Life Cycle UK is a charity with a mission “to get more people cycling, to transform lives and the environment.” from repairing old bikes, helping people fix their own, to learning to ride. They also run a project "Two’s Company" that opens up often rare opportunities for young people who cannot ride a bike independently, giving fun, fitness and friendship to visually impaired and disabled adults and children through sociable tandem bike rides.
As Disabled people must overcome huge barriers in order to get out into nature and enjoy invigorating exercise. Two's Company offers a programme of group tandem rides to people who cannot ride a bike independently
Last year with the help of the Alpkit Foundation Two’s Company arranged two joyful, liberating days out tandem riding for 16 visually-impaired and disabled people, completely free of charge. The young riders enjoyed their trip to Grimsbury Farm to visit the animals, and a more challenging route to Bitton on the River Avon trail.
“It was a long ride for his first ride - but he was happy, relaxed, and had a wonderful time. I can see that he will gain confidence and social skills from going on the rides, and they are also great exercise” – Chris’ dad
“These rides gave the young ‘back riders’ the chance to get out and exercise in nature as part of a friendly group, with the rides helping them feel happier, healthier and more connected to their communities, and they love it!”
“I think he enjoys the rides as it makes him independent. He is doing something on his own, but with security.” Mary, Tom’s carer
These joyous rides can also help the mum or dad of these children, who may be lacking a proper support network to help them or their child:
“You wouldn’t recognise him from the person he was when he started! Dropping Nathan off for a full day is amazing because it gives me respite. I’m a full time carer - this is just so rare for me. My family isn’t in this country, so it’s hard…” – Nathan’s mum
“We truly believe this project was a real success and we were able to accomplish the aims to open up a brand new world to some of the most overlooked members of our society. They were fully subscribed and along with helping children with a visual impairment, we were also able to reach out to those with a range of learning disabilities including Downs Syndrome, Global Delay and Autism”
How amazing is that!? It really is inspiring to see the work that charities like Life Cycle are doing and it was wonderful to read the positive feedback from the parents and the children that Huda sent through. It just goes to show how much impact opening up outdoor experiences can have.
“My daughter has learning disabilities. The tandem rides are the only way she can manage cycling as she doesn't have the mental capacity to make the quick decisions that cycling requires. She always looks forward to it and it's nice to see her pink cheeks when she gets home. She is very happy being part of the group” – Annie’s mum
*Note: Names of all participants have been changed to protect identity