Learning to ride a bicycle is one of life’s milestones, perhaps a white-knuckle introduction to mobile independence. Some refer to it as a “rite of passage” but parents with a child with intellectual disabilities often long to see their child enjoy an activity that many parents take for granted.
Inspired by the importance of cycling, Evans Cycles began supporting Special Olympics Great Britain with the help of Pennies in late 2012, raising funds for the charity’s first get into cycling programme. To date customers shopping on the Evans Cycles website have opted to round up their order to the nearest £1 over 100,000 times, adding up to thousands of pounds for the charity.
It’s thanks to these donations that Special Olympics Great Britain has developed a partnership with the charity Cycling Projects to deliver high quality cycling programmes like Surrey Wheels for All. The programme enables people with intellectual disabilities to learn to ride a bicycle, to improve their riding skills and confidence, and to potentially even take part in regular Special Olympics training and competitions in the future.
Funding from Evans Cycles’ customers and Pennies has widened the scope of the Wheels for All sessions and helped set up a weekly two wheeled cycling club, helping young people like 13 year old Timi Cole get to grips with cycling for the very first time.
Timi has Down’s syndrome as well as a Cardiac condition. His mother Esther explains: “Timi has struggled with anything to do with his coordination and stamina. He has low muscle tone, gets tired easily and does not find anything needing great depth of coordination easy to get on with.
When we started coming along to the cycling sessions, I was preparing myself for the long haul of waiting to see how Timi would take up cycling. After coming to the sessions the third time I couldn’t believe the way Timi just got hold of this cycling skills and he seems to be enjoying himself every session we have come to.”
Matthew Wing of Surrey Wheels for All added: “Timi is currently averaging 24 laps of the athletics track on a trike every session and whilst he has struggled to come to terms with balancing on 2 wheels, the improvements we see each session, and his enthusiasm for the sport, give us the confidence that more sessions usin
g balance bikes and tandems could one day see Timi cycling by himself on two wheels.”
Surrey Wheels for All’s weekly sessions alone have been attracting over 20 children for the last 24 months. Thanks to everyone who has donated their pennies through Evans Cycles and helped make this rite of passage a reality for even more children and young people.