On Sunday, we happened to be in Longford Park while Simply Cycling were running one of their all ability cycling sessions at the stadium, so we decided to go in and see what was happening.
Simply Cycling are a not-for-profit charitable organisation, incorporating Wythenshawe Wheelers all-ability cycling club and Trafford Wheelers in Stretford. They run regular sessions in Longford Park, Wythenshawe Park and Boggart Hole Clough, that you can just turn up for. They also do weekly rides out.
There’s a huge selection of cycles for all ages and abilities. I tried out some tricycles, handcycles and a tandem with the other half. I did fancy giving the penny farthing a go, but it looked a bit big for me. Our eldest was very keen on the recumbents, and our youngest, who’s just learned to ride a pedal bike, was just happy to ride round the track on his own bike.
Now, I don’t claim to be an expert when it comes to accessible cycling, but riding with kids, I’ve experienced first hand many of the issues faced using inaccessible cycling infrastructure. Riding some of the bikes available at Simply Cycling, I did get to appreciate more some of the issues faced by those with accessibility issues. Certainly, on the handcycles, just getting round the track was a challenge!
All the more reason why we need to keep the pressure on the likes of Sustrans and local councils to ensure cycle infrastructure is accessible to all, and we see an end to the kinds of silly barriers that all too often litter our cycleways.
I really like the work Simply Cycling are doing and I can highly recommend going to one of their sessions. What’s in this video and photos is just some of what’s on offer, there’s plenty more there to try out.