Janet Paske has had a long and varied personal history with cycling, from childhood rides to later cycle touring, commuting and leisure cycling. She also set up Lambeth Cyclists' bike maintenance classes and co-founded their monthly architecture rides. However, Janet’s legacy to cycling is something far bigger.
In 2007, she set up Wheels for Wellbeing, the inclusive cycling charity that allows disabled people of all ages and abilities to enjoy the benefits of cycling and which in 2010 won the Mayor of London's Active Travel Award at the London Health Commission Awards.
Then, when she moved to Sheffield in 2010, Janet since become involved with Sheffield Cycling 4 All, another inclusive cycling project.
Janet has also had a huge effect raising the profile of cycling as a therapeutic medium within the health sector, particularly with allied health professionals. She persuaded a stroke consultant from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals' to visit Sheffield Cycling 4 All session and he was amazed by the effect it had on his patients.
Janet has done some outreach with two local stroke groups and it is hoped they will secure additional funding to create a weekly peer-supported stroke-specific group.
Disabled people can gain all the benefits of cycling that anyone else gains.
Recently, Janet finished studying for a degree in occupational therapy at Sheffield Hallam University, where she submitted a qualitative research proposal on the experience of cycling for people post stroke. She has also secured a job as a Get Set To Go co-ordinator at Sheffield MIND - and will inevitably be encouraging people to try out cycling, among other activities!
Janet said: “Cycling feels good and provides freedom, independence and a connection to nature and the seasons - and it means I don't have to do any other physical activity!
“But the reason I am still focused on inclusive cycling is that, although disabled people can gain all the benefits of cycling that anyone else gains, cycling usually mitigates the impact of impairment, too.”
Janet was nominated for 100 Women in Cycling by Graeme Symington, who said: “Janet was a founder of Wheels for Wellbeing in London and helped that organisation get funding so they can deliver sessions to people in South London.
“Now she has trained as an occupational therapist and she is telling the health community about the positive impact cycling can have on people who suffer health setbacks.
“Janet is a great spokesperson for cycling and has mentored other inclusive cycling organisations since she left Wheels for Wellbeing. In short she is fab!”
What is 100 Women in Cycling?
Cycling UK’s 100 Women in Cycling is an annual list celebrating inspirational women who are encouraging others to cycle.