New Forest National Park Authority and PEDALL scheme exploring the potential take up of cycling for a wider group of less able people and an all ability cycle training programme with three adapted electric bikes, these are particularly helpful on the off road gravel paths.
The guided sessions offered are well-suited for people with a physical or intellectual disability, a visible or unseen condition or health diagnosis who benefit from the mental and physical wellbeing that cycling provides.
The sessions take place Blackwater, Beaulieu Heath and Standing Hat using the off-road cycle network, the electric assist is particularly helpful for the needs of participants on gravel tracks. See PEDALL website for more details.
Amy Galpin attended multiple PEDALL sessions making use of the electric assist on the adapted bikes.
Amy likes to learn new skills and is a very positive and enthusiastic person who lives life to the full. When Amy first came along to PEDALL sessions she liked to be chauffeured around in the wheelchair bike, taking in the sights and sounds of the New Forest National Park. Over time Amy started to try different bikes, favouring one of the adult sized pedal karts which has four wheels so is nice and stable Amy started to pedal herself.
Amy needs continual support, care and guidance to help her along the way, she sometimes gets tired and distracted, but don’t we all! Using the side by side bike with electrical assist a carer sits next her controlling the steering and braking. Amy helps pedal, taking exercise, improving her fitness and increasing circulation. Using a bike with electric assist means that Amy can cycle further and for longer, exploring more of the New Forest National Park and areas that she’d never be able to get to otherwise.
Amy now regularly rides five miles, loves to see the ponies and enjoys meeting other cyclists that come along.
Mark Stocker is a PE teacher specialising in teaching children with varying degrees of Autism and their associated conditions. Recently Mark made use of the power assisted hand bike whilst recovering from a serious knee operation.
‘I had never experienced using a power assisted bike before but managed to use it vigorously over a period of several weeks. The bike handles incredibly well at speed but is also really at home at a more sedate pace.’
Mark managed to stay fit whilst injured and develop areas his body that had not seen much exercise during the last few years. “It really heighted my respect and admiration for those athletes that compete in the handcycling at the Paralympics. It offers a huge range of potential for those of us that are either temporarily impaired through injury, or permanently disadvantaged due to a birth defect or a condition such as Dyspraxia.”
Mark took the opportunity to introduce the hand bike to some of the students at his school. They were really interested and inspired; building confidence on a stable 3 wheeled bike is a positive route to gaining the confidence to attempt to ride a standard bicycle.
The promotion of cycling in all its forms is a serious theme at Southlands School so following on from trying the hand bike Mark arranged for Paralympic cyclist Darren Kenny OBE to visit. Having ridden the hand bike, he was very impressed with the build quality and overall performance. Darren said ‘It’s a fantastic piece of equipment that can offer many the huge benefits of cycling and also help to convert doubtful attitudes from “Cant to Can”, amazing!’.