Who do you know who’s a cycling hero?
What do they look like? What does any cyclist look like?
Here’s my inspiration for setting challenges in cycling: a friend who decided to set a big goal and only really worried about the possibility of rain on the day she began her cycle challenge.
Tandem bikes and inclusive cycling
In 2016 Lynne decided to take on a 60 mile London to Cambridge cycle challenge. She learned to ride a tandem bike at school, but it had been some time since she’d been out cycling. Doesn’t sound too hard, right? Well, Lynne happens to have a visual impairment so it’s a bit trickier than ‘just hop on a bike and get training’. The cycle ride was organised through Cambridge charity CamSight- so even that was do-able, if you happen to be determined & prepared to put in the time needed to train.
Lynne was recovering from a kidney transplant when she decided that this might be a great way ahead, a challenge to set for her recovery. I think its fair to establish that Lynne is both an inspiration to all, and has a relaxed attitude to danger.
Get into training & get on that bike
Once Lynne had recovered she know that she wanted to begin exercising again. Cycling is for everyone and bikes can be adapted to anyone’s needs. CamSight use tandem bikes with a sighted volunteer to help people to get out and enjoy cycling. Lynne talked about how much she loves exercising outdoors. I agree with her!
What’s it like to get back on a tandem bike with a sighted partner? Lynne says she was worried at first. scared that she might fall off and she was still in recovery from her op. She was nervous about getting onto the bike with a sighted partner but began to build up to longer bike rides of 30 miles at the weekends. Wow!
London to Cambridge – just the 60 miles then?
On the big day itself the bikes were transferred to London by coach. The ride was to begin in Lee Valley leisure centre and finish at Midsummer common. It was sponsored by ARM, who I think provided the snazzy T-shirt in the photo below. Lynne and her sighted volunteer trustee, Sean Rock set off from Cambridge at 8.15, one of the few traffic obstacles happened in the roads around Cambridge (of course!) the actual bike ride went pretty smoothly.
There were six stops along the way for water & food or bike repair. Lynne remembers that Whittlesford village, which was the last stop before Cambridge had turned out to cheer people on and welcome the CamSight bike ride through the village.
Lynne had trained hard and managed the bike ride in around 7 hours, which included a lunch break : ) Personally, I would still be cycling if I attempted 60 miles!
Lynne with Saffron her dog:
There are some other challenging bike rides Lynne could embark on next – although she says she needs to get bcak into training if she wants to attempt another long distance cycle.
What can we do to make cycling an activity for everyone in our community? Great, safe infracture of course. How about more adapted bikes or tandems on our roads? I’d like to see images of all knids of cyclists in books & films as a way to normalise cycling.
CamSight is a great charity who support visually impaired people in Cambridgeshire ‘from babies of a few months old, a lady of 111 and all in between’ (from their website) I’m sure they’d love a donation so that more people can be helped- visit their brilliant website at @camsight.org.uk or text EYES46 to 70070 to make a donation.