Inclusive Cycling – Pete’s Story

Pete is one of the people who has used the West Lothian Bike Library’s services.  He originally got in touch with the All Ability Cycling project developed by the West Lothian Council Health Improvement Team, and which the West Lothian Bike Library now runs in 2018 with many of the same volunteers and bikes. 

Here is Pete’s story which he has kindly shared with us. We hope it is a source of inspiration for others. Cycling for all!  

“In 2015 I suffered a subarachnoid brain haemorrhage leaving me completely paralysed on the left side of my body. Determined not to allow this affect me too much I set a number of goals: to get walking, hill walking, running & cycling again.

Through my brain rehabilitation team I achieved the first goal, albeit walking with a stick & a limp. However, as cycling has always been a passion of mine, I really wanted to get on my bike & get cycling again with my friends on weekend social rides & charity rides.

After trying balance bikes & standard bikes it was quite obvious that with little or no use of my left arm & limited use of my left leg, balance was going to be a big barrier to getting cycling again & improving my fitness. As I looked into various disability cycling options, it became clear to me that an adapted trike would be the best way forward. After much research I got in touch with Blazing Saddles & FABB Scotland & they put me in touch with the West Lothian Council All Ability Cycling project team. After speaking with the Health Improvement Team & volunteers who ran this project, I was encouraged to attend the Monday afternoon sessions so I could understand what options were available for all ability & inclusive cycling.

As soon as I arrived at my first session the team welcomed me & discussed what options they had available and would suit me. Almost immediately they went to work selecting a suitable trike that I could use, making the necessary adjustments to adapt the chosen trike for my needs & use. From then on I came to the afternoon sessions for 8 weeks. At that time, the sessions were run in Broxburn in West Lothian, giving plenty of opportunities to try out the trike on different terrains. This helped me build my confidence as well as work with the fantastic team who were helping me to get back into cycling.

After about 8 weeks of attending the sessions I was offered the loan of the trike I had been using, which was fantastic. I completed the necessary paperwork, which was straight forward, simple and easy to understand & the bike library team would continue to support me. Being a non-profit organization we arranged a suitable time for them to drop the trike off at my house where I stored it. During the loan of the trike, almost immediately, I was able to go on weekend social rides along the union canal towpath with my friends & family, who are all able bodied. This also allowed me to build my confidence as well as the social & physical benefits that all ability cycling provides.

After a few weeks of riding from Linlithgow, I was able to ride as far as Broxburn & then Ratho (for cake & coffee!). The  next step for me was to look at whether the trike I was borrowing would be a long term option for my needs, so through the suggestion of  the team I went to other All Ability hubs to try out various options.

An important criteria for me in selecting a bike was to be able to go on days out with my family to places like Loch Katrine. That meant on days out, I would need a trike that would fold. So after much research I found a suitable trike that folded & more importantly at an affordable price. The Library very kindly extended my hire until such time that I had bought my new trike.

I went ahead & purchased my foldable trike. This has given me even more freedom. Without the Bike Library’s help, I would not have been able to even contemplate getting back cycling, but they gave me the confidence & equipment to help get me back into cycling socially, increasing my fitness at the same time.

Although I didn’t purchase the same model of trike I used from the Bike Library, in my opinion, the West Lothian Bike Library & West Lothian Health Improvement Team restored my belief & provided a platform for me to continue with my road to recovery. It has helped me to get out with family & friends again, doing something I love.”

 

Recycle bikes while the sun shines!

We occasionally get asked “what exactly is a bike library”? Well, as well as running an Inclusive Cycling project, hiring out e-bikes under GO e-bike, offering cycle training, led bike rides and bike servicing – we recycle bikes!

We accept donations of used bikes of any kind. Our mechanics, who are trained up to Velotech Platinum level, then assess bikes for refurbishment potential. If suitable, they will then service and repair them. We have a healthy stock of secondhand bikes ready for hiring out. Hiring one of our bikes for a short period of time might be useful if you only need it for a specific purpose, or if you’d like to try out a bike before you decide to invest in one. 

 

 

 

 

Some like to bask in the May sunshine. We recycle.

We also sell refurbished bikes from as little as £30 (depending on stock availability). Our motto is cycling for all, regardless of your income. All our work on bikes, servicing and refurbished bikes, comes with a 3 month warranty.

Get in touch if you’d like to come and have a look at our stock, or pop over to Crofthead Community Centre on Thursday and Friday 10am-2pm.

 

And don’t worry, all our bikes are fully road-tested 🙂

Inclusive cycling sessions – we need your help!

One of our core activities at the West Lothian Bike Library are regular Inclusive Cycling sessions. These use adapted bikes to help adults and children who require more mobility support and assistance to try out cycling.

Why do we do this? One of our core goals as an organisation is to make cycling an inclusive activity for all – regardless of your mobility, ability, bank balance, postcode, age, gender or anything else!

