Our Cycle Buddies are competent cyclists who volunteer to help others build confidence on two wheels. They have an excellent knowledge of local, cycle-friendly routes in Bristol - and provide pressure-free support and company to people who don’t feel comfortable cycling alone. Best of all, the scheme is offered free at the point of use.
We caught up with two people who have previously participated in our scheme:
Paul’s stepson reintroduced him to the joys of cycling – and after this, he wanted to start riding regularly. He did some research into local cycling groups. Frustratingly, many of them required participants to have a certain level of fitness and Paul just wasn’t at that point yet. Then he discovered Life Cycle. The fact that our rides are designed for people who are new or returning to cycling appealed to him - and Paul signed up right away. He says:
“Life Cycle can help you get your foot on the ladder to improve and move on. I can’t be thankful enough: Mentally I’m much better and health-wise I’ve had quite a transformation. Cycling with others gets you out of the house - it’s good to meet people doing something we’re all interested in - and physically it gives you another lease on life.”
“I stopped cycling about 25 years ago. I was starting to develop arthritis in both knees and getting quite a lot of pain going up hills. The bike I have now got is electric. When I bought the bike I was too scared to ride it home, I had to go back in when the traffic had died down. When I found out about the Buddy Scheme, I was overjoyed! I don't drive and although I had cycle maps, I didn't have the confidence to find routes on my own.
My cycling buddy is amazing. She is a fantastic teacher, brilliant at instilling confidence and knowledge and such good fun. The brilliant thing about cycling is you don't have to talk incessantly but can drift in and out of the conversation as you ride. It's been great seeing the city from another side. Learning the routes is important: I can feel my neural pathways expanding!
Getting cycling again has definitely open doors for me on many levels. I feel fitter and have an increased sense of wellbeing, both physically and mentally. I know I can get to places. I can easily get to my two kids houses when needed and don't have to rely on lifts or taxis. I go on bike rides alone and in groups and just enjoy seeing Bristol. It's very empowering all round. It's inspired me to get on with other things in my life that I have had to put on hold over the past 15 years. It's given me a new lease on life!”
If you’re interested in joining the scheme as a participant or a volunteer, you can find out more via our website:
Thanks to Bristol Ageing Better who supported our cycle buddies scheme in 2018 – 2019 – and to Wesport and the Solon Coronavirus Community Fund who are supporting the project this year.