Cycle Training UK (CTUK) are a not for profit organisation (established in 1998), who actively promote cycling across London. CTUK are currently running an exciting new project, Positive Spin Cycling, which is funded by Cycling Grants London (CGL), a Transport for London funded grant scheme. The project takes place in the London boroughs of Haringey, Lambeth and Lewisham.
Positive Spin Cycling works with families who have a loved one living with dementia; enabling them to get active outdoors, trying different bicycles, visiting new locations and socialising with others to help benefit both carers and patients.
This is a much needed programme since research has shown that people with dementia do not receive the minimum weekly exercise requirement of 30 minutes. Exercise is extremely important in delaying the onset of dementia symptoms, as well as reducing the feelings of isolation so commonly felt amongst the older generation.
The Positive Spin Cycling sessions last 2 hours and spans once a week over the summer months. The project takes place in local parks and off roads, which minimises any fear of riding in a motorised environment.
CGL has enabled the use of a wide array of bicycles, with the option of easy to use e-bikes for less able participants. The project is aided by an expert cycle trainer (Clare Morris) who has a high level of expertise and experience working with people with dementia, and offers advice to reduce any risk associated with the activities. The programme provides a structure and a feeling of security within the community.
Clare Morris, an expert cycle trainer said: “Positive Spin is great because it gives people with dementia an opportunity to be independent and gives carers an opportunity for respite without trauma. One of the most important parts is that they all become fitter and happier because of it. The project has even changed the life of one lady who is now confident to cycle across London.”
A frequent participant, Alex, has enjoyed the programme so much so, that he often leads the rides and races the instructors, which has resulted in overall improved fitness.
Bernie, a participant of the programme said: “I love cycling, exercise makes me feel good. I won't give it up as long as I keep well. We are very lucky. I am glad they thought of something like this because we never get a chance to go outside and I hope it continues.”
If Positive Spin Cycling were to offer any advice to similar projects they would say to work with others, because you cannot do it alone, and that it is important to work on developmental work to ensure further funding in the future. Clare has identified a real need for this project to continue throughout the coming years, and so they are looking into applying for more funding for the next year with the hope of more bikes and more sessions.