Break the Boundary

Photo: Photography Emily Dimozantos

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  • Third round of WA XCO State Series to feature first ORHC category in country
  • Upcoming ORHC beginners clinics for new riders

The upcoming third round of the WA Cross Country (XCO) State Series mountain bike event on Sunday, May 29 is set to be a history-making event for Australian mountain biking.

It will feature the first off-road hand cycling (ORHC) category in any Australian state or national MTB series round and competitors will contest the event on the country’s first trails built specifically for hand cycles. 

Until now off-road hand cycling in Australia has largely revolved around the exploits of one man, Andrew Liddawi

Liddawi is the driving force behind Break the Boundary, a not-for-profit organisation, information resource and website that aims to connect people with disabilities and mobility issues to the possibilities of off-road hand cycling. 

In 2013 he made a little history of his own when he contested a single stage of WA’s famous Cape to Cape (C2C) stage race. He returned to C2C in 2014 to contest three stages, and in 2015 completed the full 220km event with fellow WA native and first-time C2C’er Conor McGrory in tow. 

Liddawi is the inspiration for the new hand-cycling category and was involved in the design of the new trails, which are located at Cycletrek Bike Shop & Mountain Bike Park facility in Lowden, WA, otherwise known as Kambarang

But he says the real thanks must go out to the South West Mountain Bike Club’s Graeme Adams, who not only saw the potential of including a hand-cycle category in a state round but took the ball and ran with it, engaging the support of Barrie Thomas from Cycletrek, who owns the property the trails are located on. 

“After last year’s Cape to Cape I went to a WAMBA meeting that had all of the clubs and associations together in one room,” says Liddawi. “I was talking about how one of my initiatives was getting out and exploring as many trails around WA to see what was possible. Graeme offered for me to come down and be guided through some of the popular trails down at Mt Lennards, Pile Road, so we teed that up and hit the trails. 

“We were just throwing around some ideas and Graeme’s head was just ticking with ideas about what events we could get hand cycles involved in. Then about a month and a half ago I got an email from him saying they’d started building trails for the third round of the state XCO series at Kambarang. 

“That caught me by surprise, I wasn’t expecting something to happen so quickly. They really took the initiative, which is something that really gets me excited. It shows that people in the MTB community take hand cycling seriously – they want it to be part of all the events they’re promoting. 

“A massive thanks goes out to everybody who helped. Graeme has been the driving force and really encouraged everyone else to get on board. The guys from WAMBA, in particular Jodie Stembridge and Louise Wallace, really pushed the agenda as well. And Barrie, he just loves building trails. I’m really grateful for his effort and enthusiasm. To have someone build something specifically for hand cycles is just amazing.”

Unsurprisingly, Liddawi can’t wait to try out the new trails in the heat of competition. But he’s just as excited by the precedent that is being set for the future development, growth and legitimisation of off-road hand cycling as a sport in Australia. 

“It’s a massive leap forward for us, no other state in Australia has taken this initiative,” says Liddawi. “There are spot events but they’re not linked to state or national rounds. Once we establish this model here in WA, we can hopefully expand it to other rounds in WA and then other states. If we can get a few other states on board it’s not going to be long before we have national rounds for hand cycling. That’s the end goal for us.” 

In other news, Break the Boundary is teaming with Perth’s Rock and Roll Mountain Biking and WestCycle to host off-road hand cycling beginner’s clinics in September and October 2016, where prospective riders will be able to try off-road hand cycles for themselves and tap into qualified coaching and tutoring expertise. Stay tuned for more information on dates and locations. 

To find out more about off-road hand cycling, visit

For more information about the WA XCO State Series Round 3 event, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. To register, visit:

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