'Positive Spin' a London based project to get people with dementia on to bikes, is proving not only a popular, fun and enjoyable activity, but one that is showing positive results for those taking part.
Following a successful pilot last year, the project is now being rolled out in both Lambeth and Hackney.
By providing a range of all-ability trikes as well as regular bikes, the aim of the project is to offer a fun and sociable activity that has the potential to enhance health and wellbeing in both people living with dementia and their carers.
The project aims to break down any barriers that exist to getting out on a bike. Sessions are free, there is no need to book so you can just turn up on the day, and participant engagement can range from Bikeability training and social rides, to simply observing, socialising, and talking to others.
You don't need to have had any previous experience, or even be able to ride a bike to take part, stresses David Dansky of Cycle Training UK, who helps deliver the project.
"Cycling is possible for people with a diagnosis of dementia of any age - which often surprises potential referrals who may opt out due to a belief that they or their client would be unable to take part" he explains.
"What a brilliant sense of freedom it was to ride around in the sunshine. I never dreamed that I would be riding around once more at nearly 70 years old.
I feel on top of the world!"
Reported benefits from 'Positive Spin' cycling have included :
- Improved socialisation, with lots of opportunities for meaningful engagement with instructors and other participants
- Increased confidence in being able to get out and move about freely
- Validation of existing skills and a chance to learn new ones
- Improved mood and feelings of wellbeing
Clare Morris, Cycle Training UK's dementia specialist said:
"Cycling is a learnt and practised activity using procedural memory often unimpaired in people with dementia.The benefits for people with dementia have been greater than expected."
"Riding with other family members leads to an activity all can take part in on equal footing, and with the support of a team of skilled instructors the people and their families can forget their troubles for the duration of the session and beyond it."
Sessions are planned on dates throughout May and June at Clapham Common and Finsbury Park.
Click here to link through to Cycle Training UK's website for further information.
The project is being promoted by the Alzheimer’s Society and supported by Pedal Power and Wheels for Wellbeing. There has been considerable interest in Positive Spin from other London Boroughs and Cycle Training UK is looking to create a sustainable national network.