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29 October 2014

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You are in: Suffolk > Sport Relief > BikeActive

BikeActive

"We've been surprised at what people can do and we are every single week, even though some of us have been doing this for 15 years," Peter Robinson, BikeActive.

People enjoying BikeActive at Alton Water


Money raised from the inaugural Sport Relief in 2006 made a big difference to three projects in Suffolk.

One of these was BikeActive, which received £2000 to help with its service of providing bicycle rides for people with disabilities.

"We're one of four groups around the country who run special needs cycling projects," says Peter Robinson, fundraiser and one of the organisers of BikeActive.

"We are, though, the only one who do accompanied rides on the roads - the others go around running tracks or parks."

BBC Suffolk headed to the Shotley Peninsula to visit Peter at Alton Water, which has played host to BikeActive for the past four years. Every Friday Peter and his team of volunteers spend the day taking people on bike rides around the reservoir and the surrounding villages.

"We run all through the year. We can't stop our clients from wanting to ride, they're amazing. Even though it's freezing cold today they'll be here and we have spare hats, gloves and scarves incase they don't bring all the equipment."

Fundraising

A bus full of eager cyclists arrives shortly before 11am. They're welcomed by five of BikeActive's volunteers, who help individuals on to the bike they'll be riding that day.

The cycles range in design - from tandem to side car - but all require a volunteer to help with the peddling.

Trio enjoying the scenery

"The Sport Relief grant was £2000," says Peter. "We used half of it to insure the bikes and to give us third party - all the usual things which you need to run a public activity.

"The other half went to Pashley, who make two wheel trailer bikes. When they're hooked on the back of standard mountain bikes they make a really stable bike - much better than the tandems in terms of safety - and we've got around five of these now.

"We also use The Discoverer, a wheelchair side-by-side with a mountain bike, both of which have been slightly modified.

"It means you can take someone out, nip into the village or town, separate the two in seconds and one of you can go to the bank to pick up some money and the other can nip to the pub to spend it.

"We feel we can give anybody, with any kind of disability a really nice cycling experience."

As well as Sport Relief, Peter is grateful to all who raise funds on behalf of BikeActive, and for Alton Water for providing a base.

"People do all kind of bizaare things to raise money for us, and some normal things too.

"The Rotary International of Ipswich came along one Sunday and completely doubled the size of our bike shed, making it a deluxe four star cycle shed which is brilliant."

On your bike

Felixstowe Resource Unit has benefited from BikeActive, with around 15 people attending each week.

"Some people have down's syndrome, some have other rare conditions," says Assistant Daycare Officer Julia.

Three people enjoying BikeActive at Alton Water

"It's good for them to have a bit of exercise and they all thoroughly enjoy it. It helps their mobility as well."

From spending a morning at BikeActive it was clear that everyone involved, whether they're organisers, volunteers or participants, thoroughly enjoys themselves.

We cycled around Alton Water, where Holbrook's Royal Hospital School provided a stunning backdrop, before taking the quiet roads through Stutton. The riders chatted and laughed whilst peddling and took a couple of short breaks to take in the surroundings.

"It's an unusual thing for people with disabilities to be given the opportunity to do things which are seen as being unusual," says Peter.

"At BikeActive we tend to think of people with disability in terms of what they're able to do, not looking at them from the point of view of the disability.

"We've been surprised at what people can do and we are every single week, even though some of us have been doing this for 15 years.

"People look at the bikes and smile, they sit in them and laugh and when we're riding along they quite often break into song."
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Peter Robinson can be contacted on: 01394 283460.

last updated: 30/06/2008 at 17:14
created: 04/02/2008

Have Your Say

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CALLEN [The Voice]
What a lovely story! Well done to the people behind this great scheme. I think most of us need to re-discover the joy and benefits of push-biking. it really is a fun healthy activity. we are so obbessed with the internal combustion engine today its crazy we use it to travel just a few miles to shop etc when getting the push bike out is much more fun and social. To introduce disabled folk to this is great! CALLEN [The Voice]

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