Active Summer Fun: 'Cycling is an activity that’s possible for anyone'
A new participation campaign created by the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) and National Disability Sport Organisations (NDSOs) is encouraging more disabled people to find out and play out over summer. Active Summer Fun -#ActiveSummerFun on social media - is an exciting new campaign that aims to support more disabled people to find ways to be active during the warmer months.
This summer we will be hearing from various disabled people, who lead active lifestyles in all sorts of ways. We hear how they are expecting the next few months to be very busy!
Today cycling enthusiast Wolf Simpson talks to us. He discusses social cycling, the health benefits of the activity and what he has planned for this summer.
Wolf’s Active Summer Fun:
My physiotherapist recommended cycling to me five years ago as a low-impact form of exercise that would help me to keep my leg moving. I was told cycling would help, and it has been immensely helpful.
I have number of impairments, including nerve damage in my left hip that causes constant pain down my leg, forcing me to use sticks and take painkillers. Then 10 years ago I also had a bone cyst and an operation put in a metal bracket in my leg. It forced me to spend a decade learning how to walk again.
I live in Colchester in Essex. I enjoy cycling, and although I don’t compete in events I do cycle for my own benefit. I do social rides, long-distance, charity rides and so on. I got into cycling again five years ago, using it as a way of getting off my walking sticks.
Before my leg disability, in my teens I used to cycle a lot. It was my main mode of transport, and I have never bothered learning to drive. Cycling was me, and I loved it. On the day I was told about my leg. they said I would never ride again, would never again sit on my bike. It was gutting.
So as soon as I was told I could cycle again I got straight out there and bought a second-hand bike, a bit of a rust-bucket really, and got out on the road. It was absolutely lovely, just to do one mile to the local supermarket to buy a drink! Fantastic.
I do cycle socially, with friends and so on, and also CTC, the national cycling charity, do social rides in the area.
Cycling is straightforward to take up. I learned to ride when I was young, which helped. But there are courses out there that will help you cycle. And CTC social rides are great for getting the confidence to ride, plus they even loan you a bike as well. And their rides are often not far – no lycra or racing bikes, no bombing along. Nice and gentle cycling, no pressure.
I expect soon to be cycling every day over the summer. Soon I’m making a train trip across the country to go cycling in a place where I haven’t ridden in 25 years. It will be my childhood home town, in Farnborough in Hampshire. I’m going to explore the area with an old friend. And of course there are other charity rides in the diary.
Health benefits are a great reason to get started. I have improved enormously, my circulation and other aspects of my internal health. I don’t look any different than I did five years ago, but I feel so much better inside. And I’m no longer lethargic. I’m even back in work, thanks to cycling.
If I can take up cycling, it’s an activity that’s possible for anyone.