World First UltraBike Challenge for Blind & VI Riders

Riders at the Life Cycle UK Ultrabike event

Life Cycle UK's UltraBike event last weekend enabled 25 riders who are blind or visually impaired to experience riding a solo bike, some for the first time in their lives.

The event, held at Lloyds ampitheatre featured 5 specially designed UltraBikes which work through ultrasonic sensors which detect obstacles in the cyclist’s path.

Participants included riders from Life Cycle's Two's Company group, some as young as 12 and Paralympian footballer Michael Smith. With a little practice Michael was able to ride safely and independently around a simply constructed cycle track, a feat he hasn’t been able to attempt since losing his sight three years ago.

Michael explained:

“I was surprised at how quickly I felt confident. Once you put your trust in the technology it becomes very intuitive and you effectively become part of the bike. It completely fills the void. It was brilliant.”

Here's what some of our Two's Company riders said:

“It is the stuff dreams are made of. There is a lack of opportunity for blind and visually impaired people to exercise outside and this is so empowering. It is amazing that the UltraBike technology allows you to correct your course. I am loving the experience"

"It was so empowering to be able to ride on a bike without someone else piloting it. By the end I was enjoying myself so much I didn't want to get off the bike. It also gave me a tremendous sense of achievement to have done it."

The event was covered by BBC Points West - check out the clip below to see the riders in action:

 

 

We are extremely grateful to Professor Brian Hoyle and all at Sound Foresight Technology, the developers of the UltraBike, for helping to bring this event to Bristol.

For more information about Life Cycle and Two’s Company’s supported tandem rides contact tandemrides@lifecycleuk.org.uk or call 0117 353 4580.

For information about the UltraCane and the UltraBike ring Sound Foresight Technology on 01423 359711 www.ultracane.com

 

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