Cycling disability projects launched

CTC sets up training for riders with disabilities

Two disability cycling projects are launching in the UK as part of CTC’s Cycle Champions programme.

This week CTC Cycle Champions officer Helen Biggerstaff ran her first session of ‘Everybody Active’ at Palmer Park in Reading. The weekly meetings will help some 30 people from day services and residential homes to use adapted bicycles.

Helen, the CTC’s new community cycling development officer in Reading, said: “Reading Borough Council’s Sport Reading team ran a taster session during the Tour of Britain last September and it was great to see people of all ages have fun and grow in confidence on a bicycle”. 

”Sport Reading’s Everybody Active scheme funded by the Learning Disability Partnership Board, has enabled the purchase of a fleet of adapted bicycles and I will be training adults to use them. I want people in Reading to discover the health benefits of cycling and also to have fun too.”   

Helen is working in partnership with Sport Reading and is also looking for volunteers to become ‘Cycle Champions’. Each ‘Champion’ will be given free training to help and encourage others to get on their bikes.   

Paul Gittings, Reading’s assistant lead councillor for culture and sport and Cycling Champion for the borough, said: “This places a great deal of emphasis on promoting cycling for all and I am delighted we are hosting these sessions at Palmer Park to cater for people with disabilities. I am sure they will prove a great success," 

On May 5 CTC Cycle Champions officer Clive Andrews will open a ‘Cycling for All’ centre at Alice Holt Forest in East Hampshire.  The new centre will have a fleet of bicycles specially designed for people with a range of disabilities.

Clive said: “We’ve all been told that we should be getting more exercise, so we’re trying to make cycling more accessible for everyone. Our first centre will be at Alice Holt, which is a beautiful traffic-free place to enjoy cycling, but we’re also working on ideas all over the East Hampshire area.” 

The forest centre is at Bucks Horn Oak on the A325 between Alton and Farnham, or accessible by bike from Bentley station.  It will be possible to try out the equipment under expert guidance.  

Both projects are part of CTC’s Cycle Champions programme which aims to improve the health, transport and environment prospects for individuals and communities across England who have historically not benefited from cycling.  Over the next four years, in partnership with local organisations, CTC’s officers will work with volunteers to aim to bring CTC’s knowledge and expertise to inspire, train and support 34,000 new cyclists.

To find out more about the Alice Holt Forest centre email clive.andrews@ctc.org.uk. Conventional bikes are also available for hire at Alice Holt, from Forestry Adventure on 01420 520523. 

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