Meet Neil. 👋 He rides an accessible cycle in London. Hear how he started cycling again, 15 years after a brain tumour meant he had to give it up.
As a child, cycling was my thing. I got my first cycle aged 4 which was a Chopper. It was my pride and joy and as I grew up, I’d spend my days cycling with my friends. It gave me independence and freedom.
But when I turned 12, I found out I had a brain tumour. After treatment and a long rehabilitation, I couldn’t balance or move the way I used to. I lost my confidence and cycling felt impossible, so I had to give it up.
Why I started cycling again 💪
Fast forward 15 years and I decided to start cycling. What made me do it? When I moved to London I made new friends who were all keen cyclists. We found so many new places to see and things to try in the city.
I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and do what my friends were doing, without feeling left out. I missed having my own independence and didn’t want to rely on everyone all the time. When you have a disability, being able to do some of the smallest things become even more precious.
For me, I knew that three wheels were going to be better than two as I wouldn’t have to worry about my balance. So, step one was to find a tricycle. ✔️. Step two was to ride it…
As I got on my shiny new tricycle, I felt a little scared but really excited at the thought of being able to have my own adventures. I had to relearn everything about cycling and after a few bumps and bruises, I got it.
So, now in my 50th year, I’m enjoying cycling and that same sense of independence and freedom I got from it when I was a child.
I cycle to work and back every day, I’ve done the London to Brighton cycle 3 times and even cycled all round Scotland with friends. Nothing gets in my way!
Why I love cycling 😍
It makes me feel better about myself. Not just with improving my strength and stamina but it’s made me more confident and positive.
I regularly get stopped on my tricycle by people who want to know where I got it, where I cycle and how it’s made a difference. It’s really nice to think that my experience might inspire and help others. I also work with Wheels for Wellbeing to give talks and share my experiences.
My favourite cycle routes 👍
There are lots of great routes across London for an accessible cycle, but I like the quieter cycle route to Balham, or from Streatham to Wimbledon when I meet friends. I’ve also done the scenic cycle route from Southwark to Westminster and along Parliament Square for the TfL summer of Cycleways event.