We can't quite put our fingers on what it is about cycling that gives us that feeling of exhilaration; but whether we're blasting it down the hills, trundling along on a chilled ride, commuting to work, or on a coast to coast adventure, little compares to that tremendous feeling of pedal powered liberty.
Frank, Beatrice, and Gill know this feeling well. Self acclaimed 'fanatical cyclists', they believe that everyone should be able to experience the joy of spinning along a country lane in the wind and the sun, so they decided to create Wheel Potential. When they told the Alpkit Foundation their story, we couldn't resist lending our support with the purchasing of an adult tandem trike, which would enable them to open up their services to even more clients.
Wheel Potential is an community interest company providing open-air cycling experiences for less able-bodied adults. Run on an entirely voluntary basis by Gill, Beatrice, Frank, and bike guru Peter, it was launched to address the lack of such initiatives in the Canterbury area, as Gill explains:
"We came together when we all realised that although we, able-bodied and -minded as we are, can indulge in this passion freely; those who are less able cannot. Using standard machines, this wonderful form of exercise in the fresh air is not available to many, so we are slowly building up a collection of adapted cycling machines which can be used by anyone, whatever their disability."
Response to the organisation's work has been overwhelmingly positive, and demand for bikes has been so high that the team are looking to expand their fleet.
It comes as no surprise that Wheel Potential is so very popular. For a mere £80 per year, subscribers and their carers receive an induction with Peter and a key for year-round access to the Wheel Potential bike storage unit, located within spitting distance of the idyllic Sustrans National Cycle Route. Over time, the directors have acquired a range of bikes that even Alpkit's Bike Guru Neil would be a little jealous of (although he'd never admit it!), comprising adapted bikes such as tandems, trikes, tandem trikes, a hand cranked trike, and orthodox bikes for carers. In brief, they offer something for everyone!
Wheel Potential is fuelled mainly by the enthusiasm and time of Frank, Beatrice, Gill, and Peter, all of whom carry out their work on an entirely voluntary basis. Whilst the yearly subscription paid by service-users covers the majority of the company's running costs, the bikes themselves are acquired through the generosity of donors. The purchase of the Inca Tandem Trike was part of a larger project to be able to accommodate even more service users; you can find more information about Wheel Potential's project, as well as the services they offer, by visiting their The Alpkit Foundation supports projects that enable people to overcome the obstacles preventing them from Going Nice Places and Doing Good Things.