As an occupational therapist, I’m an advocate for inclusive cycling as an occupation in its own right, believing that cycling is for everyone, regardless of impairment or long term health condition. Many health professionals don’t realise the possibilities for people who find riding a bike a challenge: there are many.
I base these comments on my experiences at Wheels for Wellbeing which I created in 2007 to support disabled people to cycle. In the 3 1/2 years I worked there, I discovered that as well as the benefits non-Disabled people enjoy, Disabled people enjoy one more – cycling mitigates impairment. For some, cycling is easier than walking.
Clients, patients, service users all expect our best efforts in supporting them on their life journeys. If we are aware of the potential of inclusive cycling then we have one more item in our toolbox which may be able to improve their mental and physical wellbeing.
Factors outside our control mean there are still barriers for many in being able to choose to cycle. Increasingly this is changing, with policy makers realising that for an everyday cycling culture, better infrastructure is needed and help with the cost & parking of non-standard cycles. Wheels for Wellbeing has produced a Guide to Inclusive Cycling which identifies these in more detail together with potential solutions. Staff always welcome input to the Guide, now in its second edition.
On this blog I will be promoting all kinds of inclusive cycling for health professionals, to show how it can be for everyone and how we might use it in our practice.
Check out the hashtags #cyclingseasierthanwalking ,#beyondthebicycle and #inclusivecycling on twitter to see what’s going on and if you can, take a moment to reflect on whether any of the people you support could be doing the same.