Gloucestershire charity Lilian Faithfull Care has been taking its residents and day guests out to enjoy bike rides this National Bike Week 2023.
The charity has its own specially adapted trishaw with a comfy seat and seat belts which staff and volunteers pedal, so its elderly residents can enjoy all the fun and freedom of cycling safely, even if they have mobility issues.
To celebrate the 100th National Bike Week from Monday 5 to Sunday 11 June 2023, residents and day guests were out and about for rides around Montpellier Park and down the Honeybourne Line in Cheltenham — but the trishaw is available all year round, with the charity having access to a number of traffic-free cycle routes in Cheltenham and offering transport to start points to residents who don't live close to a route.
Guests at Lilian Faithfull Care's Secret Garden Hub in Cheltenham are regularly invited out for cycle rides on the trishaw, too, with some guests saying it's the highlight of their week.
As well as getting residents out into the fresh air and giving them the chance to see parts of Cheltenham they've not been to before, the trishaw rides also allow them to reminisce, with Faithfull House residents Doreen and Ernie Rowland reliving the memories of how they met through cycling back in 1951, during their Bike Week ride.
Lilian Faithfull Care's trishaw is the only one of its kind in the county and is affiliated with social enterprise Cycling Without Age. Started in Denmark in 2012, Cycling Without Age now has chapters in 39 countries across the world and helps get elderly people with limited mobility back on bikes by providing trishaw rides by trained 'pilots'.
It also supplies approved trishaws, with Lilian Faithfull Care's having been bought and donated by Cheltenham-based marketing company, Signal, back in 2019.
Director of care, Suzanne Booker, said: 'This project makes such a tangible difference to the lives of our residents and day guests. It is not just the wonderful experience of the cycle ride; but also the friendships and conversations it starts.'
Martin DeGroodt, a physiotherapist at Faithfull House, added: 'It always gives people a real boost. It is stimulating out in the fresh air and there is always a lot of interaction with other people when we are out riding.'
Lilian Faithfull Care offers day, residential, respite, nursing, specialist dementia and end-of-life care at its homes and day care hubs across Gloucestershire.
For more information about Lilian Faithfull Care's cycling project, visit lilianfaithfull.co.uk.