New bikes aim to give everyone pedal power in Portsmouth

Asha Lal with the a few of the different types of bike. Picture: Allan Hutchings (142489-314)

Asha Lal with the a few of the different types of bike. Picture: Allan Hutchings (142489-314)

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PEOPLE with physical or mental disabilities are being encouraged to join a cycling scheme.

Wheels For All is a project being run by Portsmouth City Council.

Bicycles have been adapted to cater for people with different abilities so they can get out and about.

Asha Lal is the health development officer for the city council.

She said: ‘Wheels For All provides cycling opportunities for children and adults with a physical disability or mental impairment.

‘The bikes also benefit people with balance problems or confidence issues.

‘Using specially-adapted cycles, people and families can ride together, learning to cycle for the first time or perhaps rediscovering a previous pastime.’

There are 40 bikes held in three places; Cliffdale Primary Academy, in Battenburg Avenue; Mary Rose Academy, in 
Gisors Road; and in Bransbury Park.

The project was set up using part of a £1.8m grant from the Chances4Change Big Lottery Fund.

The scheme has enough money to run until June next year.

The bikes can help people with balance and confidence issues.

Some can be used by hand, while others have a passenger seat, so people can still enjoy being out on a bike.

‘We have selection of adapted bicycles,’ added Mrs Lal.

‘The bikes are stable and allow people with balance issues or disabilities to cycle and not worry about falling.

‘Some of the bikes are built for two people – one person steers and while the other can experience cycling without the physical exertion.

‘Our hand cycles are really great for those who don’t have a lot of strength in their legs or can’t rotate their legs in a cycling motion.

‘We hope to have a bike for most people.’

As well as members, the scheme is looking for more volunteers to run sessions.

All volunteers will get free training.

Anyone who would like to use an adapted cycle or would like to find out more about volunteering can call (023) 9284 1560 or email asha.lal@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

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