I’m dyspraxic. I fall over, a lot.
For me, riding a bike is something that brings me dread and usually a few bumps and bruises. But last year I had the pleasure to go along and spend an afternoon in Bradford with Cycling4All, and it was incredible!
Cycling4All is a fantastic project that does what it says on the tin. It makes cycling available for all.
They do this through a huge range of very cool and exciting bikes that are adapted to suit a huge range of disabilities.
Whether that’s a bucket seat rather than a saddle to support your back, hand peddled bikes so you don’t have to use your legs, or a trike with three wheels so you can’t fall off, they create bespoke bikes to suit everyone.
When I first arrived at the park I was incredibly nervous. I usually make a bit of a fool of myself when I cycle and falling off tends to be a recurring theme. However the instructor and group of students were so welcoming that once I was convinced to get on the bike it was difficult to get me off.
I spent the rest of the afternoon out in the fresh air whizzing round. The afternoon gave me huge amounts of confidence and again embedded in my the idea that society should adapts to disabled people's needs.
While we were out that afternoon I watched Cycling4All provide students who would often be excluded from outdoor activities the opportunity to socialise and exercise in a friendly, welcoming and accessible space. I watched as a deaf student in just three hours was taught for the first time how to ride a two wheeled bike. It was incredible.
Being out in the local park and community, racing with children, and chatting with some interested locals really embedded the impact that student run projects can have on developing community cohesion and challenging people about what disabled people can do and achieve. It is a fantastic way for disabled people to keep happy and healthy and explore adapted ways of leading sustainable lifestyles
I am delighted that Cycling 4 All is being supported NUS Students' Green Fund, helping them to develop the project further. I have even heard rumour on the grapevine that they will be holding the first ever UK closed road ride for disabled cyclists which will take place on a section of the Le Tour Yorkshire route. Now, if that’s not exciting, I don’t know what is!
- Hannah Paterson, NUS disabled students officer