Michael Bonney

Michael Bonney was paralysed from the neck down when he came off his bike while participating in the Eden Valley Epic in 2013.

Now confined to a wheelchair, breathing with the aid of a ventilator, he is by any standards severely disabled.

That hasn’t stopped the 58-year-old, of Eamont Bridge near Penrith, from starting his own business.

The allowance gives me an income so I don’t have to rely on unemployment benefits.

Previously, he ran Orange Mountain Bikes, based in Halifax. His new venture, Michael Bonney Consulting, counts a bike parts distributor in Cambridge and a cycling events company in Fort William among its clients.

He said: “It ticks along and gives me an income so I don’t have to rely on unemployment benefits.

“The reality is I can’t do a 9-5 job but I can manage three or four hours a day. I’d like to work more but you have to accept the limitations of a broken body.”

When he started the business two years ago, Michael went on to the New Enterprise Allowance scheme.

He said: “The money enabled us to get me to trade shows. The best way I can demonstrate to potential clients what I can do for them is to meet face to face.

“I have to have a hospital bed in my hotel room and two support workers to look after me. So I have to cover their costs too.”

He added: “My life now is mental stimulation. Everything is about what you’re thinking. I enjoy lying in bed at night trying to solve a problem.”