She may not be able to walk, but that hasn’t stopped the thirty- year-old Petra Hurtová from embracing her passion for cycling. Using a specially designed bike that allows her to pedal with her hands, Petra rides almost every day. With the smile never slipping from her face, Petra is the epitome of women’s love for cycling.
“I was born with osteogenesis imperfecta, a rare condition also known as brittle bone disease. To have brittle bones actually means to have brittle life as well. When I was younger, the bones would break all the time. All it took was hitting something a bit harder and there it was.”
Till this day Petra has suffered over 60 fractures, and because of her condition, she also had to have over 60 major surgeries to get fit again. But that didn’t discourage her from a life full of sport.
“I always fight. It is a sort of fight with my own life. Some days I really don’t know how to continue, but I have never thought of giving up.” After giving birth to her healthy son Viktor, who according to the doctors wasn’t going to be even conceived, the natural hormonal changes in Petra’s body somewhat strengthened her skeleton. The indomitable lady didn’t hesitate long and made the most of it.
Petra decided she wanted to get further than her wheelchair allowed her, so naturally she chose a handbike. It took two years before she was able to get her own, but it seems to be one of the best decisions she ever made.
“The handbike means freedom. It’s as simple as that,” she says. Petra fell in love with the community around handbikes, and she soon found herself on the start of her first cycling race. So far she has won the Czech cup three times and has become national champion three times as well.
“It’s important to say that when a person has a handicap, they are not ill or sick. They just have a handicap and it’s up to them how they will cope with it.”
Petra averages around 120 kilometers on handbike every week. In addition she swims and works out in the gym. She even climbed the top of Dachstein, more than 2,000-meter ascent in the Austrian Alps. Maybe we’ll see her at the Paralympics one day? That would be the ideal highlight of her inspirational journey. Do you know an inspirational story? Please submit it here.