Welcome to Cycling Otherwise Summer Edition!
What's in a name? - Don't call it Disabled Cycling, call it Cycling Otherwise! After all, cycling is about keeping balance mentally as well as physically. It keeps you fit and make you feel good. Cycling for disabled people is possible and we feel that almost anyone with a disability can get outdoors on some form of bike. Have a look at the How to Get Cycling! section for suggestions of how you might be able to get out into the countryside. There are bicycles, tricycles, handcycles and recumbents to consider. There is always the electric bike option to make a little bit of strength go a long way.
Role Models? - The Paralympics Extravaganza and associated publicity (anyone remember that?) highlighted the importance of investment, training and commitment for winning medals. There has also been a whisper or two about the importance of Paralympics athletes as role models for the rest of us to help us exercise for our health and well being. It has certainly shown us just what can be achieved by dedicated and enthusiastic folk who have some form of disability along with a little financial and physical support. However, just because one is not a potential Olympic Competitor, it does not mean that one cannot enjoy participating in sport and physical exercise. Even if the Olympic legacy for able-bodied folk turns out to be zero like last time, let us demonstrate that with a bit of planning and enterprise we not-quite able-bodied folk can show how exercise in the outdoors is done.
Enjoyment! - This site is about helping people enjoy the great outdoors on wheels in the Summer Sun. We are not about competition, we are about enjoyment, though that does not mean that we will not nag a bit about the health and well being benefits of getting on your bike! Go cycling, feel smug!
Participate! - We also hope to be a participative site and besides offering you information, hope you will send us routes, news, and stuff of interest to those of us who Cycle Otherwise. See the About Us page. Tell us too about your experience of less than 'accessible' facilities for our Ooops! section. If you want to leave public comments then go to the Visitors Book page.
Opinion Pieces - We like to have a platform on which to air our views. For example, one question that often crops up is what to wear when cycling or handcycling. Clearly British weather will have a big impact, but there is a debate about whether one should 'have to' wear cycling clothing. Why not use every day clothes? We do both so can claim to have a foot in both camps. However, the current trend for black cycle clothing has led us to wonder if it could have a safety impact. To get some answers we have had a look at the academic research. See the results here: Hi-Vis, Fashion wear and cyclist safety.
Have you newly been afflicted by disability? Do you enjoy finding out how other people have coped? If so, these reflections of a psychologist on coping with chronic illness and keeping cycling could be of interest. The book makes a good read (see the Review), but also shows how positive psychology can be applied to the coping process. It is neither misery lit nor an over-optimistic self-help book.
Keeping Balance by Katherine Cuthbert is available for most good independent bookshops or direct from the publisher, Troubador, Price £7.99, ISBN 978-1-84876-2091. Proceeds will go to the Cambridge Centre for Myelin Repair.