Handcycling was developed in the 1980s by people working to create alternate types of human-powered vehicles. So it was almost by accident that a new world of cycling was opened to people with disabilities. The sport involves the use of a hand-powered tricycle that is much lower to the ground than standard bicycles, and is a road event in the Paralympic Games.

It is a relatively new sport for Paralympians, with visually impaired athletes the first group to take part. Athletes with cerebral palsy and amputee athletes followed, joining the competition in 1984.

It is an ideal sport for people who have no or limited use of their legs, people who have poor balance, those wanting to compete or anyone that just wants to try a different sport. It opens up a lot of trails and a lot of countryside, a lot of fresh air, and a lot of places to travel. Even people with one working arm can handcycle with some modifications made to the equipment.

In the more than two decades since its development, handcycling has continued to grow in popularity. It's been part of the IPC cycling program since 1998, and the 2004 Paralympics included handcycle racing for the first time.

Today, thousands of people, able-bodied and those with disabilities, have turned to handcycling as a means to improve their cardiovascular health, increase upper-body strength, compete, and ride with friends and family.

Parlaympics NZ is the national body for handcycling in this country, and they work in concert with Parafeds in New Zealand to promote the sport and provide support to those people looking to give it a go or compete at the highest level.