Summer of Cycling is a 3 year project for women aged 18+ with physical and learning disabilities, many of whom have never cycled before. The two hour weekly cycling sessions are held in an enclosed outdoor area in Finsbury Park, N16. A range of adaptive bikes for all stages of ability and mobility, such as hand cycles, trikes, wheelchair-bikes, tandems, scooters and two-wheelers, are used.
The sessions run for 20 weeks each year (from March to July), and are facilitated by instructors from Pedal Power, an experienced local cycle-training team specialising in providing cycling sessions for disabled people. Pedal Power provides the specialised bikes and trains the group’s volunteers on how to support the participants during the cycling sessions.
This low-impact exercise enables users with a wide range of disabilities to improve their fitness, strength and endurance levels, and gain independence whilst riding. The session also provides discussions and workshops on cycling for health and tips on how to cycle safely.
‘It’s the highlight of my week!’ – Participant.
Year 1 of the project has been mainly based in the enclosed area, allowing participants to learn the first stages of cycling and steadily gain confidence and independence whilst riding. Years 2 and 3 will enable certain users to take part in led rides on specified cycle paths and, after appropriate training, some may cycle on the road. As participants gain in confidence they will be encouraged to use cycling in their daily lives.
One participant who is wheelchair bound and relatively unable to move independently has found she has been able to use a hand-bike and cycle by herself. The women are becoming fitter, and improvement in muscle power, flexibility and body balance will empower them to access other sports in the long–term, with improved motivation and strength.
Hear more about the project first had with Patricia Intrater here.