Barking and Dagenham,
Empowering Deaf Society,
, £ 9246
Empowering Deaf Society (EDS) is a charity that works to ensure deaf people have the same rights and opportunities as others in society. EDS provides services designed to meet the needs of the Deaf community in London. They work on encouraging inclusion, education and raising awareness in society.
Deaf people are underrepresented in many areas of life due to barriers in accessing information. The Deaf Cycling project aims to provide cycle training and organised rides to deaf people of all cycling skill levels, who may find that other cycling clubs and training sessions do not meet their needs.
The project includes practical and theoretical sessions. Led rides help participants gain cycling skills for different terrain and environments, and the theoretical sessions include a refresher on cycle safety, awareness and road maintenance. For the beginners there are workshops specifically tailored to their skill level, which include riding through flat terrain and learning how to stop and turn. Some of the events, which are held once a month, take place at the Lee Valley VeloPark, including mountain biking, BMX, road circuit and riding inside the Olympic cycling venue.
The project aims to challenge the misconception that deaf people cannot cycle safely, which leads to many deaf people avoiding cycling. The project shows the participants that they can be safe and responsible cyclists, and can enjoy cycling as both a form of transport and a leisure activity.
The participants are enthusiastic about the project, as normally this kind of training is not available to them in British Sign Language. Participants commented that as well as learning cycling skills, they have enjoyed meeting new people and becoming part of a wider Deaf community.
"Thank you so much to EDS for setting up this cycling event! I've never cycled in 50 years, I just never learned and always thought it was a bit late to start now. However, seeing the EDS cycling course I thought I'd give it a try. There was a qualified cycling coach teaching and I'm delighted to say that finally, at the age of 50, I've learned how to ride a bike! I feel so happy about this! Well done to EDS for giving me this opportunity; I will definitely carry on cycling, it felt so good!"
"I was really pleased when I arrived as it was a lovely place, the famous Velopark in Queen Elizabeth park! It felt safe and the coaching was great, alongside having a BSL interpreter too. Everything was provided for us; safety equipment, helmets etc. it was fantastic. I really enjoyed the event and have never had the opportunity to do anything like this before. Normally if I cycle, it's on my own and I'm a bit wary of the surroundings in case there's something I can't hear. This was great for deaf people to get the opportunity to learn and enjoy cycling with other deaf people and it was free!"