On the 14th June 2011 Steve was delivered the devastating news from the optometrist sat in front of him. “You have Retinitis Pigmentosa and worse case scenario is you will be blind in 5 years.” Steve was diagnosed visually impaired and lost his drivers licence at the age of 34. A massive blown to anyone however more so to an active adventurous outdoor lover. With the support of his wife Caroline and close friends he soon had his life back on track and was on a mission to prove nothing was going to stand in his way of living the adventurous lifestyle he attended for himself.
In 2013 Steve became the first visually impaired climber to solo El Capitan, a shear 3000ft rock face in the Yosemite Valley, California. He climbed the face 3 times in total, twice with British climbing legend Andy Kirkpatrick. Andy went on to say that Steve’s solo with his disability could possibly be the most audacious climb on El Capitan.
“The thing I’m proudest of with cycling and in climbing is i’ve progressed the sport and proven normal people can achieve extraordinary things. I hope nobody thinks i’m any different to them” - Steve Bate
Following his success in America he headed in a totally new direction and set himself the impossible goal of making the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games as a visually impaired cyclist. Having never raced a road bike, never ridden on a velodrome and never raced a tandem it was a bold statement and like climbing El Capitan would push him beyond his limits of what he thought was possible.
In September 2013 just 3 months after returning from America he was a guest with the British Cycling Development Programme, then in the following January he was asked to join the team and was paired with Adam Duggleby (sight pilot). Together the two quickly proved their worth and in a remarkably short time the two became double Paralympic champions in Rio. Steve achieving his dream of becoming a Paralympian and returning home with two gold medals, one bronze and a world record in the 4km individual pursuit. Steve’s journey with cycling is far from over however the question everyone’s asking is just what will this character set his tunnel visioned sights on next……