Paralympic champion in her quest for glory


Paralympic gold medallist Karen Darke prepares for Tokyo 2020 and her latest Quest79 challenges, with a little help from Gerald Simonds.

A climbing accident when she was 21 left Karen paralysed from the chest down. Karen is part of the British para-cycling team and followed up her silver medal success at London 2012 with gold medal glory in the hand-cycling time trial in Rio and is now in training for the 2020 Games in Tokyo.  In addition, Karen is completing nine endurance cycling events in seven continents before the 2020 Games as part of her Quest79 campaign.

Throughout her para-cycling career, one problem Karen has found challenging is the issue of pressure sores.  Many para-cyclists know only too well, the human body is put through an awful lot of stress during training and competing, and the lack of sensation which accompanies paralysis can make pressure sores very dangerous.

Karen comments: “I have intermittently had issues with pressure sores when training and taking part in events.  Then I was introduced to a member of the German team at a competition, who was using a seating system which comprised of Stimulite sheets.  On my return to the UK, I spoke to Wheelchair Services who supplied me with one for my standard wheelchair. However, I knew this could also be the answer to my ongoing pressure sore issues when cycling.”

Karen got in touch with the team at Gerald Simonds, the sole UK distributor for the range of Stimulite pressure management solutions for use of Stimulite recumbent bike seat.

Emily Tomson, Marketing Manager, Gerald Simonds, said:

“Initially, Karen sent us a template of her recumbent bike seat so that we could ask Supracor to create the seat shape using Stimulite sheets.  Following Karen’s feedback to ensure the size, style and shape were perfect we had four custom seats produced in various levels of thickness and density to ensure Karen had suitable seats for training, racing and her Quest79 challenges.”

Karen continued: “The seats are just brilliant, and there is nothing else like them in terms of comfort and protection. I am now in training for Tokyo 2020 where I hope to successfully defend my Paralympic title and my new seating systems are undoubtably helping.”

For more information on Karen’s Quest79 challenges

Gerald Simonds is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of high quality lightweight manual, powered and standing wheelchairs, powerdrives, seating and pressure care products.  For more information  call 0800 220975, email  or visit