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Free disability accessible cycling scheme!

Try out an e-trike with this super loan scheme!

Do you fancy cycling but think you would find two wheels a bit precarious? Well, did you know that you can borrow a more stable three-wheeled variety - enhanced with battery power?

Sheffield Cycling 4 All (SC4A), a project run by Disability Sheffield, has been running inclusive all-ability sessions in Hillsborough Park for over decade. Two years ago, with thanks to funding from the National Lottery and South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority, they expanded their work by offering the UK’s first e-trike loan scheme.

Before the scheme started, many disabled people and people with long-term health conditions in Sheffield had only been able to access cycling at their sessions in Hillsborough Park. With this scheme, more people are now experiencing cycling as a mobility aid, with all the independence, freedom and confidence that this brings. The scheme has opened new horizons for many people, especially during Covid when many were unable to access other options for exercise or transport.

A person on an e-trike, cycling towards the right of the frame. They are on an unpaved track in the countryside, in front of greenery and a blue sky

The trikes are potentially much faster than a mobility scooter, and with a battery

range of over 20 miles they offer the chance for people to venture further afield

independently than they might otherwise have been able to do.

The trikes are available for a loan of up to three months for disabled people and

people with long-term health conditions who can’t ride a two-wheeler.

Jane, the first person to borrow a trike, said:

“The e-trike has given me quite a new lease of life and lifted my spirits tremendously whilst riding it. I’ve found it so exhilarating and much better, easier exercise for me than walking any distance. I try to limit use of the motor but it’s certainly very handy on hills and opens up various further options on where I’m able to cycle from home.”

Another borrower, David, added:

“I enjoyed riding the trike immensely, the freedom and speed it gave me was invigorating. My best journey was Rivelin Valley Road, open space and relatively flat cycling.” However, he added: “Unlike 2 wheels it is more difficult filtering through traffic and required me to queue with the vehicles when no cycle path was available. Most cycle lanes are not wide enough.”

Jinan had similar feedback, commenting:

“It was good to have the opportunity to go out, to exercise and to move but you can’t put them on buses so you need to be willing to cycle a lot. I didn’t like the cars. Better if there was more space for a tricycle.”

A person on an e-trike, facing the camera. They are in front of a crowd of other cyclists, in a town centre.

SC4A is also campaigning for better infrastructure to make cycling more accessible. They are asking anyone who borrows a trike to take photographs of inaccessible spots, which will then be forwarded to Sheffield City Council or Doncaster Council.

The trikes originally offered as part of the scheme are too big for many people to fit in the house unless they have a garage or a shed, and certainly too big to put in the back of a car. So, with funding from Sport England and from the locally based Tramlines festival, SC4A have managed to expand their fleet to include three folding e-trikes, and one e-handcycle. They now have a fleet of eight e-trikes and one e-bike.

38 people have now made use of the scheme since it started in summer 2020, including Pamela and Jenny:

If you are disabled or have a long-term health condition, and interested in borrowing an e-trike, you can find out more on their website or get in touch with Krysia on or 07395607118.

Important note:
If you experience Post Exertional Malaise/Post Exertional Symptom Exacerbation as part of your illness, please be mindful that cycling may trigger this.

You can find information about pacing to manage PEM/PESE on
the websites of the ME Association and Action for ME.

Sheffield ME and Fibromyalgia Group would like to sincerely thank Krysia Williams of SC4A for writing this blog post for us!

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