Sometimes we are unaware of the impact that we have on others we interact with. I know that through my teaching of cycling skills with Ride-a-Bike Right I really do make a difference in confidence and safety in the general cycling population, whether by teaching the fundamental cycling skills so an 8 year old can be equal with his/her peers and ride a bike, or opening up a new fitness possibilities for adults who’ve not been active in a while – all these changes in my clients lives are lovely to be part of.
Last week I heard of a change in a client’s life that make me weep at how profound this has been….
I have been working with the Playford City Council (Northern Adelaide) since Aug 2011 delivering skills courses to the community under the Federal Government’s Healthy Communities Initiative. In November I started working with Friday Friends, a social group for people with intellectual disabilities; using tricycles for a healthy activity once a week for a month. The reactions from the group members was fantastic, always excited to see me roll up with 2 adult trikes and a bike, ready to show them the skills of pedalling, turning and let them experience the enjoy of cycling. One particular woman hadn’t shown much interest in the program, but participated as required.
In January I started with the Monday and Wednesday Friends groups, where a repeat client was this particular woman; while going through the safety requirements for the sessions, I was aware that she had taken in lots from the 1st course, and when she climbed aboard the trike it was very clear that she had a purpose and was enjoying the ride.
The following week I had an email from the coordinator, on behalf of this woman’s parents, asking for details of where to get a trike for her regular use as they had never seen her so engaged and enthused about an activity before. They are planning buy the trike as a 30th birthday present for her, and plan to take her on playground and river path rides.
At the Wednesday program this year this lady has been riding for 30 out of the 40 mins sessions each week. For a person who probably hasn’t done much physical activity in her life (due to lack of access or perceived ability) being about to ride a trike safely and independently is a great step forward to her physical, social and emotional worlds.