Summer is often the time when many of us decide to get back on our bikes, but if it’s been a while since you’ve saddled up this can be a daunting prospect.
That’s where PEDALL New Forest Inclusive Cycling comes in. The charity is offering special rides to help people build their confidence on two wheels and reconnect with nature.
The five-week course takes place on Tuesday evenings from 5-6.30pm or Thursday mornings from 10-11.30am, starting on Tuesday 31 August and Thursday 2 September. Held at Burley Yard, each course costs £40 per rider (including a parent or carer if required) and starts with a friendly session for riders to see the cycles and meet the group.
Donna Neseyif, PEDALL Inclusive Cycling Project Manager, said: “Whilst many of us learnt to ride a bike as a child, if you haven’t ridden in a while getting back in the saddle can be quite scary, so don’t do it alone. Here at PEDALL we can help you regain your confidence riding a bike in a safe and supported way, enabling you to enjoy all the health and wellbeing benefits that cycling and being outdoors bring. Whatever your situation or level of proficiency, at PEDALL we have a range of cycles that can help you take that first step to getting back on two wheels and out pedalling again.”
The ride leader and volunteers will support riders every step of the way, from setting up bikes and fixing punctures, to providing friendly chit chat along the way. What’s more, the team has a wide knowledge of the National Park and its array of fauna and flora, so it’s also an opportunity to learn more about the nature on our doorstep.
The team was inspired to run confidence rides after seeing the fantastic progress its riders made learning to get back on to two wheels during its regular rides. One rider said: “Thank you so much! I had the most wonderful experience today thanks to you and the team. I am so grateful. I am thrilled. Today has been a massive milestone for me [being able to try getting back onto 2 wheels]. I can’t thank you all enough…we all need your help!”
All rides are on the designated off-road cycle tracks and led by qualified and experienced staff and volunteers, ensuring riders can focus on enjoying the surroundings and making new friends.
PEDALL has previously focused on young people with additional needs. However, with new funding from The Lottery Community Fund, and support from New Forest National Park Authority, it’s now able to provide rides to other groups. Rides can also be booked by the general public and the PEDALL team strongly encourages family rides. These rides are often multi-generational with grandad or grandma joining the family. One of the delights of cycling with the PEDALL is the specialist cycles that cater for everyone from nine to ninety, whatever their needs. Everyone really can cycle together at PEDALL!
You can book a confidence ride course to support your wellbeing and make exploring the New Forest part of your regular routine. For full ride details and to book your place, visit pedall.org.uk/confidence