Ian’s ‘epiphany’ on an electric trike

Ian Tallach rides an e-trike
Ian Tallach rides an e-trike for the first time
Ian Tallach never thought he’d cycle again. Having lived with multiple sclerosis for eight years, he thought cycling was just a fond memory, consigned to the past. That was until he tried out an e-trike with our WheelNess project. It was, he says, like an epiphany.

Ian, 48, from Drumnadrochit, has significantly restricted mobility as a result of multiple sclerosis (MS). The condition has caused a gradual decline in his movement, to the extent that he can now only move his left leg.

He can walk with two sticks, and is determined to stay mobile. However riding a bike was a thing of the past.

That was until he tried an e-trike at a recent WheelNess all-ability cycling open day in Inverness.

“It was like an epiphany to me,” he says. “Suddenly, something I thought was consigned to the past, became possible. I fell in love with it straight away.”

Ian never thought he would cycle again

The electric assist provided by the e-trike was vital for Ian, allowing him to fully rotate the pedals using only his left leg. It is also helps with fatigue, something he battles on a daily basis.

Feeling the wind in his hair again was, says Ian, “an experience that really delighted me.” He is already booked up for further WheelNess all-ability sessions and even thinking about getting his own trike.

It was like an epiphany to me. Suddenly, something I thought was consigned to the past, became possible.

Ian Tallach

Ian was one of around 60 people who enjoyed the chance to try out a range of specialist bikes including trikes, handcycles, side-by-side trikes, tandems and cycle rickshaws.

People tried out a wide range of adaptive bikes

The session was organised by WheelNess, a Cycling UK-led project helping to improve people’s lives by supporting them to cycle for everyday journeys. People are given free access to a bike and a personal programme of support to help them get out and about on two wheels.

Thanks to Transport Scotland funding, the project will now also be continuing all-ability cycling activities launched at this open day through May and June.

Trying out a side-by-side bicycle

Start-up funding is also in place to set-up an all-ability cycling centre in Inverness, including the purchase of specialist bikes and storage facilities.

Suzanne Forup, Head of Development Scotland for Cycling UK said: “I’m delighted that Ian and so many other people were keen to try out cycling. We want everyone to be able to enjoy the sheer joy of riding a bike, not to mention the physical and mental health benefits.

"We’re excited to be working towards establishing an all-ability cycling centre in Inverness, which we hope will provide many more opportunities for people to take up cycling.”

Anyone who wants to find out more about all-ability cycling sessions in Inverness should contact Brendan Dougan, Senior Development Officer for WheelNess, on brendan.dougan@cyclinguk.org.