Laura's story - cycling for recuperation

Laura and her mum Sandra spend some quality cycling time together

Laura's story - cycling for recuperation

Laura was a PE teacher but a brain tumour triggered a stroke, leaving her paralysed down one side. Here is how an inclusive cycling centre helped her.
Laura was a PE teacher and loved all kinds of sports. Twelve years ago an operation to remove a brain tumour triggered a stroke, leaving her paralysed down one side. Through the help of an inclusive cycling centre, she is now cycling, keeping fit and having fun.
 
Laura had been fit and active all her life. Even after the stroke, she continued to do sports; joining a ski school for people with disabilities, and even leant to sail. However, a few years ago, she broke her leg while skiing, which putt a temporary end to her activities.
 
As part of her recuperation, Laura needed to find a way to exercise and strengthen both legs but she struggled to find the right activity to help her. Laura had thought about trying cycling but had been unable to find an adapted cycle that was suitable, until she discovered Cycling For All.
 
Laura and her mum, Sandra first came to one of the Cycling For All sessions held at Alice Holt Forest, Surrey, in May 2014. After a chat with volunteers about the the cycles available and a brief try-out session, Laura settled on a side-by-side tandem tricycle with electric power assistance.
 
Initially, Laura struggled to pedal but once a foot strap was used to keep her paralysed leg in place, things suddenly improved. With her mum at her side to operate the power assistance, they disappeared out of the car park and around the site. Laura said: "Above all, we both enjoy keeping fit. The cycling was great fun, we'll be back next week."
 

Above all we both enjoy keeping fit. The cycling was great fun!

Laura, cyclist at Cycling For All in Alice Holt Forest

 
Since then, Laura and Sandra have been back each week for a one-hour session on the same tricycle. They have progressed a great deal; cycling further distances, tackling different gradients and recently they even managed the more challenging three-mile family loop through the woods.
 
Above: the start of the Family Cycle Trail at Alice Holt Forest
 
The weekly cycling sessions are really important for both Laura and her mum. Not only are they getting fitter but it’s also an opportunity to spend quality time together cycling around the forest with the wind in their hair, the smell of the trees and the fleeting glimpse of the odd rabbit or two. 
 
Cycling for All at Alice Holt Forest in Surrey is one of over 40 Cycling UK accredited clubs in the UK that are part of the National Inclusive Cycling Network - a partnership between Cycling UK and Cycling Projects, that is funded through the Big Lottery Fund
 
Case study by Tim Janes. To discuss inclusive cycling in the South East contact our Inclusive Cycling Development Officer Tim Janes.
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