Ride Side-by-Side with Bikeworks and Metro Blind Sport
We are delighted that we have teamed up with Bikeworks to deliver a new inclusive cycling project from early 2021.
The project idea
This project is about getting blind and partially people around the areas of West London by pedalling (or choosing not to pedal) on Side-by-Side e-cycles, making trips of their choice, solving their transport problems, having a social interaction, and most importantly, getting some exercise.
Metro Blind Sport have partnered with Bikeworks, to deliver the Ride Side-by-Side project to enable local blind and partially sighted residents within the boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham and the east of Ealing to make short trips, to keep appointments, visit the shops or make social visits on a Side-By-Side cycle, accompanied by a trained rider (pilot).
It will enable the participants to not only improve physical fitness, but equally, to develop peer support and networks.
When will the project take place?
The project will initially run for two half days a week for 26 weeks. Days will be confirmed early in the New Year. On each day between 1-3 people will be taken out for 1.5-hour slots. Two slots will be available on each day potentially offering the service to up to 6 people a day and 12 people a week.
Up to three people can travel together (plus the Pilot) since the project cycles can be joined together to make a cycling bus. This means the service can be booked by a group of friends to get people to and from a specific event such as a lunch club, or simply to do activity together.
This is an active, healthy alternative to travel by private car, bus, or taxi. This shift in travel modes supports the expansion of cycling routes in and around London.
Who can take part?
The project will be promoted to Metro Blind Sport members, but we welcome blind and partially sighted non-members to take part as well. Although the project will be based in West London, members from all over London are welcome to come and have a go.
The cycle is based very near to Latimer Road tube station, on the Circle and Hammersmith and Fulham underground lines, making it an accessible meeting location.
How will I book?
People will be able to book a 1.5-hour slot by phone or online. The pilot will pick people up from their homes or meet them at their home or at a mutually convenient place and take them on a trip of their choice. Booking details will be available early in the New Year.
We are extremely grateful to The Edward Gostling Foundation for their support with this project. Due to their funding we can offer this project without a charge to participants.
Benefits to participants
Overall, our project will help those with visual impairments to;
- Be active/healthy
- Improve your mental health
- Heighten your confidence
- Increase your independence
This project will enable people who are blind and partially sighted to take part in an accessible activity which is proved to have many physical health benefits. Through this programme we envisage that participants physical health and their physical mobility will be improved.
Bikeworks delivered a pilot in Hackney last year, offering an active travel mobility option to make short trips either for appointments, to visit the shops, to visit friends and family, or for leisure and exercise.
I was pretty excited, I was not expecting this set-up, I’ve never seen this thing before. I was a little anxious, I wasn’t sure I would be able to pedal it and I didn’t know there was a motor, but when that became clear [that I didn’t have to pedal]
I was feeling much relaxed, it was very well organised and controlled throughout, I felt safe and will remember this experience for a long time, I was very happy.
I felt very good, fresh, relaxed, comfortable and safe, activity is very important, it’s important to go out and socialise and this bike can help.
I enjoyed it, it lifted my spirits, I was feeling good, excited, I was ringing the bell and waving my hands and saying hello to everyone who passed by, and they smiled with me and I smiled with them, it was quite sociable. I didn’t want to get off the bike at the end. We’d like to have it more often, and we like the friendly chauffeur!
I thought it was brilliant, a bit short, we only went round the block, but it brought back memories of when I was able to ride a bike as a child, it felt liberating, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I felt tired but good, this is something I can do, it felt comfortable and safe, and good that somebody else was in control.
COVID-19 restrictions have been considered for this project. Particularly with regards to social distancing.
Bikeworks has developed Covid-19 delivery guidance for all its inclusive cycling projects. Some key mitigation points include:
- Pre-registration required for track and trace purposes
- People will be asked about their health when booking the service and before riding to ascertain if they have any Covid 19 symptoms. Anyone displaying symptoms will not be allowed to ride
- Side by Side cycles must be wiped down with sterilising spray at the start of the day and between each rider
- Where the cycle with two units is used the rider will sit in the rear cycle and the pilot in the front. Two riders from the same household or bubble will sit next to each other in the rear unit
- Where a single unit is used the rider will sit next to the Pilot. Both the pilot and rider will wear masks and protective shields. They will be offered gloves though this is not compulsory since the cycles will be sterilised between each rider
- Use of trailer add-on for additional distancing
As a deliverer of regular sport and physical activity for blind and partially people, Metro Blind Sport would supplement any Bikeworks training to include methods of guiding blind and partially sighted people without touch.
If you are keen to come along then please let me know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We will then register your interest and contact you early in the New Year with all the booking details and the days and times that the sessions are running.
Have a happy Christmas and New Year.