Ruth came back to visit us at the Horspath athletics track this month. She’d come along to Wheels for All as a punter the previous month to see what other options there are for cycling.
Ruth has MS and blogs about it here. Unable to ride her old bike because of the lack of stability that had developed, she tried out a couple of trikes and a hand cycle. Enjoyed the handcycle, but having ridden a two wheeler for so long she didn’t feel a trike would work for her.
Having managed a couple of laps of the track she concluded that what she really needed was something to get her through the wobbly phase between stationary and moving – Steve suggested an electric bike.
A month and a trip to the Electric Transport Shop later Ruth is the happy owner of a new Smart Bike. So happy in fact, she’s signed up to be a volunteer at Wheels for All. Go Ruth!
As an elderly, overweight 79 y.o. who had a heart attack about 6 years ago, I really do need to ride for obvious reasons. My main problem is: modern bike geometry does not allow me to ride todays “off the peg bikes”. I’m about 5′ 7″ with inside leg of about 27″ but I have short femurs, so can’t lift my feet high enough to do a complete 360 degree rotation of the pedals (at least, not if my seat height enables me to reach the ground also). I’ve searched endlessly for aa comfortable “feet forward” type of bike, so that I can get the necessary “leg stretch”. All bikes on the British market these days, seem to follow ther same geometry i.e. an almost vertical seat tube (compared to yesteryear) and a raised bottom bracket. I have had to go to the Dutch, and at great expense, to get a bike with the pedals further forward than is normal, and, although the forward position is rather excessive, requiring me to use leg muscle power (which I presently don’t have much of) to get up to “balance speed” instead of being able to “stand” on the pedals and use my weight to power off, I can, at least get some riding in (just a couple of times round the block) in order to lose a bit of weight and get the heart and lungs working a bit harder. It is shame that the British bike industry appears not to care about the thousands of people who might be in the same position as me. Of course, even if we “oldies” and physically impaired were suddenly spoilt for choice by a surfeit of suitable bikes, we would still be thoroughly frustrated by the abysmal lack of suitable, and safe cycle lanes. Governments, past and present just pay lip service to the needs of the cyclists, and I can’t see things improving in my lifetime. I wrote to Boris Johnson on the subject months ago but, as yet, no reply. It is time for both the British Government and the British bike industry to “get their fingers out” and tackle their respective problems. Cyclicts should not have to “run the gauntlet” of sharing the roads with motorised traffic, and be consigned to the gutter, where the road camber is at its worst, and the drains and manhole covers, not to mention parked cars and lorries present a very real danger. What is needed is cycle lane at road level ( a bit like a narrow bus lane) separated from the cars and lorries by kerbstone verge.