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Free cycle loan scheme for disabled people launches in London

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UK charity Wheels for Wellbeing has partnered with Sustrans to offer free cycle loans for disabled people across London. 

The Wheels4MeLondon initiative is a collaboration between the two charities and social enterprise Peddle My Wheels, and is funded by the Motability Foundation.

Designed to offer an alternative to purchasing non-standard cycles upfront, the initiative gives disabled people a bike on a free month-long loan before they choose whether to invest in one.

“We know that disabled people find owning their own cycle really challenging,” Wheels for Wellbeing Director Isabelle Clement told Zag Daily.

“Non-standard cycles tend to be much pricier than standard bicycles; it is therefore very risky to invest in an expensive cycle if you’ve not had the opportunity to properly try it out to find out if it will meet all your needs, your housing situation, and more.

“We are really excited to be part of the Wheels4MeLondon partnership, which will enable disabled Londoners to borrow a cycle for up to a month, for free. This way, people can try out cycling in their own neighbourhoods, and work out the best ways to securely park it at home, at work and at the shops.”

The initiative comes after Sustrans released its latest Walking and Cycling Index which found that 27% of disabled people do not cycle but would like to. 25% of all people surveyed also said that access to a non-standard cycle, such as a tricycle or a handcycle, would help them cycle more.

Under the Wheels4MeLondon scheme – which will take place over 2.5 years – upright trikes and semi-recumbent trikes are available across London, with the latter including a seat with back support to reduce pressure on hands and arms.

The scheme offers free delivery and collection, insurance, and a training session tailored to people’s individual needs. 

“We will be providing individualised information to people who contact us, maybe about places to try out cycling before borrowing one, possible adaptations, and access to funding help, whether people ring from London or anywhere in the UK,” added Clement.

London Walking and Cycling Commissioner Will Norman has welcomed the initiative. “Offering practical cycling options for disabled people, through non-standard cycle loans and supported training, is key to ensuring that cycling is accessible to everyone.

“I hope that through this exciting initiative more people will feel confident to try cycling and acquire the skills to help make active travel a part of their everyday lives in our city.” 

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