Diana on a bike
Diana on her bike again

Diana's story - respite for mum

Diana was a reluctant cyclist when she first arrived at one of Trailnet’s introductory inclusive cycling sessions. Now, over two years later she is confidently using a bicycle and is one of the centre’s most regular and enthusiastic riders.

Diana came along with her mum Audrey and an occupational therapist who had referred her. Diana has some brain damage and learning difficulties after she was temporarily deprived of oxygen during a difficult birth. This means she is not capable of independent living and needs extra support to cycle.

At Trailnet, things didn’t get off to a great start at that first session. Diana was very reluctant for her mum to leave her but the instructors did manage to encourage her onto an adapted trike and she joined the group for a very short evaluation ride. She demonstrated good bike control and no shortage of energy or determination.

Diana had ridden a standard bike as a child but had not been able to cycle since, as there was no one to help her. At her first session, she was unwilling to try anything other than a trike, but after a few weeks Diana switched to a two-wheeled bike and was immediately at home, showing that she hadn’t forgotten her childhood bike rides.

It has now been over two years since that first session and Diana is one of Trailnet's most regular and enthusiastic riders, turning up regardless of the weather. Diana continues to make progress in terms of distance ridden, hills managed and in handling more technical terrain. Trailnet Ride Leader, Alison says: “We operate a star system, where riders are awarded stars depending on how they’ve managed a number of cycle-related objectives for that session. Diana responds very well to this and her confidence and bike control have improved significantly. She is very animated when she reaches her goals!”

“Diana doesn’t hesitate to let us know what she likes and what she doesn’t and sometimes needs a bit of convincing to get on the bike, and to ride on some of the steeper or muddier sections. She is always happy to see us, and her smile and laughter really lift everyone’s spirits; helpers and fellow riders alike.”

Diana is now only too happy to leave Audrey – who is her full-time carer – in the café for a well-earned break while she comes out for a cycle ride. Audrey says, “I really appreciate the chance for some ‘me time’ where I can have a chat and a cup of tea with others while Diana is riding.”

I really appreciate the chance for some ‘me time’ where I can have a chat and a cup of tea with others while Diana is riding.”

Audrey, Diana's Mum 


Coming to the Trailnet sessions has not only helped to developed Diana's cycling skills but it has boosted her socialising skills. While Diana still struggles with socialising independently, she now also takes part in many more supported social activities than when she first joined us.

Trailnet in Essex is one of over 40 CTC-accredited clubs in the UK that are part of the National Inclusive Cycling Network  - a partnership between Cycling UK and Cycling Projects, and is funded through the BIG Lottery Fund

Case study by Geoff Fletcher, Director of Trailnet.