How accessible cycling improves health and well‑being

Sally took part in our Great Pedal Away 2019. Read about her journey in independent cycling and how it has improved her health and well-being.

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Sally wrote to Cycling Project following our Great Pedal Away 2019 event at Aintree race course. As she’d gained so much from the event she was moved to tell us her journey from a car accident aged 18 through to learning about independent cycling on adapted bikes, up to cycling the full 20 miles Great Pedal Away 2019 route.

You can ready her full story in the pdf below. Here are some quotes to give you an idea of the Sally’s positive attitude and how much she has gained from cycling.

“When I was 18 back in 1983, my life changed in an instant. I was travelling on the back of my fiancé’s motorbike when a car smashed in to us head on. I was lucky, resuscitated at the scene, I survived, dragged out of a ditch with life changing injuries.

“Life changed – 4 months in hospital, brachial plexus injury to my right arm (paralysed arm), broken femur pinned & plated, smashed up knee, skin & bone grafts, broken pelvis. But I was alive and determined to get on with life.

“I learnt to walk again and adapted to life one handed, I married, had 2 children, worked full time and enjoyed life. I could do most things but sadly I realised that my injured knee would only bend to 90 degrees and wasn’t flexible enough to enable me to ride a bicycle again.

”In December 2018 I realised 6 miles down the road in Chester, there was a charity (Give it a Spin, Cycling UK affiliated) running inclusive cycling sessions twice a week. I met some very nice people who showed me different types of bikes – trikes and tandems. I did get chance to cycle on a side by side tandem and albeit awkwardly & painfully I could just about pedal it & we did a lap of the park!! I didn’t want a side by side tandem but hope was renewed – perhaps I could again cycle outside!!.”

Sally finally found a bike that suited her, made by Ice Trikes, and began her cycling adventures.

“Christmas came early when I collected the trike in early July and it is true to say that my life has been TRANSFORMED. I am out most weekends, exploring cycle paths and negotiating local roads and the cycle route network. I am able to walk less and less but I am able to cycle more and more and I feel NORMAL and I am keeping my knees and legs fit whilst minimising the strain on them – my orthopaedic consultant approves!!

”It was while researching rides and groups that I came across the Great Pedal Away Knowsley event in Sept 2019, celebrating Car Free Day. Let’s sign up I said, we can do 19 miles I said, we can get to Aintree from Ellesmere Port for 9am to sign on and we don’t mind heavy rain. My cycle crew, also known as hubby Phil, loaded the trike and his bike and off we went.

“Everyone made us feel at home and though I was the only one on a trike, it was no problem. When we came to hills where I struggled, people leapt off & pushed me, on smaller hills I was encouraged and cheered on, at gates not meant for trikes people lifted my trike over. It was fantastic!

”It was great to meet such friendly, enthusiastic, interested cyclists and great to be accepted and be able to cycle just over 20 miles including a lap of Aintree Race Course!!

”I have learnt that there is always hope and there is probably a bike to suit most people. Ok it took 36 years for me but now I’m making up for it. Mentally and physically – cycling is helping – fresh air, exercise, new places, new friends. Thank goodness for accessible cycling initiatives like Give it A Spin, Pedal Away and Quest 88 – you will never know what a difference you have made to me. And of course to Ice Trike for making a mainstream trike that I can ride!!”

Well done Sally! And thank you for sharing your story.

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Sally's independent cycling story

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