Being Adaptive is Key - Part 2

To find out a bit more about the ABC project and in particular the emerging advancements in adaptive equipment we decided to jointly interview David Glover (DG), the part time ABC Development Officer and Cliff Smith (CS), the Technical and Training Officer for the City of Edinburgh Council’s Outdoor Learning Team based at Bangholm.

Q. What are the aims of the ABC project?

DG: The same as any cycling project - becoming more active; improve physical health and mental wellbeing; improve independence; boost confidence and self-esteem; and of course meet new people and have fun.

Q. How did it all come together?

CS: We were approached by Cycling UK in July 2015. We worked together on devising elements of the project and providing practical support. The project is delivered by Cycling UK and funding by Transport Scotland and RS MacDonald Charitable Trust, supported by City of Edinburgh Council Outdoor Learning staff.

group of young adults enjoying using specialist bikes
An ABC session on the synthetic pitch next to Bangholm Outdoor Centre in North Edinburgh. An ideal surface for beginner cyclists.

Q. What has been your major achievement to date?

DG: There have been many but if we had to choose one I would say the training aspect of the project. The emergence of key volunteers is critical to the long term success of the project.

Q. Are we right in thinking this project just couldn’t have taken place say ten years ago. Is that your view?

CS: Almost certainly. The advances in technology and the design of mobility features has been incredible but it's not just about the equipment. It’s a societal change that is taking place in so much as people are looking at cycling in a much more positive way and saying how can we do that, rather than why can't we do that. Designers are then responding to demand by building these bikes.

Q. What is the most innovative piece of equipment you have come across?

CS: There is no one single piece of equipment as so much of the equipment is designed to meet very specific needs.

I'm constantly amazed at the ingenuity of designers and the determination of organisations like Cycling UK to open up cycling to everyone.

Q. Are these items expensive to purchase?

DG: Yes. An individual item say a side-by-side trike or wheelchair accessible bike can cost anything up to £7500, depending on the features and extras that are required. We have had to secure grants to obtain the equipment.

Q. Is storage an issue?

CS: It could be. Fortunately, we had space here at Bangholm for a storage container and a bike shelter. Both are situated very close to the North Edinburgh cycle path so that is a real bonus in terms of access.

I think we have made a very positive start but there are still so many ambitions for us here at Bangholm. For instance access to the cycle path network is across rough grass which is a nightmare for the heavier all ability bikes especially when the ground is wet. All that is required is a short section of tarmac and access would be so much easier and safer. If anyone knows of sources of funding to help us with this landscaping work please let me know...

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