For about 18 months my husband and I have enjoyed cycling in Woodgate Valley with the team from Mencap.
During lockdown new paths were installed in Woodgate and this has been a remarkable transformation.
We always enjoyed riding up and down the path and it was good exercise in the fresh air but, in truth, it was rather monotonous.
Now I feel a freedom, that I have never felt before, as I free wheel down the hill.
That in itself is exhilarating and I feel like a bird soaring at speed.
Having mobility issues this is such a unique, wonderful and memorable sensation.
The route I follow is just beautiful. During the seasons there has been an ever changing vista.
There have been beautiful flowers and plants; blossoms, daises, buttercups, celandines, clovers, cow parsley, bluebells, angelica, dog roses, vetch, red campion, wild garlic and others, names of which are unbeknown to me.
The song of the birds is uplifting and during my last few visits I have paused by the meadow to observe the dozens of butterflies and moths.
It reminds me of the poem by W.H.Davies, “What is this life if, full of care We have no time to stand and stare…”
Every week is different, each a golden opportunity to see nature at close quarters, to observe the changing seasons, to recharge batteries and uplift spirits.
The benefits of this fantastic scheme are self evident, a wonderful way of strengthening or at least maintaining muscle power. We would be so grateful if it was just that, but it is so much more.
The impact on mental health is so positive. I look forward to that hill every week, with the breeze blowing through my hair and the thrill of speed. (Steve does remind me to test the brakes EVERY time!)
It is such a thrilling exhilarating experience which impacts on our whole well being, not just the physical aspect.
None of this is possible without the FANTASTIC staff to come in all weathers to enable this magic to happen.
Without exception they are so supportive and encouraging. “You can do this” If we get stuck they give us an unobtrusive push. They make it so easy for us to succeed and they boost our confidence in our own ability.
We cannot begin to tell you what a wonderful experience this is, something to look forward to, come rain or shine.
We would like to say a HUGE thank you to EVERYONE connected to ‘Park Ride’ including the office staff and those who arrange, secure and supply funding.
We want you to know what a positive impact it has had on our lives and we are so very
grateful to you all, each and everyone.