Yesterday I headed to Harrogate to the Bike Expo Yorkshire to keep myself up-to-speed on inclusive cycling. I met cycle retailers from Doncaster, Cuddington and York (all Ice Trike retailers) plus one from Chesterfield (an e-bike specialist), and discovered a Disabled-people led organisation, Experience Community, which organises trips to the countryside for wheelchair users, handcyclists and others.
All these links may be useful for people who’ve experienced cycling at inclusive cycling hubs but who now have the confidence to explore further afield. This post has more information about routes and finding others to cycle with. I’ve also included a paragraph about funding as this can often prove a barrier.
Ice Trikes is doing a national tour demo-ing its range of trikes and e-trikes which can be adapted in many ways for the differing needs of cyclists e.g. with handles to make it easier to sit down and get up from the cycle, with differing seat heights, by attaching the gears and brakes to just one side of the handlebars. Their electric trikes open up cycling to a broader range of people, especially those with fatigue, and bring people to cycling who may previously have thought it was not possible for them.
All the Ice trike retailers were very friendly and happy to chat about how they support people to choose the right cycle for them, including having plenty of time to demo the cycles. All have lived experience of physical impairment, whether themselves or their family members.
Paul Hallinan at adapt-e (email@example.com), Craig Grimes of Experience Community, Mike Nowell at Wheels all Around and Jim McGurn of Get Cycling may be able to organise demos of cycles at a venue convenient to you. Other Ice Trike dealers may be able to do likewise.
Sheffield Cycling 4 All are hosting Ice Trikes on Tuesday 8th October in Hillsborough Park – email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to come along.
I also spent time talking to Tracey of Eco Voltz Electric Bikes in Chesterfield. As the name suggests, their area of expertise is electric 2 wheeled cycles (made by Wee Go Smart, designed in the Netherlands) although they have at least one trike in stock. Customers have included people with COPD, asthma and multiple sclerosis. Like the other retailers above, the cycles can be adapted to suit each person’s needs. For example, there is a very low step through frame available for people who have difficulty raising their feet, swept back handlebars can be used so people don’t have to stretch so far forward, non-standard cranks can be used so people who aren’t able to rotate their ankles don’t need to. Tracey was also clear that that the person comes first, and that she would only sell a cycle which she thought would suit the customer.
I’d recommend ringing in advance if planning any cycle testing trip so the retailer can advise on whether they have all the cycles in store they’d recommend you try. And allow enough time to test out cycles – 2-3 hours might be needed .
Cycles can be expensive and there are different ways to get round this. Get Cycling refurbishes cycles it brings back from the Netherlands which reduces the price considerably. (It also offers cycles from a wider range of manufacturers including van Raam and Hase).
Paul Hallinan of adapt-e mentioned that he is working with a group of 12 people who are raising money to buy 4 cycles to share so they can still cycle as a group but they don’t have to pay for one each.
I have provided information on where to buy cycles secondhand and where to source money to pay for cycles on this blog post. This is an article for people with limited lower limb mobility but some of the sections about buying cycles and where to source money are also relevant. You can find more ideas for funding on this specialbikesuk page.
Experience Community – another way to find people to cycle with
As well as selling Ice Trikes, Experience Community has been working to make it easier for people with physical impairments to enjoy the countryside. They run regular events e.g. at Rother Valley on the 3rd Thursday of the month, costing £10-£20, depending on whether someone is bringing their own cycle. This is a great way to meet new people who have a common interest with your client/ patient/ service user. Their website also has videos of other places to visit, showing the route and highlighting where some may need assistance. Following them on Facebook is a good way to stay up-to-date with their next events.