johnbike3Montgomeryshire Learning Disabilities Team and Personal Support Team enable a Joyful Return to Cycling after 15 years.

John is  77 years old and lives in shared tenancy in Trefeglwys Powys.  John has always loved cycling, regularly setting off on his mountain bike and riding for hours in the beautiful Powys countryside.  He fondly talks about epic rides from village to village and taking on the challenging hills of Mid Wales…”my bike had 21 gears and I used the lowest one to get up the big hillsI was good at going up hills!”

John was aged 62 and out on his bike as usual when he was involved in a collision with a vehicle.  He was seriously injured and suffered head trauma.  His balance was affected but worse, he lost his ability and confidence to cycle and stopped riding completely.

johnbike1Fast forward to 2016 and John held a person centered review where he discussed his passion for cycling and how he missed it.  Anita Jones Team Manager and Carol Foord Learning Disability Nurse mentioned that there were adapted bikes that John could try. Carol recognized that getting John cycling would do wonders for his general fitness, confidence and well being.  Carol asked Occupational Therapy support worker Martin Ellacott (who is a keen cyclist) if he was aware of any opportunities to enable John to cycle again.   A few phone calls to the Powys Disability Sports Officer and Martin discovered that a disability bike was sitting unloved and unused in a Brecon school sports store.   Some timely and essential support from the Powys laundry delivery service saw the bike transported from Brecon to Newtown.  Local community cycle shop – Brooks Cycles offered a free service and safety check and the bike was ready to go.

In April Martin met John and support worker Molly at the Maldwyn Leisure centre and the scene was set.  As you can see John soon found his cycling legs again and a few circuits of the athletics track confirmed he could resume his cycling career after an absence of 15 years.

JOHNBIKE4Since the first rides around the track, John has progressed to riding around the paths alongside the River Severn in Newtown and plans to go even further afield in the future.  He loves being back in the saddle and feeling the joy and freedom that cycling brings.  He looks forward to his rides around the park and his team has noticed a real difference in his outlook and confidence.  Next step may include a charity ride to raise some money for disability cycling to allow more people to enjoy cycle riding and keeping fit – watch this space!.

This is one of those really ‘good news’ stories.   John’s personal support team and the Learning disability team worked closely together and listened and responded to what John really wanted.  With some lateral thinking, multi disciplinary team working and a person centered approach it shows we can always make a positive contribution to our service users lives.

The disability bike is kept in Newtown and available for others to use – contact Martin Ellacott on: martin.ellacott@wales.nhs.uk for further information.