Volunteer cyclists are needed to help disabled riders go mountain biking.
An increasing number of people who have disabilities are taking to these lung-busting hills and daring descents on three-wheeled handcycles and trikes that have been adapted to cope with the rigours of off-road riding.
A not-for-profit organisation is hoping able-bodied mountain bikers will help it with an exciting project to help more disabled riders head out to enjoy natural trails.
Craig Grimes, director of Experience Community, a local community interest company that provides films and information about walks and other leisure activities for disabled people and organises rides and taster sessions, said: “Thanks to funding from Natural England and Yorkshire Water we’re developing a project to explore and film off-road cycling circuits and provide this visual information alongside useful details about the terrain, gradients, gates and other obstacles, and distance, to help disabled people get a real feel for the land and the routes.
“Ideally we’d like to provide a colour-graded categorisation for routes such as blue, red, black, in the same way mountain biking trail centres grade their runs.”
Craig is calling on the mountain biking community to lend support by offering their time to ride their own bike alongside a disabled rider on a handcycle and help film the route.
“Having a few non-disabled people buddying up with handcyclists would be a huge help in making the actual film recordings,” added Craig.
One such handcyclist is 38-year-old Hannah Hunt from Sheffield who has been a lifelong fan of outdoor sports both before an accident six years ago that left her paralysed from the waist down and since.
Hannah said: “I used to climb, ski and cycle before my accident and wanted to find a sport that got me into the great outdoors and also wanted something that I could do independently. I did a handcycling taster session and also tried my friend’s off road handcycle – I was instantly hooked – especially with the freedom it provided, as accessing the countryside in a wheelchair is very difficult.”
Anyone who can help should contact Craig on 07958 591841.