer, unofficially breaking a target based on a record set by Sir Bradley Wiggins.

Stephen says: “Cycling is in my DNA. “When I was in my 30s I was doing it competitively and was racing against the likes of Chris Boardman and Graeme Obree, who was nicknamed The Flying Scotsman.“In 2011, whilst cycling home, I had a serious accident where I was hit by a car.

“I was in intensive care for a week and then spent six more weeks in hospital. “I had 14 broken bones and my liver and spleen were damaged. I nearly died. It was a real trauma.“I spent four months in a wheelchair until I was able to get some rehabilitation. The surgeon said I would never ride a bike again but I showed him.“The first thing I did, when was I was able to, was to get back on my bike.”

The father-of-five showed no signs of slowing down as he was diagnosed with angina two years and had a stent fitted last October.He adds: “Even when I was diagnosed with angina, it would not stop me. “I would be in pain for 20 minutes and then after 20 minutes, it subsided, so I just carried on.”

Stephen Knott with Chris Kamara from Sky Sports

Stephen first noticed something wrong after getting pains in his arms.He says: “At first I thought it was because I was doing a lot of work in the garden. But once I had finished in the garden, it carried on. “I saw a doctor and had an ECG, which was negative.“I then did a stress test, which was a bit like the ECG but I was on a treadmill. “When I got to 118 beats per minute, there was an anomaly and that was when I was diagnosed with angina.“I saw a cardiologist who put me on medication for blood thinners and then I had an angiogram, which was a catheter inserted into my artery through my arm.

“Doctors looked internally into my heart using x-rays and it showed I had a 95 per cent blockage in my lower arterial artery.“The final stage was having a stent via a catheter. A balloon was put on the end of the stent which opens it up where the blockage is. “The balloon is them moved out and the stent stays.“I don’t get any symptoms or pain anymore.

“After the stent I got a bit lazy and I lost focus. I didn’t do any cycling and I was in a bit of a rut.“But I got a phone call from Heartbeat who put me on a programme to get me up and running. “The trainers there really gave me confidence and I started cycling and training again. “I was very impressed by the programme and the professionalism of the nurses and training staff at Heartbeat. “More to the point, how the staff gave me the confidence to start physically pushing myself again post procedure.”

Stephen, who also has five grandchildren, used his cycling prowess to raise £690 for Heartbeat after pedalling 100km at Deepdale stadium during Preston North End’s match against Ipswich Town on Good Friday.

He completed the challenge in one hour 40 minutes and 17 seconds and, to make things a little more interesting, he had an extra goal.Stephen explains: “I wanted to beat the UCI world hour record of 54.526km set by Bradley Wiggins in 2015. “He cycled for as far as he could in an hour. I managed to reach 54.526km in 54 minutes 45 seconds. “But this was just for fun and was unofficial, as I was doing it on a turbo trainer with no head wind.“I found the challenge really difficult for the first 40 minutes, as it was so hot but, thankfully, someone brought an umbrella for shade. That was a big help.“My JustGiving page has raised more than £500 and the money from the bucket collection helped me reach £690.“As Heartbeat had helped me so much I wanted to give something back.”

Lisa Riding, Heartbeat fund-raiser, says: “We thank Stephen for supporting Heartbeat.“The money raised will go towards providing an exercise-based Cardiac Rehabilitation programme, fully supervised by trained instructors, to those recovering from heart attack, surgery or stroke and supports those at risk of developing these conditions.”