An All Abilities Day at Ae Forest trail centre in Scotland gave disabled riders the chance to try out everything from four-wheel downhill mountain bikes to powered carriages.
More than 80 people visited the 7stanes centre, north of Dumfries, for the event last weekend. The first of its kind, it was hailed a huge success.
Ae Forest is one of the first venues in the UK to have a downhill track suitable for disabled – as well as non-disabled – riders. Members of the Rough Riderz, a club for four-wheel mountain bikes, performed demonstration runs on the trails.
Those visitors feeling brave enough were given the chance to try out one of the four-wheel bikes, although there was plenty of interest for those who were not after such an adrenalin fuelled experience.
There were demonstrations on flatter parts of the trail by Da Vinci Mobility (hand-powered cycles), Molten Rock (Bomas four-wheel mountain bikes), Rugged Hire (Fieldmaster powered carriages) and The Care Shop (traditional powered invalid carriages).
Colin Williamson, of Forestry Commission Scotland, said: “We are passionate about opening up the 7stanes trails to as many different groups of people as possible and that includes those with disabilities.
“As we’ve seen today, all people can come to Ae Forest and, if they have the right equipment, can go out on the trails and enjoy themselves.
“We are working towards making other 7stanes trails open for people of all abilities and will announce these when they are complete.
“We have also taken on board what people with disabilities have told us today about subtle changes needed for these trails.
“The day’s been fantastic and the feedback we’ve received has been very positive. We may well hold a similar day again in the future.”
One of the visitors, wheelchair user Bob Martin from Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, said: “It’s been a very enlightening day. I didn’t realise there were so many options for all abilities and disabilities, from extreme to recreational cycling.
“I tried the Boma hand-cycle and Fieldmaster and found them to be really useful, and this gave more options on the different terrains. The staff were very helpful and knowledgeable, which made us feel really good.”