Volunteers step forward to help disabled cyclists get pedaling in Sheffield

An accessible cycling group in Sheffield has finally extended its opening hours to help even more disabled people get pedaling.

Sheffield Cycling 4 All, working in partnership with Disability Sheffield, will now operate for an extra day each week thanks to extra volunteers.

Sessions have been running on Thursdays since 2014, but with this added support people can now take advantage of the sessions on Tuesdays during term-time as well.

Along with support from The People’s Health Trust, Disability Sheffield hope the extra volunteers will enable more disabled people to get on their bikes each week.

Those with any kind of disability and of any age drop in to spend time on the bikes either alone, with a carer, or with one of the dedicated volunteers – the sessions are entirely tailored to the individual.

There are also many types of bike, depending on the confidence and ability of each person, including trikes, hand cycles, wheelchair carriers and side-by-side tandems.

Rodger talked me through how the tandem bike worked and how it was specially suited to those with additional needs

Trained cycle instructor Rodger Clark, 56, discussed the benefits these bikes have for those with disabilities and other limitations.

He said: “They’ve got 3 wheels so there isn’t a balance issue. They can just sit on it like sitting in a car or a lounger.

“The bike that we put people on first – it’s a simple bike, no gears, easy to adjust the length of it for different sized people, and it’s got a back pedal brake so it’s a simple bike.

“We get people on one of these, we put them round the basketball court and just walk round with them. We make sure they can brake and make sure they can steer.

“Once they’re happy round the court we’ll take them round the bottom circuit, we can see from here if people get in difficulty.”

These bikes are widely varied to accommodate all ages and all disabilities, and the team even offer leader rides for those who would be more comfortable with a volunteer alongside them while they explore.

Volunteer Julius Vernon, 56, suffered a head injury in 2013, and wanted an opportunity to give something back.

“It’s just amazing to see, we put a smile on people’s faces. It’s so rewarding and uplifting. I just can’t get enough of it.”

He also told us they come up against some complications: “We had four seasons in one day last week – we sometimes have a marquee and even that blew away.”

If you want to get in touch to find out about volunteering or getting on a bike yourself, get in touch by calling 0114 253 6750 or alternatively emailing info@disabilitysheffield.org.uk.

Visit http://sheffieldcycling4all.org/ for more information.