Wakefield disability charity on the hunt for volunteers to pedal tandem bicycles

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A charity that helps people with disabilities access the countryside on a tandem bicycle is on the hunt for new volunteers.

Since September 2017, Open Country, a charity which enables people with disabilities to access and enjoy the countryside, has been working around Wakefield, running activities and providing access advice and information.

The charity runs two Tandem Clubs in Wakefield which allow people with disabilities to enjoy the thrill of cycling together in the countryside, something which they would otherwise be unable to do.

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Other adapted bikes, including the electric-assist wheelchair duet, are available, to ensure people with physical disabilities can also join in the fun.

Some of the Wakefield Tandem Club riders enjoying a longer ride to St Aidan’s Nature Park.Some of the Wakefield Tandem Club riders enjoying a longer ride to St Aidan’s Nature Park.
Some of the Wakefield Tandem Club riders enjoying a longer ride to St Aidan’s Nature Park.

The groups go out every Wednesday and Thursday evening, from 6pm to 9pm, from various sites around the local district.

The success of the group relies on volunteer front riders who act as ‘pilots’ on the tandems. The new season has started and new volunteers are needed.

Eric, one of the visually impaired tandem back riders, said: ‘‘I have lost a stone in the last three months, and that is mainly thanks to coming out with you and the Tandem Club.”

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The clubs are also a chance to socialise and make friends, and we usually include a refreshment stop at a local pub!

Ella and Jason are all smiles on the last tandem ride of 2022.Ella and Jason are all smiles on the last tandem ride of 2022.
Ella and Jason are all smiles on the last tandem ride of 2022.

Ella Dixon, Wakefield’s project officer for Open Country, said: ‘’Last year was the first time we offered evening rides on both Wednesday and Thursday evenings, and this year we want to try to further increase the number of people we support.

"We can only do that with more volunteers from the cycling community.’’

No tandem cycling experience is needed and a full induction and informal taster session is provided.

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Open Country also runs Tandem Clubs in York, Selby, Wetherby, Harrogate and Ripon with over 150 different riders out in 2022 across the groups, collectively cycling the circumference of the Earth. Routes are between 8 and 24 miles long, with a pub stop en-route to refresh and refuel.

If you would like to get involved with the Wakefield Tandem Clubs, please call Ella on 07426 716677 for a chat, or email [email protected].