The success of the pilot led to the development of the current programme in partnership with Sustrans supported by the Peter Harrison Foundation.
Brain Injury Matters’ Pedal Power Cycling Club is a three-year initiative that will support 90 participants to be trained and supported to engage in pedal power and encouraged to develop a participant-led cycling club which in turn will be integrated into the local cycling clubs.
The benefits to participants will be improved recovery and physical mobility, reduced isolation and exclusion while improving integration. Every Friday morning the Cycling club meets at CS Lewis Square to enjoy their cycling and very importantly their breakfast at the Freight café.
Pedal Power is fantastic! Being out in the fresh air and meeting other service users is great for your mental health
Pedal Power is a great opportunity to meet and socialize with others with brain injury and get some outdoor exercise. I have noticed improvements in my core strength since starting Pedal Power
Before I started Pedal Power I had no movement in my knee due to my stroke. But since I have begun Pedal Power I have been able to move my knee: this means the world to me. pedal Power has really helped me and I hope the project continues for years
The Science bit
The project helps to develop participants’ motor skills including coordination, endurance, and strength.
Participants benefit from the sensory benefits of cycling outdoors (visual stimulation). Research has highlighted the benefits of exercise after brain injury. Gordon (1998) reported that:
…brain injury survivors who engaged in exercise 3 times a week for 30-minute intervals reported less depression, improved perception of physical abilities, and increased community integration as compared to brain injury survivors that did not exercise regularly.
Furthermore, and probably one of the greatest benefits of this project is that being able to go out and ride a bicycle with family members and peers, a new group is opened up for the individual and a sense of belonging emerges. They are able to participate in a “typical” activity with others.
The last word
Sustrans is delighted with the partnership with Brain Injury Matters. Over the last year we have been working to ensure people with brain injuries can get out and enjoy cycling and to feel the physical and mental benefits from fresh air along the attractive greenways and Victoria Park.