Last week’s social chat: hand cyclists galore!

If you would like to join Wheels for Wellbeing’s ‘Zoom Social Chats’ on Mondays at 11am, please email emma@wheelsforwellbeing.org.uk

We welcomed one of Wheels for Wellbeing’s former Trustees, Rick Rodgers, to our Social Chat last Monday. During lockdown we have offered a cycle hire scheme for our participants to stay mobile, which Rick took full advantage of! In fact, he enjoyed being able to cycle with his partner so much that he’s decided to buy his own handcycle. Under social distancing rules and Government guidelines he and Isabelle, our Director, have been meeting in a park to cycle together – she too is a hand cyclist. As well as Rick and Isabelle being present in the Social Chat last Monday, we had another handcyclist present, Grant, who is one of our regular chat attendees and has also been cycling for our 2.6 Challenge.

Inevitably, when you get a group of cyclists together – especially when some are very serious long distance and competitive cyclists – the many tangents of cycling get discussed. Like your average 2 wheeler cyclists, Rick and Grant have had their fair share of verbal abuse, close shaves and minor scrapes. But there were two things that stood out in the conversation: the need for protective gear beyond a helmet (e.g. elbow and knee pads), and for Wheels for Wellbeing as an organisation. We campaign to make cycling provisions accessible for all types of cycles, with a key example being that Isabelle, Grant and Rick are unable to get off their cycles to lift or negotiate barriers on National Cycle Network or London Cycle Network cycle routes.

Here’s a photo of Steph, who’s the daughter of our Herne Hill Session Manager and Zoom Social Chat host (some of you will also have known her as a volunteer at Herne Hill or Croydon). Steph is carrying her trike down a set of stairs on the NCN Route 4 in Deptford – something she is physically able to do, but for many Disabled cyclists (including Isabelle, Grant and Rick) this barrier would cause them to grind to a halt on what would otherwise be a lovely cycle ride!

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