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Newbury Velo’s tandem vision

Rachael Elliott spearheads club's campaign to make cycling accessible to all

Newbury Velo’s tandem vision

Newbury Velo Cycling Club has purchased a number of tandems to form part of its vision of Cycling for All.

Experienced tandem pilots will allow the club to offer the ability to ride to people from all ages and backgrounds who are unable to ride a bicycle alone.

The club will provide coaching sessions in a safe, traffic-free environment and rides on the open road with experienced pilots.

Newbury Velo’s Rachael Elliott suffered a life-changing hemorrhagic stroke in 2018, but before this she was a very accomplished runner and cyclist.

As well as learning to walk again and deal with the loss of a large amount of her vision, she learned to cycle again using a tandem and in 2019 broke five national competition records in time trialling with her tandem partner.

Club chairman Glen Knight said: “Newbury Velo is committed to making cycling available to everyone and part of that vision is to provide facilities to allow those that cannot cycle alone the thrill of cycling – to give those people the opportunity to experience the physical and mental benefits of being on the open road.

“Rachael Elliott, who is helping to spearhead the project, is registered blind herself and regularly rides and races on tandems all around the country and is only too aware of the enjoyment that tandem riding can bring.

“The tandems will not only help those in the community who are blind or visually impaired, but also those who have other physical disabilities such as Down’s syndrome or cerebral palsy, as well as for those with mental disorders.

“As a club, we have a number of members who are raring to go as pilots, and we can’t wait to get this project under way.

“We’ve raised £6,437 to purchase a number of tandems, associated training, tools etc.

“We’ve managed this with the help of the local community.

“The tandems we are purchasing are a new design, designed to fit the vast majority of people and they won’t be available until March.

“But that gives us time to get everything in place. We are going to need volunteers, pilots, experienced stokers, you don’t need experience – we have tandems we can use whilst we wait to train our volunteers.”

The club is offering businesses the opportunity to get involved in this programme by naming a tandem.

Cycling for all is a key value of Newbury Velo, which wants to provide opportunities for all who want to get involved in cycling.

These activities will be open to all those in the local community, and it intends to partner with local charitable organisations such as Berkshire Vision.

Sponsorship of a tandem would be a minimum £400 per annum, which would cover the cost of repairs, servicing and maintenance of the tandems and allow the club to add to its fleet.

Newbury Velo is a non-profit organisation and this income will be ring-fenced. For more details, contact Glen.Knight@newburyvelo.cc

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