We run an Inclusive Cycling session on Mondays 1700-1800 at our base at Crofthead Community Centre in Livingston. In these sessions, trained volunteers help participants use a wide range of adapted bikes on the local off-road path network. Demand for our Inclusive Cycling sessions is high however. We need more volunteers to help us run additional sessions.  We would like to run at least two sessions on Monday nights, and an occasional session on a Thursday.

David is one of our cycle trainers at West Lothian Bike Library, and has been involved with Inclusive Cycling sessions in West Lothian for several years. He says “I got involved in setting this scheme up with the West Lothian Council Health Improvement Team a few years ago and have been helping run sessions since. Getting on a bike for many of the participants is a really happy experience, as it gives some people a chance to have a go at an activity they otherwise couldn’t do with a conventional bicycle. For me personally, it’s been very rewarding.”

If you are willing to commit one hour every four weeks to help out with an Inclusive Cycling session in Livingston and would like to learn a new skill – get in touch. We provide full training, insurance and PVG checks.

Cycling clothing for sale

Thanks to a donation from the West Lothian Financial Inclusion Network, the West Lothian Bike Library has a range of new children and adult cyclingand activity clothing for sale at affordable prices.

Please call in and see us at Crofthead Community Centre (for a map, head to About us) on Thursdays or Fridays, anytime between 10am and 2pm.

Sharing the love – bike lending to Buddies Dumfries

We were delighted to loan out two of our adapted bikes over the weekend to Buddies Dumfries who ran a Biker Buddies and Cyclestation event. Working together to make cycling inclusive!

Find out more about the great work Buddies Dumfries are doing on their website, www.buddiesdumfries.co.uk. And don’t forget to Get in touch if you are an organisation who would like to borrow any of our bikes for community events. 

Adaptive bike sessions starting 9th April

The very popular Adaptive Bike Sessions which enable Inclusive Cycling will start on Monday 9th April at Crofthead Community Centre.

Initially these are scheduled from 1700 to 1800 but as Volunteer Support becomes available we hope to extend this into two sessions.

Spaces are limited and it is essential that you book.

To register or for further information please email info@wlbikelibrary.co.uk.

Pinewood School pupils get cycling for Sport Relief 2018

On Thursday 22nd March as part of Sport Relief 2018, Pinewood School pupils in Blackburn enjoyed a Bikeathon using a range of bikes, trikes and adapted bikes from the West Lothian Bike Library. The bikes were brought over thanks to local cycling shop, Hooked On Cycling from Bathgate. Pupils cycled around the park in Blackburn – great work everyone!

West Lothian Bike Library volunteers get Silver!

Bike maintenance is not yet an Olympic sport (!), but some of our volunteers with the West Lothian Bike Library recently undertook Velotech Silver training under the expert instruction of a Cycle Form trainer in our base in Livingston. Cycle Form is a cycling business based in Glasgow who offer accredited Velotech training, which is aligned with the National Qualification Framework. Velotech Awards are industry standard qualifications in bike maintenance.

It means our volunteers are obtaining valuable skills for free and our bike maintenance work in the West Lothian Bike Library is meeting national standards. We hope to take our volunteers all the way to the Gold Velotech Award in due course!

If you’re interested in undertaking Velotech training at any level, get in touch and we’ll keep you posted on the next opportunity.

Celebrating women on wheels!

West Lothian Bike Library would like to support more women into cycling and volunteering. Cycling UK have launched a call for nominations to find their 100 Women in Cycling for 2018. There’s no rigid criteria – any woman, past or present, who has been a star in the cycling world, from sporting success, to dedicated volunteering, to being inspirational to others. If there is someone you would like to nominate and celebrate, email julie.rand@cyclinguk.org with her story.

Read more here about Rose Lamartine Yates, the first woman to be elected to the CTC (now Cycling UK) Council in 1907, and also a suffragette [photo courtesy of Cycling UK].

The West Lothian Bike Library are currently recruiting Cycle Ride Leaders and can offer free training. We are an inclusive organisation who aim to reduce health inequalities across communities in West Lothian, and we would like our volunteer team to reflect this. We welcome volunteer applications from all regardless of gender, ability or life circumstances. Get in touch today if you’d like to find out more.

Your bike library needs you!

Since we started in September 2017, we have been developing our services and building on our connections in the community.  We’ve also been fortunate to attract funding for specific projects.

We now need more volunteers to help with our projects. Specific volunteer roles include:

  •  social media and digital marketing support
  •  peer supporter
  •  driver
  •  all ability cycle ride leader, and general cycle ride leaders
  •  bike maintenance

We are also open to volunteers who would like to get involved to help develop their skills generally or who may be pursuing awards or qualifications where experience in volunteering is required.

Training and insurance is provided, and we work with Volunteer Scotland on our volunteer policies.

If you’re interested in seeing our specific role descriptions for the volunteer posts above, or discussing volunteering opportunities generally, please get in touch!

Read more about our project and our call for volunteers in the Daily Record.