Sam, one of our roving correspondents, is really getting around – this time in the Forest of Dean:
My neighbour Marja-Liisa, with her twelve artificial joints and her rheumatoid arthritis, treated me to a grand day out in the Forest of Dean last week. The end result was a serious education in the amount of fun that people with various degrees of mobility restriction (and their friends) can have on people-powered vehicles.
For a start, she made the contacts, she did the driving and she coped with my unsteady navigation skills. Once we got there she lighted on precisely the German built tricycle with a low step over and backpedal brakes that she already knew she needed. And thereafter she enthused non-stop about the spring flowers and the trees and the easy paths through the forest. Her friend Hilary, also in search of something to get her more active again climbed into a bright yellow recumbent with Easy Rider handle bars and a very lively feel.
The Accessible Cycle Demo Day we were visiting had been organised by the CTC’s accessibility officer, Tim Trew, with support from the Leonard Cheshire Disability charity. Tim is the CTC’s Inclusive Cycling Development Officer for the South West, based in Bristol. The day was held at the brilliant Pedalabikeaway in The Forest Of Dean.
Several specialists were there. John from Tomcat had brought several child-focussed machines with an emphasis on the specific needs of children. Ian from Wheels For All was there. I also met another Bristol Cycling Campaigner helping out. Hand cranked machines, shared machines and pull-alongs were all present and it was clear that each person and each set of abilities needed consideration and appropriate engineering and adaptation. I was most impressed by Dan, whose supportive chair could be wheeled onto the platform of a special cargo bike that an enthusiastic friend could then pedal along the forest trails. Dan and the pedalling friend were having a whale of a time. The approach seemed to be “show me the person and we can make something that really helps.” Marja-Liisa came away (after some Pieminister Pie in the cafe) plotting ways to raise the funds. She tells me that she is going to start by buying her first ever Lottery Ticket.