“My next challenge is learning to walk again”

Record-breaking isles cyclist Christina MacKenzie was severely injured and has been left learning to walk again after the incident.

Record-breaking Isles cyclist Christina MacKenzie says her next challenge is to learn to walk again after a hit and run incident left her seriously injured while riding near her home in Stirlingshire.

In 2021, Christina (45), who hails from Stornoway, achieved sporting greatness by conquering the famous 839-mile Land’s End to John O’Groats route in 51 hours, five minutes, and 27 seconds to set a new record.

Christina used the high-profile challenge to raise money for Alzheimer Scotland in memory of her mother Elizabeth, who died in 2014 having suffered from vascular dementia.

Christina set a new record in 2021 by conquering the Land’s End to John O’Groats route in 51 hours, five minutes, and 27 seconds.

However, on Tuesday (27th September) Christina was left hospitalised and unable to walk after being struck by a black ranger SUV vehicle and its accompanying trailer while approaching a roundabout on her bike near Kippen, Stirlingshire.

Recounting the traumatic experience, which she vividly remembers, Christina, told the Free Press: “I can remember every single thing. I wasn’t knocked unconscious,”

“I was on one of the local roads, which I go up and down five times a week.

“I was on the left-hand side of the road, and approaching a roundabout, so I did what I would do in a car, looked over my shoulder to make sure it was clear.

“I signalled that I was moving over and then carried on cycling, but before I knew it a car came from my right-hand side sweeping in and it hit me.”

Christina said that the police has since discovered through CCTV footage that the vehicle in question is a black ranger SUV with a coloured canopy.

After managing to stay upright after the initial collision, Christina said she somehow managed to composed herself, but the worst was yet to come.

“Little did I know that the ranger was towing a trailer – a long agricultural trailer – so then I got the brunt of that as it came speeding past me,” she said.

“That knocked me then I was wiped out on the ground, I hit my head a couple of times and I was skidding along. I landed on my side, but I was facing the way I was going round, so I probably did a 180. I had my helmet on, but my glasses had practically reached the roundabout with the force they had come off at.

“I was lying on the ground – still aware of everything going on. I knew that I could lift my head, I knew that I was still conscious, and that I could still move my shoulders and collarbone – I was quite relieved at that.”

Thankfully for Christina, a witness who worked at the hospital had been driving behind her and stopped and helped.

“She was asking if I was okay and told me not to move – it turned out she was one of the theatre staff, so she knew what to do,” she said.

“She told me that the car had just driven off – but at that point it didn’t register.

“I asked her if she could remove the bike from me, and when she did that and I moved my left leg, the pain was just excruciating. She moved the bike and then called the ambulance and the police.”

A coach driver then stopped and positioned the vehicle alongside Christina to protect her from oncoming traffic, while passengers used their coats to keep her warm until further help arrived.

Speaking to the Free Press from her room at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert a week on from the horrific incident, Christina explained the extent of her injuries.

“I have a fractured pelvis in two areas – in the front and the rear of the pelvis. It is fractured but they are not going to operate on it, so it is the case of getting pain management and physio,” she said.

“For the first three days I couldn’t move at all, I was lying in bed in complete agony.

And then on Friday, I was on morphine, so they managed to get me onto a zimmer (frame), so I have been shuffling around the room in the hospital and have at least been able to get to the toilet and shower myself now – which in itself was a huge achievement.”

Christina remains in hospital but has made further progress by using crutches in the last few days, however she said that the exertions have caused her severe pain and left her feeling “completely floored.”

Trying to sum up her emotions, she said: “On the first day that I was able to get up and go to the bathroom, I remember just sitting there thinking how could someone hit me, leave me in this state, then go off and not give a blind bit of notice.

“I am going through all these different emotions at the moment – pain, anger, and then questioning.

“My next challenge isn’t 100 miles or a 1000 miles, it’s learning to walk again.”

Article by Adam Gordon, images courtesy of Christina MacKenzie.