Inclusive cycling returns to Edinburgh thanks to charities and council collaboration

two people on side by side tandem
Following an injury, using an adaptive cycle has helped with Bill's recovery
Cycling UK loans fleet of adaptive cycles to Thistle Foundation for free cycling for all sessions in Saughton Park and Craigmillar

Two charities are working with City of Edinburgh Council to bring inclusive cycling back to the city. Now everyone is invited to get on two, three or even four wheels to cycle for health, fitness and fun.

Cycling UK, the UK’s cycling charity, has loaned its large collection of adaptive cycles to Thistle Foundation; a charity that supports people with disabilities and long-term health conditions. Thistle is now running inclusive cycling sessions in two locations in Edinburgh (Saughton Park and Thistle’s Centre of Wellbeing at Craigmillar) with funding support from City of Edinburgh Council.

The sessions build on the success of Cycling UK’s Edinburgh All-ability Bike Centre (ABC), which was operational for six years until external funding came to an end in May 2021. Since efforts to secure sustainable and continued funding failed, Cycling UK has brought Thistle and the council together to allow the sessions to run again.

It's hoped that the sessions will allow former participants of the ABC, along with new people, to enjoy all that cycling has to offer, gaining friends and fitness along the way, or just enjoying the experience of pedalling in a pleasant traffic-free location.

Suzanne Forup, head of development Scotland at Cycling UK, said:

“We’re delighted to see the cycles back in operation and we really hope that many of the previous participants, along with some new faces, will be able to come along and benefit.

“We know that cycling has many health benefits in particular and we’re so pleased to be working with Thistle and City of Edinburgh Council to make cycling accessible to people who might have thought that cycling wasn’t for them or not possible.”

For participant Bill, the new sessions have helped in many ways after a leg fracture. He said: 

“Cycling has been brilliant … not only has it helped me reach goals I’ve set myself physically, but it’s great seeing both carers and clients laughing, and joking, as they pedal together. 

“I used to cycle when I was younger, and it brings back those good memories every time I’m pedalling away. I enjoy the feeling of excitement it gives me … it lifts my spirits and has given me a lot of confidence in myself. I have met a lot of good friends through it, and I hope to keep pedalling and meeting more on my journeys.”

Ross Grieve, Health and Wellbeing Manager at Thistle Foundation, said:

“Our new initiative, Thistle Outdoors: A Green Recovery From COVID, is a programme that will provide community based outdoor movement support to address the negative impacts of multiple Covid-19 lockdowns, including loneliness and isolation. 

“This inclusive cycling work is an important, and integral, part of the programme, and we are very excited to be working with Cycling UK and City of Edinburgh Council.” 

Daisy Narayanan, Head of Placemaking and Mobility at City of Edinburgh, said: 

“We’re really pleased to be able to support these sessions, which make cycling possible for many people who might have thought that they previously were not able to cycle.  

“Cycling offers a whole range of benefits to health and wellbeing, as well as positively impacting the environment. Inclusive cycling sessions will help make sure even more of us can share in this.”

Sessions take place on Thursday afternoon and Sunday morning at Saughton Park and on Tuesday afternoons at Craigmillar. Anyone interested can drop in but if you’d like more information please call 0131 661 3366 or email


Notes to editors

Notes to Editors: 

1.    Cycling UK, the UK’s cycling charity, imagines a world where the streets are free of congestion and the air is clean to breathe, where parents encourage their children to cycle to school and everyone shares the exhilaration of being in the saddle. For more than 140 years, we’ve been making our streets safer, opening up new traffic free routes and inspiring more people to cycle more often. 

2.    Thistle Foundation (Thistle) is a health and wellbeing charity based in Craigmillar, providing wellbeing support to people living with disabilities and long-term health conditions. People can access support at the Centre of Wellbeing in Craigmillar; via GP practices in Midlothian and via community engagement activities. We support people living with disabilities, long-term conditions or facing challenging life situations to live well, whatever that means to them.    

Press contact information

For more information, please contact Jennifer Young on 0777 5403652 or email